I used to always say that I never wanted to “go into sales.” For so many reasons.
The idea of relying on commission as my income scared the bejeezus out of me, in fact it still does. What, me? Live off of what I make from selling something? Nope. I don’t have enough belief in my own abilities as a salesperson. Besides, salespeople are kind of sleazy. I always think of car salespeople. And financial product wholesalers. Watch out for those guys, I’m just saying.
I saw firsthand what it was like to work in sales, without really working on commission—for many years I was the assistant for a financial planner, who was one of the top three planners in the company. I had a base salary, and didn’t have to do too much selling. I took that job with the idea of helping people be smart about their money and plan for their future. But in the end, it was just a numbers game. If I really wanted to help people with money, I should have done something different, like volunteer to teach people how to make a budget or start getting out of debt. Oh well.
One day I went to work at that job, and opened my Excel spreadsheet to enter some numbers, and I just started crying. I couldn’t do it anymore. That afternoon, I made the decision to quit.
I had a brilliant plan to become a copywriter, and had a great gig lined up to start the week I actually left that job. But once that ended, copywriting dried up. Mostly because I didn’t actually enjoy it.
So, I didn’t have a great plan.
Then I fell into teaching yoga.
Teaching yoga has really pushed my personal growth off the charts. It’s made me a better writer, it’s helped me learn how to be present for other people, it’s forced me to be flexible (literally and figuratively), and helped me learn how to say no. And I’ve had people tell me that I’m a pretty good teacher so unless they’re lying, we’ll just say I’m capable at it.
Then I decided to write and publish a novel. Now I’ve got two books in my first series, with a third on the way. It’s been so great! What a feeling of accomplishment. It’s been hard, because I’m a great procrastinator. Sitting down to write something that’s 50,000+ words takes a little time. I’ve discovered I probably have some trouble staying focused on things. But I’m doing it.
But guess what?
If I don’t find any place to teach yoga, I don’t have a job. And if people don’t like me as a teacher and don’t come to those classes, I don’t get paid.
If I don’t write the book, I can’t put it out for sale. And if no one likes my books, they won’t buy the next one.
That’s right. I’m in sales. BIG TIME.
How did that happen?
We are all in sales of one kind or another.
People who’ve decided to make a living from creative pursuits even more so. We might not be trying to sell you a closed-end fund, but we would love it if you purchased a greeting card we designed, or downloaded a book that we wrote. Or came to one of our yoga workshops.
And now that I’ve (finally) realized that I’m in sales even more than ever, I am trying to figure out how to really make it work. Yeah, I am scared—but I’m also determined to continue.
If I am relying on self-expression to make my living, how do I also create value for others at the same time?
I want to figure this out. I want to be more present, I want to be of service. It has taken me a long time to get to this point; maybe I have been too self-centered and self-absorbed. But I want to change this. I want to better understand the why of my current choices.
I know I could do better with creating value with these blog posts, for example.
So bear with me, it’s early days yet as far as this weekly project goes.
I do know that we as humans want to feel understood, connected, and heard. I know that stories help us express those needs, and also fill some of our needs. I hope that the stories I tell resonate with you. If I can provide any clarity or understanding on our journey here as humans…well that would be pretty damn great. That’s really what it’s all about.
Thanks for being on this journey with me. I’ll get the hang of it, I promise.
You want fries with that?
Post #5 of 50 posts for my 50th year.