Sales is a difficult job. It is hands down, the toughest job that I have ever held. Yet with this harshness, sales provide people with something that few other jobs do, the ability to make a living regardless of your past. It doesn’t matter if you went to college, doesn’t matter if you are the smartest person in the world, if you have a solid work ethic, and can persevere, you can earn a decent living. The only real requirement is motivation, and having thick skin.
For those who have never heard my story, I started my company in 1994. My wife and I were young, and we had just had our first child a few months before. We were broke, to say the least, and I needed to do something to provide for my family. You see, I wasn’t the guy who was exactly expected to become successful. I had some issues. But after a long journey, I am here decades later to tell you that you are not your mistakes, nor are you your setbacks. You cannot take your situation and sit and pout about it. You have to keep moving forward.
I get it. Life is tough. It will knock you down again and again. Life does not discriminate, either. It doesn’t care about who you are, it will hurt at times. To live is to suffer. Many of life’s struggles are things that we are born into. Our gender. Our social status. Our family. No one asks to have an unsupportive home life as a child. We didn’t ask to be born into poverty. These things have simply happened to us. But our issues are not our identity. Where you have been is not what matters, it is where you are going. It is not about what happened to us, it is about how we use these experiences and memories that matters. How we survive in spite of our issues are what make us who we are. You can choose to sit and complain and spend your life wondering what could have been, or you can use your past setbacks to push you forward.
There are things that I wish that I could change in my past. There are aspects of my upbringing that I wish were better. But it is pointless to get upset over the past. Too often do people view life in negative aspects.
“I’m here, but I still have these problems”
Great. Guess what? Everyone has problems. Life is hard sometimes. Rather than pointing out your problems, acknowledge the things that you have accomplished in spite of them.
“I have these problems, and YET I am still here!”
As a salesperson, you need to focus on where you want to go, not where you have been. You can be the guy who couldn’t make rent and has a record and no other alternatives, but when you hit the door and you get on the phone, you are not that guy anymore. Let the past stay dead, and allow it to fuel a better future for yourself. If I sat and focused on all of my setbacks, I would not be in the position that I am in today.
Growing up is realizing that, although we don’t ask for painful experiences to help us with finding our purpose, we live through these experiences, and find our purpose afterwards. You cannot have light without darkness, nor can you understand success without having felt like a failure.
Sales is for the misfits. It is for the underdogs, the people who are not supposed to have made it but somehow did. Sales is for the losers who seek to become winners.
If you feel like you are out of place with no other opportunity or game plan, then maybe sales is for you.