Success only comes by finding who you are.

This post is going to use anecdotes from sales training, but I’m not talking just about sales success. I’m talking more generally about success in any field. Success is derived by finding who you are and leaning into it deeply.

I was in a sales training recently, and I’ve been a number of them in the past as well, and while some have a few nuggets, in general, they seem to be self-perpetuating. Each training tries to shoehorn people into a mold. Then they try to get salespeople who don’t fit that particular training’s mold to use their methodology, and often it makes many people in the class seem like far worse salespeople than they actually are. This is because success comes by finding who you are.

Sticking to the sales analogy before I change to a more broad perspective, different sales reps may have different styles:

  1. Someone may be conversational and good at asking questions and finding issues that a customer has.
  2. Another salesperson maybe good at finding an industry-wide problem and preparing a pitch for it.
  3. Another could be good at making friends in target accounts, building relationships and getting people comfortable with calling them when they need something.
  4. Another could be amazing at crafting deals financially that makes sense for everyone.
  5. Another could be highly technical in their knowledge of the product and wins by being a trusted advisor.
  6. Another could be good at crafting solutions that cross boundaries and use multiple tools which are often less competitive

A salesperson could be combination of those types.

However, each one of those on its own can be effective. While training someone to add more depth to their toolset never hurts, each person knowing which category they fall into and how to bring them together is an important step to success.

When it comes to more general success in life, the idea is the same. You need to know your style of working, and things that interest you as well as your skills to pick the work that makes sense, that you can be successful at. If you’re not a good communicator, you may need work that can be delivered alone. If you are a great manager, you need to find a way to get leadership positions.

The struggle is that sometimes we are skilled in things we don’t value. You may be a good manager, but don’t like having power over people. This is why self-discovery is so important.