Embrace humility

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It is okay to humbled.  It is okay to be frustrated, just don’t get stuck in mindset that challenges prevent growth an opportunity.  Remember it takes pressing grapes (think Lucy at the vineyard, stomping around) to make wine. 

I bring this up because we all get stuck in our careers and how we value success.  In sales it can be extremely easy to beat yourself up if you don’t hit your quota and most of us feel like we’ve failed if we don’t overachieve.  I know I do. 

With 2021 being a year of The Great Resignation, many employees felt empowered to chart new courses…taking on a new job for higher pay and/or higher quality of work life balance.  Starting a new career/job is exciting and feels like you have struck gold, but what happens after we transition to a new job and realize sure it is a rose garden – with a ton of thorns.

Transitioning to a new job is a euphoria of highs and lows because you build up the excitement of new opportunity, but also must face the fact you are starting at ground zero from a pipeline and knowledge perspective.

Don’t get me wrong as a veteran salesperson you are able to move into various sales roles with the foundation of GRIT, knowledge and sales tactics – however you still have the daunting task of learning a new product, building pipeline from scratch and all the other transitional hurdles that come with a new job (disorganization, lack of training, different CRM)

This is hard especially if you are used to being a top performer at your last company.  I started a new role in October – and I don’t regret leaving my former employer – but I went from being a technical expert at product and overachiever to a ‘newbie’ – struggling with hurdles in training and trying to get back in the prospecting rhythm.

I beat myself up.  I am a perfectionist who usually can ‘will’ my way through a difficult task (quota, training) – and to a point I have, but not as a top performer from day one.  In truth that is the story for all veteran top performing sales leaders when they transition to a new role.  There is a learning curve, and it is okay to not be at the top when you’re on a new journey.  You must climb a ‘firehose’ of new information and be willing to recognize you cannot instantly be at the top.  Sales is always is a journey.  Anyone who hikes understands how tedious climb a mountain can be – hiking in Yellowstone’s backcountry I often questioned my sanity.  ‘This is painful – my joints hurt, I’m thirsty and it is too hard to keep going.’ Yet I did keep going and the view was amazing.

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I want to encourage sales professionals, whether starting in a new job or simply starting at square one with a 2022 quota (after crushing 2021) …it is okay to be humbled.  It is okay to lean in and ask for help.

Biggest lesson is to go easy on yourself.  Instead of getting frustrated that you aren’t the expert on day 30 or day 90 at your new job, make an action plan.  Figure out what is working.  Set realistic goals and have authentic conversations with your teammates.

Don’t let your quota define you.  Yes – the quota is the boulder we carry, and it has led to many sleepless nights – but worrying about your quota paralyzes you.  Instead get excited about your job and the amazing impact you can provide your clients and yourself. 

As a person of faith, I often see how God helps me learn and grow the most when I’m challenged and when I must rely on HIS grace and trust the process…This doesn’t mean I trust with inaction – but rather I don’t let the scorecard distract me.  I don’t beat myself up for not being number one all the time.  In those humble spaces I am able to learn and lean into my peers so I can master the skills I need to succeed in my career.

No matter where you are in your journey – remember failure isn’t final if you take stock of what you have learned. 

Top 6 tips:

  • 1.  It is okay to be humbled – humility allows us to invite others in to help us and for us to learn and grow. 
  • 2. Take stock of what you are learning when you ‘miss the mark.’ – If you made a mistake figure out what went wrong and apply that knowledge moving forward
  • 3. You don’t have to know everything.  Stepping into a new role or tackling new stressors in your current job is part of your career.  You can master the skill but takes time.  Think of a workout – you don’t have abs of steel after one elliptical session – it takes weeks of hard work -but the result is rewarding
  • 4. Focus on what you can control and give your all.  It is easy to feel the pressure and dread of quota.  I have had many panic attacks over the unrealized fear of missing quota, and it only distracted me.  Give your all – leave everything on the table and even if you fall short – you know you did your best.
  • 5. Start a sales journal – to write down triumphs and frustrations and use this to create action steps each week to improve your processes and grow in your career.
  • 6. Don’t give up – Sales is a game of persistence and ‘eating the frog’ every day

I look forward to hearing from you and your tips as we continue our sales journey together.

Stay tuned: Next post I will follow-up on ‘Eat the Frog’ with actionable steps and goals so you can make 2022 a productive year.

We’re in this together!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

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