Sales Strategy: Conor McGregor & The Growth Mindset

The growth mindset basically states that anyone, regardless of their nature or nurture, can achieve their goals through hard work, dedication to their craft, and an unbreakable will.

Okay, fine. But why the heck is there a photo of Conor McGregor half-naked as the blog header? Fair question. Whether or not you know anything about mixed martial arts or fighting in general, chances are that you’ve heard of Conor McGregor. Regardless of how you feel about him, we can (and should) all admit he is one of the most polarizing figures in sports and entertainment today.

As a sales leader, I look to individuals like Conor for inspiration–––but not for the reasons you’d think.

For the uninitiated, Conor McGregor is the highest-paid, most successful, and possibly the most dominant fighter in Mixed Martial Arts. There are so many factors that make up his success:  dedication to his craft, an insane work ethic, a measure of self-belief that is unmatched, an ability to sh*% talk better than anyone, and an unwavering growth mindset. None of that would mean anything if he couldn’t knock out his opponents with one punch. And he can. Needless to say, there is an ora about this man.

Conor McGregor is hailed as being the greatest salesman in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. His ability to promote fights by talking sh*% about his opponents creates a sense of drama that fans will pay good money for. It’s hard to argue his approach when you look at where it’s taken him.

What happens when all that sh*% talking backfires and you lose the fight?

McGregor recently lost the biggest fight in Mixed Martial Arts history, and he lost dramatically after spending months upon months speaking ill about his opponent. Some analysts believed he went too far. The entire community began questioning Conor’s tactics, motivations, and even his legacy.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Tony Robbins event where he interviewed McGregor about his life, his success, his recent losses, and how he plans to make his comeback. If you’re in need of inspiration, you can listen to the interview here. In this conversation, Tony Robbins asks Conor how he’s handling his recent loss, especially after all of Conor’s trash talking.

How Conor uses the growth mindset after his big loss is why I’m writing this piece. 

Conor took his loss on the chin and did not make excuses. He admitted he got caught up in the event, the spectacle, the drama. He admitted he experienced a major dip in motivation, and he let, as he explains it, the “external” bleed into his “internal”. This loss taught McGregor three very important lessons, lessons that ALL leaders should keep in mind:

  1. Never let external stressors or influences invade and influence your internal dialogue. YOU are stronger than THEM.
  2. Always be humble, in victory or defeat.
  3. Always, and I mean always, remember that you are a student of the game and should never stop seeking to learn and progress.

Here are three reasons to not talk sh*t:

  1. When you talk sh*t, you assign a negative value to something other than your mission. This is a waste of time and energy.
  2. We can’t outrun our humanity – sometimes you underperform against your expectations and other times your opponent outperforms.
  3. The phone is always off the hook. When you gossip or trash-talk, the person being gossiped about will always find out or sense that you’re a creep. You never know what someone is going through and any form of “violation”

Is it ever a good time to talk sh*t? Yes. Here’s how.

Talk sh*t about your OLD self to people who are helping you. Talk sh*t about the worst parts about yourself and identify how you plan to optimize them and move forward. What old loops and patterns were you stuck in? Were those old patterns really bad for your home or work life? Did someone else help you overcome that pattern? If you’re a non-alien species, then the answer to the prior question is 100% Yes.

Talking sh*t about what you’ve overcome to someone who has helped you and providing evidence about why you’re different now is the ONLY time when it’s acceptable to talk sh*t. Othewise, you look really stupid when the person you trash-talked knocks you out in the first 30 seconds of a round, or that really important deal you NEED to close hears you complain about their high-pitched voice, or the peer who is now your boss remembers you commenting on their close rate.

Everyone has something to teach you.  “No man is your enemy, no man is your friend, every man is your teacher.”― Florence Scovel, I have no idea who Florence is but the quote is essentially what I would say if you were sitting here.

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