At every stage of your professional life, you’ve probably given thought to what your dream job would look like. Even if you couldn’t conjure up a job title or a company to work for, or even pinpoint the perfect geographic area to work in, chances are you’ve imagined what the perfect role would be for you and your family. It’s also likely that if you’ve climbed the corporate ladder to an executive sales role, you’ve already reached a “dream job” level of success for many, but something is still missing. Good for you! But now what? What lies beyond the top rungs of that ladder? Are your dream job attributes – even ones that have proved elusive so far – still relevant and reachable as you consider your next act?
In the Beginning…
When you started out your sales career, you probably had a shorter-term perspective. You were most likely concerned less with personal and professional fulfillment and more with satisfying basic needs. This aligns with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which says we seek first to secure primal needs such as food, water, and shelter. After that, we seek to fulfill our need to become secure, including home, family, financial and career security. It’s after achieving success at these levels that milestones of accomplishment can become less satisfying and discontentment creeps in. Most people would gladly trade places with you in order to lead a large sales team and revenue of $100M or more, but that responsibility has come at a great cost. You haven’t been present for your family to the degree you should have, due to all the travel. Shoot, you can’t even get away completely while on vacation, because of the expectations that you are always supposed to be accessible. You rose through the ranks and thought you were working your dream job only to find a void in your sense of fulfillment. It’s at this point you probably started to revisit what your dream job looks like – not what it looked like at the beginning of your career, but NOW.
Find Something You Love to Do…
Motivational speaker Harvey Mackay is among those who have said, “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” So, even before we consider individual dream-job attributes, it’s fair to start with that as the ultimate situation, isn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to monetize your dreams. That’s where work comes in; our work life offers a path to support our dream pursuits.
Then and Now
Let’s revisit that topic of travel. Early in your sales career, extensive travel might have been required. And back then, it was no problem; you even enjoyed going to new places on someone else’s’ dime (even if you mostly spent time in office buildings and hotel rooms while there). But now? Now it’s likely that spending so much time away from home has lost its luster. Today, you’d rather spend more time closer to home, working in your community and regaining that work/life balance you sacrificed for so many years. You would trade a fancy dinner with clients for a home-cooked meal with your family in a heartbeat.
When you were starting out, money and authority were prime motivators. Nothing wrong with that! You set your sights high and advanced through the ranks, increasing your income and scope of responsibility with each new position. But now, if you’re like so many of the sales leadership executives we connect with, a fancy title matters less than making a difference in the lives of others – particularly owners of small to mid-sized companies whose businesses are in distress and need the kind of sales leadership you can provide.
Of course, that money thing is still important, right? The good news is that because you’ve acquired so much experience and expertise – let’s call it what it is: professional wisdom – you can typically earn as much or more as you pursue your “second act.”
One significant difference between then and now is the issue of freedom. For the longest time, as you served the corporate world, you had little control over your professional life and livelihood. Your NEXT dream job, however, can and should offer the freedom to work with who you want, how you want, and when you want.
So…What IS Your Next Sales Leadership Dream Job?
For a rapidly growing set of seasoned sales executives, working as a fractional time sales leadership consultant serving small to mid-sized businesses is the answer. Our licensed Advisors at Sales Xceleration, for example, typically serve these businesses as Outsourced VPs of Sales, providing desperately needed sales leadership guidance and direction. Our Advisors enjoy working in their communities and with a renewed work/life balance. They leverage their experience and wisdom in new ways to help their clients achieve sustainable sales success – and are paid handsomely for it! Best of all, they have a much greater level of professional freedom and find greater satisfaction that can only truly come from working with passion and purpose.