Lab Manager

The Mindset of Top Performers

The "will" vs. the "why"

By Nathan Jamail

There is a common mindset of those who are always looking to win, no matter the obstacle. These winners are in all industries and all positions. Most of them move up in their organization quickly by having a simple thought, “Will,” while those who struggle focus on the, “Why.” Top performers, no matter what happens to them or around them say, “We will do…” Those who struggle say, “Why did they do…” The “we will” mindset turns today’s challenges into tomorrow’s success stories. The “Why did they” mindset turns today’s challenges into tomorrow’s failures with excuses that start with, “We lost because they did…”

The difference is simple—top performers focus on looking forward, despite what happened in the past.

John, a top performing insurance agent, is a perfect example of focusing on the “will.” The company he works for made some business decisions, which caused his agency to have to change the way they did business to be successful. So, John quickly brought his team and some industry leaders together, and said, “Given the change in our company direction, we are going to start focusing on these key services.” Not only did he share the focus change, he created a practice program and a game plan to ensure his team’s success. He did not focus any attention or energy on “why” the decision was made because he knew it was immaterial to his success. In fact, he assumed, since he believed in the company and the leadership for the past 20 years, that the decision they were making was the right one despite how it might look from his limited view. Within the first 90 days, John not only did not see any negative effects due to the change, his team started achieving their greatest successes ever. 

Mike, another agent, did not fare so well. Mike kept focusing on the many reasons why the company’s decisions were wrong. He could not understand why the company would make these changes. He spent the next 30 days telling anyone who would listen, including his team, why this decision was wrong. He and his team attempted to keep moving forward, despite their feelings towards the new direction. Mike would say, “It is what it is,” and, “All we can do is our best.” Worse than that, every time something went wrong or sales slowed down, Mike would blame it on the company’s decision; therefore, so did his team. In the next 90 days, Mike’s team struggled just like Mike “knew they would.” By focusing on the past—why something happened or why the company made the wrong change—Mike was unable to focus on the future and adapt to the new direction, causing his team much pain and bad results. Now Mike says, “We are down because of what the company did. If they would have done xyz, we would have had success.”

Both leaders are great people, and know their business very well. The difference between John’s success and Mike’s failure was merely their mindset. John’s path was not easier or based on where he lived, although Mike will disagree. John’s business was at risk, the same as Mike’s, but John decided to focus on what his team will do versus why a decision was made, or even what others were doing. By focusing on their actions and plans, John’s team was motivated and saw this change as a chance to win; and they did. The others were looking back, getting discouraged and frustrated with the past. This focus became the predictor of their future. Their mindset determined their lack of success—not the changes the company made. The hardest part is being able to see the power of perspective during a change or event. That is why one’s mindset is more important that the process.                                                                

A person must have the “we will” mindset as part of their culture and everyday life. With this mindset, they will not have to worry about dealing with change, regardless of whether it is the company they work for changing, the competition, or the economy, because the decisions and changes that happen in the past are not important to their success. The only thing that is important to their success is what they will do about it. Those who look at the future with a positive long-term outlook, despite the amount of short-term pain, will always win. Moving forward is not enough, they must move forward with a blinded belief, a committed and excited focus, to welcome the obstacles because on the other side is victory! 

“What they did or did not do yesterday does not matter, because today we will win!” 

About the Author

Nathan Jamail is the author of the best-selling Playbook Series, including his latest book “The Leadership Playbook.” Nathan Jamail is one of the top international motivational speakers, and an expert on leadership and employee coaching. As a former executive director, business owner, and sales professional, Nathan is an expert who teaches from experience. Nathan has helped thousands of great leaders become great coaches. You can find more information about Nathan Jamail at

Categories: Management Tips