I’ve read multiple posts on LinkedIn recently from leaders sharing the Top 5 Traits they look for in sellers and top performers.

The common trait across every single one:


Every time I read these posts, I cringe a little.

Not because I disagree with them but because I have zero faith in these leaders knowing how to build adaptable sellers. Especially since burnout levels are at an all time high with almost 3 in 5 sellers struggling with their mental health.

So let’s dive into how you can actually make yourself and your team more adaptable.

Adaptability And How To Become Adaptable

Adaptability refers to the capacity of an individual to adjust, modify or change their behavior, strategies or characteristics in response to a new set of circumstances.

The keyword in this definition is capacity.

Do you have the capacity at that moment to effectively adapt to change?

And the key driver of that capacity is stress.

Anytime we talk about stress we’re also talking about adaptation, because adaptation is a by-product of stress.

When we go for a longer run than usual, lift heavier weights at the gym, work longer hours or strive to hit a larger quota, we are stressing our body, muscles and brain. Therefore, forcing them to adapt to the new performance demands we are asking from them.

The problem is this adaptation process is fairly sensitive.

Whether you’re an individual seller or leading a team, there are 3 core areas to be aware of during the adaption process.

1 – Visible Stressors

These are stressors that are evident and can be directly observed or measured. They are typically associated with the primary demands of the activity.


  • Making 50 dials a day.
  • Sending 100 emails.
  • Setting Quota.
  • Time in meetings.

Because these stressors are often fairly obvious, individuals and leaders can make changes to performance by adjusting the intensity, frequency and duration of these stressors up or down.

But this is also where the knowledge of adaptability and performance stops for most folks.

2 – Hidden Stressors

These are underlying or less obvious stressors that can influence performance, but may not be directly linked to the primary demands of the activity.


  • Fear, anxiety, shame, self-doubt.
  • Poor sleep or nutrition.
  • Fatigue.
  • Toxic relationships.
  • Lack of connection to others.
  • Limiting beliefs.

Every single day, these hidden stressors are contributing to your total stress load:

Visible Stressors + Hidden Stressors = Total Stress Load.

Which mean they are not only having a direct impact on your performance in the moment, but also affecting your ability to adapt to change.

3 – Recovery Capacity

Finally, we have recovery capacity which refers to our ability to return to a state of calm and recover from a physically and/or mentally demanding activity.

As human performance expert, Dr. Andy Galpin, states and the most important sentence in this article:

“Anytime total stress load outpaces recovery capacity… You’re either moving backward in your ability to perform… Or you’re reducing adaptability.”

​From this perspective, Dr.Galpin’s Gold Standard for performance is simple:

“How do you add the most stress possible (driver of adaptation) and then recover from that stress so we get the most adaptation possible.”

A Gold Standard that can only be achieved when we as individual sellers and leaders address the hidden stressors and performance anchors holding us back.

In doing so, unwanted stress increasing our stress load goes down and recovery capacity goes up. Allowing adaptations to start happening faster – boosting adaptability.

To work on building adaptability with a community of sellers who are putting their mental health and mental performance first – check out Project Mamba.

Discover Project Mamba

About The Author

mental health advocate Jeff Riseley

Jeff Riseley is currently the Founder of the Sales Health Alliance and Mental Health Advocate. With over a decade of sales experience – Jeff understands the importance of Mental Health in achieving peak sales performance.

Jeff combines his sales and Mental Health expertise to improve sales performance through mental health best practices. His strategies have helped sales teams become more motivated, resilient and better equipped to tackle stressful events within sales.


1 Comment

  1. Jeff,
    I’m sitting in your seminar at Unleash and I wanted to say thank you! I’m the Director of Sales at SalesRabbit and have 7 AE on my team. This is a big point of focus for me and my team and have visited your site many times… Thank you!!

    Loved your breathing exercises. Are the different types of exercises on your site or is that only part of Mamba?

    Love to explore having you do a seminar for us at some point. What is the best way to contact you?

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