How did I survive in Sales as an Introvert? I didn’t have a choice!
Perhaps that’s over exaggerated, I DID get fired from my 9-5 job for “insubordination”. Don’t worry, it was BS… I just embarrassed a member of the leadership who had an ego the size of Jupiter. BUT, I could’ve gone and got another job working 9-5 somewhere else and continued reveling in my introverted ways. I’m glad that I didn’t.
I was that kid who ran around in an imaginary fantasy world because I grew up on a farm with no other siblings. Granted, I have siblings… I just didn’t grow up with them. What that meant was I mostly had to entertain myself.
I definitely felt invisible for a lot of reasons. My dad was a Vietnam Veteran and a Farmer… double whammy on not having a filter or caring what outer people thought of him! As a child, he didn’t pay much attention to me, he was busy talking with neighbors, farming and watching the news. My mom didn’t pay a lot of attention to me either. Her ex-husband manipulated my sisters and took her to court for a custody battle, which he won… thanks to his manipulation of my sisters. I was collateral damage.
When Metallica released there worst album EVER, I liked two songs. Invisible Kid was the one I like the most, and related to in many way. Here is a short excerpt from the lyrics of the song:
Got a place of his own
Where he’ll never be known
Inward he’s grown
Invisible kidSnippet of lyrics from Metallica’s “Invisible Kid”
Never see what he did
Got stuck where he hid
Fallen through the grid
Establishing a Pattern of Avoidance
One of my greatest regrets in life is that I established a pattern of avoidance and “quitting” at a young age. My dad didn’t teach me how to persevere, I had to learn that myself. The painful way.
I didn’t posses mental fortitude as a kid, or a young adult. Consequently, when something was too hard for me, I just quit. Basketball, Diving… the only thing I didn’t quit was soccer.
Honestly, I had a lot of bad experiences as a kid. Consequently, I developed a lot of tendencies toward hesitation and avoidance. I acted out in a lot of different ways because I did not know how to cope with the intense feelings that I felt, especially as a teen. I’m probably lucky I didn’t get into things that were super destructive like drinking and drugs. I honestly don’t know how, I just had a strong aversion toward any sort of “crutch”… other than my own pity party of course.
As I had more and more bad experiences, I started to withdraw and become more introverted as a result. I hate social situations, to this day I am uncomfortable being in large crowds. When I don’t have a reason to leave the house, I usually won’t. I’m happy as a pig in poop spending time with myself or a handful of people I trust.
The Point of No Return
Too much happened in my life up until the point where I had a catalyst that set me on a course toward FINALLY confronting this tendency. Prior to that I had already spent years investing in myself trying to figure out how to get where I wanted to go. The day before Thanksgiving in 2016, I was fired from my job. As a result, I decided to pursue and opportunity in sales. I was absolutely terrified.
During my training I tried as much as I could to observe as much as I could and not have to do anything myself. After that, I went out on my own and stumbled without anyone watching. This allowed me to avoid criticism and I had grown accustom to figuring things out on my own.
I’ll tell you what really made a difference when I took on this endeavor, though… at least from a mindset perspective. I determined that I didn’t care if the leadership around me was good, bad, useful or not… I was GOING to succeed in sales. This was it, I was all in. It was sink or swim, baby!
Lean into Help
To be honest, the thing that made a major difference was having help I didn’t expect. I didn’t get a ton of training in the field, but I had someone a phone call away who would ask me the right questions to identify how I could to better. As a result, I started to open up and trust more as well as push myself further. Had I not had someone to help me dig through my challenges and push me, I would’ve failed.
One of the biggest external challenges in the sales world today is not having help. Unfortunately, the environment is often a “dog eat dog” free for all. The top salespeople don’t want to share their secrets because it creates competition for them and they have no vested interest. That’s a problem.
Everyone needs help and this is precisely why I created Master of Man. I want to share what I have learned so others can succeed in areas I have stumbled in before finding my footing and success. I want people to be able to learn quicker than I did and when they reach my age, be better than I was. Or, if they are older than me I’d like to help get them up to speed and beyond.
Above all, it doesn’t matter what personality type you have in sales. What matters is if you decide you’re going to make it and act on the help you receive.