Mindset Definition: A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.

What is a mindset and what is a marketing mindset? Def.: "Mindset - a fixed attitude, disposition or way of being that predominates a person's responses to and interpretations of situations, the established set of attitudes held by someone." So a marketing mindset would be a fixed attitude, disposition or way of being one held about marketing.

What is included in a mindset? Not what is your mindset, but what kind of things would help you distinguish or recognize a mindset?

Here are other ways to define mindsets:

1. Attitudes - The way one thinks and feels about something

2. Beliefs - What one holds to be true

3. Opinions - A view or judgment formed about something

4. Perspective - A personal point of view

5. Filters - Limitations in thinking and seeing

6. Paradigms - A pattern or model of something

7. Preconceptions - A preconceived idea or prejudice

This is what a mindset is conceptually. But none of those are the experience of a mindset. After all, we live our lives from our mindsets. They filter everything. Here's how you can understand what a mindset is experientially:

Take your right hand with your palm open and fingers spread out up in front of you, a little above your line of vision. Look at that and imagine that your hand is your mindset. It includes your beliefs, your past experiences, and your opinions about marketing yourself. When you look at your mindset this way you have some objectivity about it. You have a mindset and there it is!


Now take your hand and move it so that it covers your face. Your hand is now over your face and you are looking through your fingers. Your mindset it now part of you; you are looking through your mindset. It's not that you have beliefs, attitudes and opinions anymore. You become your beliefs, attitudes and opinions. For you, they are truth. And they are unquestioned.


Like the fish who can't see the water he is swimming in, our mindsets are the medium through which we perceive life.

We are no longer looking at our mindsets; we are looking through our mindsets. We don't have opinions. What we say is true. We don't have points of view. What we see is the way it is.

We have mindsets about everything in our lives. We have a mindset about politics. We have a mindset about sex. We have a mindset about money. We have a mindset about our hair, for god's sake, and our clothing and our relationships. We have a particular mindset, attitude, opinion, or point of view, about virtually everything. Except, take out the virtually.

But here we're just going to explore our marketing (and selling) mindsets. If you look closely and honestly you'll notice that the mindsets we have about marketing and selling aren't helping us very much. They are holding us back.

Let's look at some of the most common marketing mindsets. These are mindsets I've seen in hundreds of people. They are all very common. You may have one or more of these mindsets. And as you look at the list, make a mental note of the ones that are or have been true for you.

Marketing leads to rejection

It probably won't work anyway, so why bother?

If I ask for referrals it will sound like I'm begging

People won't be interested in what I offer

Marketing doesn't work for this kind of service

Marketing just puts people off

I don't have the time to market myself

Marketing is a complete waste of time and resources

Marketing is hard and it's expensive

Only people with sub-standard services need marketing

Marketing people are charlatans or snake oil salesmen

I can't start until I know exactly what to do

I'm not qualified (educated, experienced, etc.) enough yet

Marketing is a bother and an interruption to people

No one will read my writing - I'm a lousy writer

I can't network - it's too embarrassing

I'm not a good speaker - nobody will listen to me

You may notice that several of these are true for you. They are not just mindsets that you have. Actually, you don't have a mindset. A mindset has you. It runs you; it controls you.

This is the mechanism of a mindset: You attach to or identify with a mindset. If becomes an unquestioned truth. Then, if you look, you'll see that you have supporting thoughts, feelings and actions that are completely consistent with the mindset. There can't be any disagreement amongst these things. It is all congruent.

If one of your marketing mindsets is "I don't have time to market myself," then you will have thoughts to support that. You'll think, "marketing takes a lot of time, I'm always so busy, client work always comes first," etc. Then your feelings will include overwhelm, frustration and apathy. Your actions will tend to avoid marketing activities, they'll always find something else to do, or you'll never put a marketing project on your to do list. Even what you say to others will be consistent with this mindset. "Gee, it sure is hard to find time to market yourself, isn't it?" And most others will readily agree.

There happen to be a lot of mindsets around marketing and selling that hold us back. You may wonder, where did all these marketing mindsets come from in the first place? You don't need to get too analytical about it. Something happened or someone said something that initiated your mindsets about marketing.

Look at what marketing and selling consist of. They are about putting yourself out there, communicating about something new and asking people to try something. And it's just human nature that you will experience some degree of rejection if you do those things.

