This past weekend I watched a few minutes of Couples Retreat (Universal, 2005). My favorite scene is the revealing of the spirit animals. One couple received a rabbit, another a honeybee, another received a wolf. However, Dave and Ronnie (portrayed by Vince Vaughn and Malin Ackerman) were shocked to learn that their spirit animal was…a donkey. That’s right, a donkey.

As Monsieur Marcel describes it, “When the ass is on the move, nothing will stop the ass.”

Marcel could be describing top achievers when describing the donkey. The donkey moves steadily along regardless of any obstacle on its path. Similarly, sellers work tirelessly on their intended path with a humble confidence knowing their actions will (eventually) lead to the desired results. The most committed salespeople are not the ones achieving success. It’s the seller who remains steadfast in their approach when NOT achieving success.

In sales, there is often a broad chasm between initial effort and results—especially when you are new to sales. You can put in the work, but you don’t see the immediate impact. These are the moments that count. If you’re willing to press on and do the work, eventually it pays off. It’s easy to be steadfast when your actions produce results. It’s more challenging when you see nothing. Being steadfast is especially important when selling through tough times. Use these three principles to steadfastly approach your goals:

Let your faith be stronger than your fear

What motivates you? Is it your deep faith in success or your fear of failing? Or maybe a little of both. Initially, the fear of failing motivates you to work harder and work smarter. However, working in (and living in) fear is no way to go through life. You need more than fear. You need faith.

A seller once told me that faith and fear have something in common. Both are a belief in a future that has yet to happen. Fear-based motivation is self-limiting—constraining your ability to reach your potential. Faith keeps you steadfast because it harbors a sense of achievement today for a future that has yet to happen. That sense of achievement keeps you going. Let your faith be stronger than your fear.

Let your dreams be bigger than your doubts

Everyone experiences doubt on their journey to success. Doubt is sometimes useful. It can motivate us because we know success is not guaranteed. Doubt can help you make the right decisions and prioritize viable opportunities. However, doubt is often used as a crutch to stay in our comfort zone. We talk ourselves out of taking action. That’s when doubt is bad.

“Dream big enough to make your bones itch.” That’s what my dad would tell us kids growing up. What a great expression. Big dreams are the equivalent of an itch you just can’t scratch. That uneasy feeling compels us to work harder attempting to scratch that deep, burning itch. Big dreams excite and energize. Big dreams expand the realm of possibility. It’s easier to remain steadfast when you have a big dream to motivate you. Are you dreaming big enough to make your bones itch?

Let your hope be greater than your hesitation

This past weekend we enjoyed some pool time with friends. My Goddaughter was struggling to jump off the diving board. She was scared as most toddlers are when they jump for the first time. She would get painfully close to the edge, but at the last moment, she hesitated. She stopped. Even the entire pool chanting her name couldn’t motivate her to jump. The slightest hesitation stifled her progress.

How often do you hesitate to jump?

Whether we’re pursuing a goal or jumping off the board, hesitation stifles your progress—making it harder to start again. The best antidote for hesitation is hope.

Hope is a powerful force. Hope is needed the most when it’s the hardest to find. Hope keeps you moving down the board even if the water’s cold and the jump is daunting. Maintain hope at all costs. And let your hope be greater than your hesitation.

What is your sales spirit animal? Are you steadfast like the donkey? Steadfast means to be firm and resolute in your pursuit. Tough timers are determined to be successful. They are resolute in their effort because they know that their actions lead to their success. They operate with a quiet confidence and comfort, knowing that today’s action creates tomorrow’s results.

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