I’ve been in a selling or leadership role for 20 years. In 2007, I had one of the best years of my sales career. I was invited to Salesforce CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff’s house in Hawaii to celebrate our President’s Club and Chairman's Club awards with 20 other sales professionals. It was incredible and one of the highlights of my career.
In 2008 and 2009, with the market downturn, everyone’s sales job became exponentially tougher. Our president at the time warned us we would need to work twice as hard just to make our quota. I didn’t listen, and I wasn’t ready for the mental challenge it would take. Oddly enough to me at the time, many of my peers who joined me at the dinner in Hawaii would continue to persevere and achieve solid-to-remarkable years. What was I missing?
I decided to look elsewhere. I took a three-week vacation to Africa to clear my head and gain perspective. I raised money to help rebuild a local school in Tanzania and did some soul searching along the way. When I returned to work, I decided I needed to further invest in myself. I tapped into mentors inside and outside the company and got curious. How did they perform at the highest levels and recover from failure?
Here is what I learned: