How to Use Your Past to Shape a More Purposeful Future

Business Man Looking to Future Success

Prolific management guru Peter Drucker once stated that “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” Easier said than done, perhaps. But one way to predictably create a more purposeful future is by applying the hard-earned lessons that have shaped your experience, your expertise and your wisdom. Taken together, these are the talents and capabilities you leverage every day. They are your gifts. And they are valuable not just for your continuing success today, but for tomorrow’s accomplishments and professional fulfillment as well. So, what’s the problem?

Using Your “Gifts”

It may seem perfectly logical to use the “gifts” you acquired throughout your sales management career as you set the stage for a future as a sales management consultant. But many people believe that embarking on a path toward a future of significance – regardless of the destination – means enormous change and sacrifice. They believe they must leave behind what they have previously learned and accomplished. That they must change focus, change direction, change themselves. In truth, it is possible – likely, in fact – that a simple pivot can put you on the path toward fulfillment and a post-corporate career of significance. As Bob Buford wrote in his book, Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance, that pivot doesn’t have to “be a 180-degree course change. You can apply your gifts in ways that allow you to spend more time on things [that matter]. And do it in such a way as to reclaim the thrill of that first deal!”

In other words, not only can you capitalize on your past, but your best future must be built on the solid cornerstones of your gifts. So, just what are those cornerstones from your past that will create a foundation for a future of significance, of purpose, of fulfillment? I believe they are the cornerstones of your experience, your knowledge and wisdom, your vision and your commitment. Here’s what I mean:

The Cornerstone of Your Experience

There is no substitute for experience. Try. Fail. Learn. Succeed. Repeat. Again and again over many years in many situations. Throughout your sales and sales management career, you’ve probably worked with multiple companies (either as your employers or your clients). You’ve worked with an incredible spectrum of individuals and teams – some inspirational, many others frustrating. You’ve traveled far and wide, day and night; and logged thousands of miles and more time away from home than you care to think about.

For what?

Well, for the learning, for the growth, for the experience that prepares you to take on future clients and future projects from a place of clarity and confidence. From a place of knowledge and wisdom…

The Cornerstone or Your Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge is power. Knowledge has value. Knowledge matters. But knowledge is NOT necessarily wisdom. Indeed, wisdom requires experience, but it also requires perspective that can only come from long-term observation, from experimentation, from testing, from application, and from analysis. Wisdom requires being able to discern what went right when success was the outcome, and what went wrong when the opposite was the result. Wisdom requires learning from your mistakes, but it also often requires challenging yourself and the status quo – because that’s where growth happens.

As a sales management professional with a track record of success, knowledge comes with time and trial and error. It comes from listening and watching, but more so from making the effort – to not just try, but to do (to paraphrase Yoda). And in the process, to learn. This is where knowledge becomes wisdom – one hard lesson at a time.

The Cornerstone of Your Vision

With experience, with knowledge and wisdom, and with the proper perspective, you can create for each new challenge a vision. You will be able to see clearly what those who are less experienced, less knowledgeable and less wise may struggle to see. You can envision easier paths to success – for yourself and your sales management consulting clients – by recognizing pitfalls and opportunities. Based on your past, you won’t have to fail repeatedly in pursuit of success; you will see the right path. This will save you and your clients considerable time, frustration, and money.

The Cornerstone of Your Commitment

Putting all the pieces together – your experience, your knowledge and wisdom, and your vision – will still not put you firmly on the path to a career of fulfillment as a sales management consultant unless you also have commitment. Buford warned against being satisfied with establishing goals. Rather, he insisted that moving from success to significance required turning your goals into commitments. Accountability. Follow-through. Accomplishment. These are the hallmarks of commitment. If you can demonstrate commitment to success – again, for yourself and your clients – there’s probably no stopping you!

The Bottom Line:

These cornerstones – experience, knowledge/wisdom, vision and commitment – were mixed and hardened over the long course of your sales career. Certainly, your past has prepared you for a bright future. A future of service to smaller businesses in need or your gifts. A future that takes you beyond success to significance. A future of purpose and fulfillment. This has been true for me and for the 100+ licensed Sales Xceleration Advisors acting as Outsourced VPs of Sales. If you are ready to turn your past into a very promising future as a sales management consultant, click here or contact us today at 1.844.874.7253.