This Sunday is my wedding anniversary. It will be 15 years since I married my wife in Pasadena, CA on May 20th, 2003. So, as I made plans for our weekend getaway, which I keep completely secret from my wife, she doesn’t even know where we are going LOL, I love to surprise her! Well, like I said, as I was making the plans, I came across some old notes in a journal that I had not read in a few years. In those notes, I was reminded of a good friend of mine who reached out to me almost in desperation looking for a solution to his current financial problems at the time.
I remember the conversation like it was almost yesterday. Like himself, a few years earlier, I had been in a comparable situation. He had fallen on some tough times and was struggling to make something happen, money was tight and with a wife and 3 kids, he was growing very nervous. He had been bouncing between jobs and between being downsized, right-sized, and laid off, he was really frustrated. He mentioned that he was fed up and tired of fighting, the economy was terrible and how could he be expected to ever get things turned around? His home was on the verge of foreclosure, and he was constantly paying utility bills just before they were turned off.
The conversation turned to what I do, and he asked me "How are things with that company where you work?" I said "Well, to be honest, things are great, we had a rough patch a couple of years ago, but during the downturn in the economy, I was seeing the best years of my career and our company was flourishing". I didn't try to rub it in, but when the frustration turned to self pity, I offered a suggestion to my long-time friend. You see, he has always been a hard worker, always on time, always willing to work long hours, even willing to do hard labor if need be, working as many as 3 jobs at a time to make ends meet for his family. However, he was always looking for the "safe", "secure" job, trading hours for dollars, and I said to him that was most of his problem.
I suggested that if he took ownership for his circumstances and pursued a job that provided rewards based on his own efforts and performance rather than allowing someone else to determine his value, he would be able to fix his problem. Then I did it, I said he should get into sales. He said, "No offense, but I don't want to be a Salesman", I said, "None taken, because I love what I do, and I am damn good at it! It’s extremely rewarding, challenging, and I make a better living than 95% more than the rest of the people in the US (according to a recent article I read in Yahoo Financial). Also, if it doesn't work where I am at today, I can take my skill set and apply it to just about any other sales field that I want to invest time into learning about". I said, "I make more money than many, if not most, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals out there, and now I get paid to show others how I do it." "Not to mention that I don't worry about losing my job, because I can always go out there and sell something to earn the living I have become accustomed to".
He immediately challenged some of my information, to which I showed him proof. After over 20 years in the industry I had made no less than $108,000 in 18 of the 20 years in the industry. At that point he realized he was losing this spirited debate, so he then suggested that he could not do what I do. To which I assured him that if I could teach many of the people I had worked with over the years, I could certainly work with the skills he possessed. He, like many others, assumed you had to be some typical sleazy sales guy, I asked "Is that how you see me?" he answered "No, but your the boss", and I responded, "I am only the boss because I showed enough other people how to do what I was doing, as well as I was doing it, so they said well let's have him show everyone then." I told him "Sales isn't difficult, but it is demanding work, however, if you have the passion to succeed, the courage to fail, and the willingness to do whatever it takes, you have all the ingredients. AND, you don't have to have a 4 or 7-year degree to make a good living, plus you always have a skill set you can take anywhere."
I realized I had struck a cord with him as he began to ponder the insights of our conversation. He was excited and confused, mad but elated, and mostly he was encouraged that there may be a light for him. But, he also realized it was not going to be an easy path. I left him with the encouragement, that when I started in the sales field, I knew very little about it, but I paid attention, listened to everyone, especially those who were getting impressive results, and swallowed my pride (which for me was difficult). This allowed me to see the truth that anyone could do what the best were doing, and possibly even do it better. From that humble start in Sales, which I never thought was going to be a long-term solution, I created a very rewarding and challenging career that paid dividends to me for almost 25 years.
Let me leave you with the sad but honest story of my friend I mentioned above. He is now divorced, he is still bouncing from one crappy job to another, he is basically homeless, sleeping on friend’s sofas and has sold anything of value he ever owned, just to hold onto his home which he lost anyway. He is in poor health and is a shadow of the man he once was, because he was too proud to step back to move forward, too scared to change, and too stubborn to realize he had to do something different. The worst part is, there was a time I looked up to him as a mentor, to see him where he is now, is very painful. And now he won’t even respond to my calls, text messages, or emails, I believe he is too embarrassed to talk to me. Unfortunately, it reminds me of a phrase that has always seemed to prove true, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make the horse drink.”
The success I experienced over my career, the skills I developed and honed during those years, along with other training, coaching, and education, I prepared myself for the success I am experiencing today. I have 3 companies, a consulting business, a marketing business, and a thriving trucking business. I may likely be able to build my trucking business to $100 Million in the next 10 years. My career prepared me in multiple ways for these opportunities and success, are you looking to up-level your career and take it to the next stage? Then maybe you are ready to try something new. Whether you are looking to make a career transition into something new, or just need some tips to help get that next promotion, we have solutions for you!
If you are experiencing the frustration of not making what you think you are worth? Do you really think you could be even more valuable to your organization if you could just get the opportunity? Do you really want that next promotion?
Go to http://www.ericwhitmoyer.com/coaching and sign up for one of our Career Development programs.
Have a great weekend everyone, my wife and I certainly will!