Recently I interviewed the top salesperson at a Fortune 100 firm, for an article that ran in the organization’s employee newsletter. Candid about having had a “whimper” of a start in sales three decades prior, this individual’s message to fellow reps was simple: Define and articulate a vision for your practice as quickly as possible.

The agent attributed her slow start to spending too much time looking in the rearview mirror, reflecting on her beloved corporate career. Also, she admitted to allowing the performance-based compensation structure and other perceived obstacles associated with sales, to overshadow the unlimited earning potential, autonomy and other opportunities.

“Learn it for yourself”                                                                                             

Fortunately, after years of self-doubt, she eventually realized that her skills were highly transferable. She began believing that the character traits that contributed to her past successes would serve her well in her new endeavor. She finally mustered the vision, courage and passion needed to tackle the road ahead. And her journey to the firm’s top spot began.

As the producer shared her story, I thought about Glinda’s message to Dorothy in the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz: “You’ve always had the power, my dear. You just needed to learn it for yourself.”

Like Dorothy and the client engagement phenom who inspired this blog post, we all have the power. But oftentimes we surrender our power to self-doubt, criticism, and setbacks.

If you have dreamed of growing revenue, increasing assets under management, or otherwise expanding your business, resolve to make it happen in 2017. As you prepare to tackle another year of highs and lows, laser-focused on your goals, consider Glinda’s pearls of wisdom, and other lessons from the yellow brick road:

  • Mental Toughness. There is no room for self-pity and negative self-talk on the road to greatness. The quickest path to gaining control of your destiny is controlling your attitude. Hone and lead with your strengths. Invest in your personal development.
  • Courage. Be honest about what you need most to succeed (i.e. administrative support, product knowledge, prospecting/sales training, assistance closing.) Determine who is best suited to help with each task. Ask for assistance. Use their time wisely.
  • Brains. Work smarter, not harder. Your organization likely provides the time-tested training, support, systems and processes you need to thrive. Resist the urge to reinvent the wheel. Instead use that time to attend company and industry meetings. Harvesting the wisdom and best practices of peers who are further along in their career is often a prudent investment.
  • Goal Setting. Consider your career legacy. Have a clearly defined vision for yourself. Set short- and long-term goals. As you begin to reach milestones, regroup and redefine your vision.
  • Heart. Remember, passion and drive are key to your success and happiness.