When you put yourself out there, you have the potential to make a fool of yourself. Perhaps you put yourself out there once and you were ridiculed. And that didn't feel good. So you made a decision to keep yourself safe, to not put yourself out there, to be quiet and not draw attention to yourself.

When you try to communicate about something new, there's the potential for confusion, a lack of understanding and a lack of acceptance. When people don't understand things, they can sometimes become hostile. They may argue with you, reject you and put you down. Nobody wants to experience that, so it becomes easier to be quiet and go along with the general consensus.

When you make requests or ask people to try something you can also be rejected. You can be seen as an annoyance, a bother. And that's how many people see marketers and salespeople. It feels a lot safer not to ask for things, to remain quiet, to hide and not stick your neck out.

It's no wonder that so many people have negative mindsets about marketing and selling. We conclude that doing these activities leads to rejection and ridicule. Culturally, society is telling us that there's something wrong with marketing and selling and we buy into that mindset. For instance, when I ask people to think about selling and what a stereotypical salesperson sells, the answer is always the same - "Used Cars!" Yes, the majority of the population associates any kind of selling with selling used cars. Not a great stereotype to deal with.

There are a few things to notice about marketing mindsets. First of all, they hinder our ability to market and sell effectively. Second, we operate from these mindsets without a lot of awareness of how they are affecting us. Third, we make up plausible excuses and justifications for not marketing that have nothing to do with the underlying reasons we avoid marketing.

We actually put effort into getting others to agree with us about our mindsets. If someone said, "Well, gee, you know I'm having trouble with my marketing," you'd say, "Oh yeah, there's just no time to market." And they'd say, "Oh yeah, I know what you mean." And then you're in a conspiracy through a shared marketing mindset to never market, or perhaps to market on top of a complaint about marketing. We live as if marketing is something we should complain about like bad weather.

"We just had five inches of rain and marketing's terrible today. Marketing sure is hard. Boy, can't get around to it. Don't know how to do it yet. God, I ought to be doing it. Can't find the time." That is you articulating your marketing mindset. But you don't see that it's a mindset. It's the truth, just like bad weather. And just like people can't do anything about the weather, they conclude they can't do anything about marketing except complain.

As human beings are wired to think, feel and act consistently with our mindsets. That is, we can't have a mindset and then act differently from that mindset. That's incongruent. If we act differently, the mindset has changed, if our mindset changes, we act differently. We can't hate marketing and do marketing with any enjoyment (or with any profitable results).

In his book, 'Knowing How to Know' by Sufi scholar, Idries Shaw, he talks about our 'defeatist culture'.

"A child learns from its parents and those adults who surround it. It learns not only the positive injunctions of problem-solving which its elders think they are teaching it. In addition, it is learning to emulate the parents, and it emulates their defeatism. This includes their rationalizations of why they do not attempt certain tasks, why they are 'too tired', or such-and-such an effort is not 'worthwhile'.

"The human culture, in spite of prizing in some of its manifestations positive action and belief in the human being, incarnates and passes on defeatism and negativity as a sort of contact-disease."

So not only are there defeatist mindsets about marketing and selling, our culture promotes defeatism connected with difficult undertakings of any kind. It's not just our personal mindset. It's a cultural mindset that tells us that if we might be rejected, we're better to avoid that activity altogether. And from my observations over the years, this is certainly the case. People avoid marketing and selling as if it were the plague. Let's look more closely at this avoidance.

Our mindsets usually lead to avoidance of some kind. A mindset of avoidance leads to avoidance in practice. What are some of the things you do instead of marketing? Here are a few common ones. Which of them do you do (or name your own kinds of avoidance)?

Surf the net
Check email incessantly
Clean up your office or house
Eat, drink and sleep
Get more information - learn, read, research
Procrastinate and struggle
Talk to others about it
Add yours here: _____________________________

When we are avoiding something, we know it. We feel vaguely uneasy and know we ought to be doing something more productive. This avoidance is a kind of resistance - resistance to taking action that is uncomfortable to us. All of this triggers other negative feelings. We feel bad and guilty that we are not doing what we know we should do. We feel it is a burden. We struggle with it, but still find ourselves engaging in unproductive activities. And in many cases we go unconscious about it; we ignore and deny that there is an issue in the first place: "Oh, I'll get around to marketing someday, but most of my business comes from referrals, anyway."

In the Club, we provide tools and resources to get beyond one's limited marketing mindset. 

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