The problem with silver bullets
February 9, 2020

Why I push you so hard

For most of my life, I was a quitter.

Here is a list of things I quit:

Piano

Clarinet

Soccer

Baseball

Any game I didn’t win the first time I played

I got into an Ivy League school — and then refused to take classes that I couldn’t ace. In fact, in my senior year, I dropped a class because I didn’t want to risk losing my cum laude status.

Yep. Me. Leah. 

You see, all my life, I had been told that I was smart.

It had an unintended side effect: I was terrified to do anything that didn’t result in me succeeding immediately, because on some level, somewhere… I felt that if I failed — or even just struggled — it would mean that I wasn’t smart.

It would be many years until I realized how much that was holding me back.


Early in my entrepreneurial journey, when I was running my first marketing consulting business, I came across a book called Mindset, by Dr. Carol Dweck.

When I read that book, so much of my life began to make sense to me. For the first time, I understood why I had quit so many things in my life. 

I had been raised with what Dr. Dweck calls a Fixed Mindset. People with this mindset feel that talent is innate; you either can do something or you can’t.

It also results in a lot of really capable people quitting a lot of things, just because they feel difficult.

Dr. Dweck contrasts that with a Growth Mindset, where people believe that with hard work and practice, you can do anything.

I felt like I had found the keys to unlock why I was the way I was. And then I got an even better lesson right in front of me.


When I met my wife, I recognized her Growth Mindset. She believed anything is possible. She had grit.

Suddenly, there was this person who didn’t let me just quit when something was hard. She pushed me to try harder. To struggle. To fail. She showed me that the world didn’t end when I wasn’t successful on my first try. 

Living side by side with someone who believes that if you try hard enough, you can do anything has taught me that the struggle is actually more rewarding than the easy success. 

It’s hard to admit this, but I actually went through a period of mourning for my younger, fixed mindset self. How much did I miss out on? How much could I have experienced, or done, or achieved, or simply enjoyed if I hadn’t given up every time things got a little bit hard?

And now I’m a mother, and I know damn well I won’t let Noah quit trying the first time he fails at something. 

That’s why I push you so hard

I know that it’s uncomfortable for you to get out there and sell yourself, because you probably grew up believing that some people are good at sales — or sports, or school, or art, or math — and some aren’t. 

I can recognize that fixed mindset in other people from a mile away.

You decided a long time ago that you’re not good at sales, which lets you off the hook. 

If you know that sales is something you can’t learn, then you don’t ever have to try. 

There’s just one problem: Sales is absolutely something you can learn. 

Also, I’m not going to let you off the hook. 

Take a look at me. I’m an introvert. I’m super awkward. I’m never going to be the person who is shaking a thousand hands at a huge event. 

But I can sell. 

Which means that you can sell. 

And you’re not going to have to learn to do something you hate, or become okay with being salesy. 

You don’t have to be the guy on the used car lot or the person without integrity. 

You can be exactly who you are and learn to sell in a way that feels comfortable. 

You just have to be willing to learn — and you have to be willing to work for it. 

No one is born with the ability to sell. Even people who are naturally charismatic, extroverted, and outgoing don’t innately know how to navigate a sales process with multiple decision makers. 

You can learn to talk about work in a way that makes people fall in love with what you do.

You can charge prices that terrify you — and get clients to agree. 

But you have to learn how — and you have to learn from the someone who can actually teach it to you.

If you’ve invested in sales coaches who spend all their time teaching you how to get the client on the call — and no time on closing the sale — then it’s no wonder you’re frustrated. 

In Pack Your Pipeline, one of our guiding principles is, “Don’t let a sticking point become a stopping point.”

That’s because everyone has a sticking point. It’s natural. It’s part of life. 

It’s what you do next that makes a difference. You can quit. Or you can work through it. 

Would you let the people you love give up on themselves? 

Well, I won’t let you give up on yourself.

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