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Hold Onto the Middle Mindset – It Keeps You Motivated to Never Settle

When you’re in first place, it is easy to become settled. Those in the middle know they have to push forward or will soon fall back. Take the mindset of the middle and never settle. The middle mindset keeps you motivated!

The Middle Mindset Explained

At the beginning of every year, we are often asked by our clients (and in particular the sales leaders within these organizations) to help them formulate plans and strategies for the upcoming year.  

Invariably, the discussions turn to their teams; individual results; current pipelines, you name it.  

We’ll look at the rankings and start asking questions in order to uncover areas where training could impact the leaders organization.  

During one of these sessions, I asked a leader the following question:  “Who do you value most on your team?”  I expected him to say “everyone”, but he didn’t.  

He replied with “While I truly am appreciative of each individual, I value the people in the middle the most.”   I asked “why?”  Here are the reasons he gave:

Second is not bad 

Asked what sort of team he would ideally like to create, this leader said that he’d take an entire team of people feeling slightly uncomfortable with how they have progressed toward their goals.  

“Please explain”, I asked.  He said that typically people who are second are more motivated than people who are number one.  

Number two’s have an “edge”, “a willingness”, a “desire”.   They are like sponges in always trying to improve.  The risk is when they potentially reach the top they may stagnate, or they may do the second thing he outlined to me.

Middle Motivation Effect

This particular leader told me a story of a friend of his who happened to be an elite runner.  The person was brilliant in the 100m.  Once they started winning these races, they shifted to the 400m.  

They started winning those races.  They  pivoted  to the mile and started winning those races.  Eventually, the runner was competing in marathons.  

Each time they conquered a race, they “reset their motivation” and got uncomfortable again.  They jumped back  to the middle, created a learning mindset, established different goals, and found greater inspiration.  

Hold Onto the Middle Mindset No Matter Where you Fall in Succession!

How interesting!  

We see this a lot with salespeople.  They work really hard to get to number one, then lose motivation.  This leader would spend a lot of time working with the associates in the middle of their organization and helping them reset.

People in the number one slot are savants.  

They are unique and motivate themselves.  They can’t be ignored but they typically just want you to remove roadblocks.  

The people in the middle however have behaviors that you can mold and influence.  And get this, there’s MORE of them, so if you move the middle you can create more impact!

At the conclusion of our session, I asked this leader how was he able to figure this out and his answer was that it didn’t matter what he wanted for his people, it mattered what they wanted for themselves.   

Most leaders make the false assumption that all their people are motivated to be number one, but the reality is that a team of people sitting in the middle will win most games.

Lessons in Leadership.


In Jeb Blount’s book Fanatical Prospecting, he shares his secrets about how to be at the top of your game. Top performers never stop learning. For more sales motivation and techniques for taking your prospecting campaign to the next level, check out our FREE guide, Seven Steps to Building Effective Prospecting Sequences. HERE

About the author

Keith Lubner

Keith Lubner

Keith Lubner is Chief Strategy Officer at Sales Gravy and acts as an advisor,…

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