Below is an email I sent to my younger brother Michael when he texted me about figuring out his next move with his life/career. I wanted to share this as a blog post because many of us at some point question what they’re doing, what they should do, where they should go, and if it would be a mistake. I’ve felt that way before, and I’m sure in some aspect of my life will feel that way again. But I’m currently in a state of zen, clarity and have direction for my life due to testing out different cities, industries, and taking perceived risks as opposed to staying in the same place when I knew I wanted more. This is my advice to him, he shared with me that he found it helpful and I hope others can take something away from it as well.
You sent me a text a few weeks ago stating “as I search for something else, I need to figure out if its just automotive sales that annoys me, or sales in general”. It was funny to me when I first read that, because I remember having the same feelings when I was pretty much at the same place in my life as you (a year or so out of school, less than thrilled with where I was work wise/ in life, and seeking out advice on those feelings).
It made me remember an email response I received from a sales manager I knew who had been in sales for 20 plus years where I had reached out to get his advice on my situation and feelings that it might not be sales, but its my environment. I had complained that I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted because the environment of the industry I was in at the time, wasn’t the right fit. The subject line was even labeled “Sales Frustration” …..Here’s what he said:
“Before you can sell a product or service you need to know yourself first. You need to know what works for you. If structure is needed to build confidence and you’re sure it’s not an excuse for not closing then you should aspire to find an organization that offers that. But don’t mistake “the perfect selling environment” for excuses. This is a tough business. So think through and write down what would be the perfect selling environment for you and then prioritize and determine what are the most important/non negotiable criteria for your success. Is the criteria reasonable? If so then find that company but don’t lose sight that every day and every selling opportunity is an opportunity to learn and improve your style, technique. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”
The reason I’m sharing this, (especially reading it 7 years later) is that the most important part of his response is when he says “don’t mistake the perfect selling environment” for excuses. It routes back to your question “is it car sales, or just sales in general I don’t like?”… which is something you need to figure out for yourself…but as I proposed as we were texting, what would be even more beneficial in figuring out and will help answer figuring out future career and life moves is nailing down your WHY….figuring out your purpose. WHY am I doing this? What is it I want to really get out of my life? What do I want to accomplish….is this next move pointing me in the right direction? When that is strong enough, no matter what happens along the way, you’ll push through because you can see the big picture. Read my first blog post again if you haven’t already…I break down my discovering of this.
Also, keep in mind, between leaving Syracuse and now, I’ve experienced sales positions in 5 different industries. I found a reason to complain at each company and along the way have had the feeling “is this sales or do I just hate working sales for these guys” it wasn’t until I was purposeful about getting to the route of what I was looking for and being completely honest about it that I found my WHY.
My WHY for awhile when moving from various cities and changing various roles was to experience different roles to discover what I like. There was actually a quote I heard from a comedian I like when he was being interviewed about how he realized comedy was it that went something along the lines of”when you quit enough of the things you hate, you’ll eventually stumble across what you like” … so you may find that your WHY for awhile is testing the market to gain experience so you have a better sense of what your true why is. You try a new industry for the sake of seeing what its like. You move to a new city just for the sake of seeing what its like. The career may not even be on the top of the radar as you’re going through this. It may just be “I’m searching”.
In our society, we are taught to believe that we need to have our life figured out by the time we get into college (we all felt that pressure even when we were applying for college). But its wrong. Especially with what today’s technology allows us to accomplish.
Now, I believe in not confusing “the perfect environment” for excuses with your role. There is no perfect work environment; what I want you to think about is what is your perfect life environment? What in your life would make you feel fulfilled? I finally figured out my driver is the inspiration that comes from building something: inspiring both myself and others. It’s why I always had a pull towards something new when working for someone else, why I always had the itch to move away, and why I started my real estate business and podcast. But whats important, is that I discovered that over years of trying different things: different jobs, industries, locations, people, etc… But now, the stresses from work that used to kill me don’t anymore. That doesn’t mean real estate is easy. You know its far from easy (as you read this, I haven’t made a full paycheck since December)….in fact, if I had taken a real estate gig back when I was your age, or even a few years ago, I would’ve quit…because I hadn’t had enough experience as someones employee to realize what I really wanted out of my life…and it was confirmed the second I pulled the trigger leave that “corporate world” and build my own.
You may discover that you WHY ends up keeping you close to home. Which is great…its not wrong to be a home body. There is no right answer to this because its yours. Does this make sense? I’ll type it again because its important.. THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER TO THIS BECAUSE ITS YOURS. So don’t stress about if you did it right, just go as deep as you can.
For example: someone initially may say “my why is because I want to make a lot of money”….which is fine…having a lot of money can be great; but WHY do you want to make a lot of money? Some may have a materialistic answer because thats what gives them that inner drive. And thats cool…others may answer the question more the way I think about money, which is a necessity we have and the more we make of it, the less stress we’ll have by default (it doesn’t mean money buys happiness or gets rid of all the worlds stresses) because we can take care of bills without thinking of it, go visit friends and family without thinking of it, give to charity without thinking of it, inspiring others by legally making a lot of it on our own, etc..
The most important take away from this, is that taking the time daily to think about what you want for yourself should become part of your routine. Write/type it down or record it on your phone and listen to it. When you have a powerful WHY and you’re moving towards something that excites you, you’ll feel it. You won’t know until you really feel it; in fact you may even mistake it for a temporary excitement you have for a new opportunity you’re trying until you peel back the onion on it. And realizing that an opportunity isn’t what you thought is an amazing thing, and as you rack them up, get even more excited because you’re discovering everything you hate in your life, and getting rid of it early.
Sorry for the long email, hopefully its helpful to you. I see bits of myself in you (only the good parts…you don’t have many). I actually really appreciate the question, because its given me the opportunity to sit down and reflect on everything I’ve learned ever since I’ve moved, and solidifies the direction I’m in. My WHY may evolve, and blend with other why’s as I continue to grow. But I’m confident the foundation of it won’t. You’ll uncover it, but you have to take action things in order to. First step…sit down and map it out