I was reading an article about Billie Jean King, the former No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world and a pioneer for equal pay in women’s tennis. Many of us remember the highly publicized “Battle of the Sexes” match between King and Bobby Riggs. About 90 million people tuned in to see this match -- now that’s pressure! King prevailed, winning in three sets.
Did King win because of her athletic prowess? Sure, that had something to do with it. But I also believe she won because of her mindset and attitude towards pressure.
“I have this saying: Pressure is privilege. Usually if you have tremendous pressure, it’s because an opportunity came along. When I was at Centre Court at Wimbledon, I remember saying to myself, ‘All right. You’ve been dreaming about this moment. Is it a lot of pressure? Yeah. But guess what. It’s a privilege to be standing here.’”
Sales people, sales managers, do you look at pressure as a privilege? Adopting this attitude can help all of us because under pressure, it’s easy to respond with worry, doubt or fear. Apply King’s mindset and flip the sales paradigm.
- It’s pressure to compete for a deal against a big competitor. Great! Your hard work is paying off and you’ve earned the right to play in the big leagues of sales.
- It’s pressure to call on a big decision maker with a big office. Great! Your hard work of becoming a true trusted advisor is giving you access to larger projects and initiatives.
- It’s pressure to be on the cutting edge of selling a new product or service. Great! You are lucky to be working for a smart company that isn’t settling for mediocrity and resting on its laurels.
Thanks for your wisdom, Billie Jean. Pressure is indeed a privilege.