A Labor of Love

The last few days, I have been reflecting on the upcoming Labor Day holiday. I did some research on the meaning and origin of the holiday and here is what I found: “Labor Day is a… holiday that takes place on the first Monday in September. The holiday began in 1882, originating from a desire by the Central Labor Union to create a day off for the ‘working man.’ It is still celebrated mainly as a day of rest and marks the symbolic end of summer for many.” Interesting, and clearly the holiday had noble beginnings and intentions. I am not a huge fan of Labor Day only because it reminds me that my favorite season is ending. I do respect the idea and the laborers of our country. I dread the end of summer, though!

I want to think of Labor Day 2007 in different terms, which leads me to a question for my sales community. A challenging query for you to ponder a bit this Labor Day and beyond. Simply, what I want to ask the sales community is: Do you love your labor? Do you like what you do as a sales professional? Now, before you spit out an answer, think – and I mean really think carefully – about your career as a sales professional. We have been having a conversation the past few months about various and sundry sales topics. I have asked you if you are passionate about selling? I have asked you if you embrace your profession as an art? I have postulated and proven that everyone is in sales. So, is sales a labor of love? Or is it just labor? Do you get up and give it all every day, or is your profession drudgery?

Many sales professionals stay in our profession for the same reasons. We like the money, the autonomy, or being in charge of our destiny. Sales brings freedom and respect. It is a portable skill, and we can take it anywhere and deploy it for some lucky organization fortunate enough to have us. Why are you a sales professional? This takes honesty of introspection and the ability to look inside your heart and soul to find an answer.

I want to say this as well: We all go through ups and downs in our profession. I can honestly say that when I first started as a sales professional, I did not like it. I was cold-calling in some of the worst parts of Philadelphia and was lacking in confidence and skills. I questioned myself and the career choice I made. That changed over time as I progressed my career to the point where I love what I do and I know I am very good at what I do. I love making the sale and seeing the “ink spilled on a contract!” I used to tell my sales teams that “the day you are not energized by closing a deal, get out of sales.” Spend some time asking yourself “if you love your labor.” I hope the answer is yes. I will continue this conversation in my weekly column after the holiday and offer ways to fall in love again with being a part of the sales community.

I hope you have a Safe and Happy Labor Day.

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