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A good friend of mine, and former client, is an avid mountaineer who has scaled many of the most challenging peaks in the world. You wouldn’t necessarily know this by his appearance, but within him there is an inner drive to climb mountains and to push the limits of what his body and mind can accomplish. He is also a student of history and had studied many pioneering climbers from the past.

A while back, he had the idea and the opportunity to organize an expedition to Mount Everest with a double mission—first, to reach the summit, and second, to locate and map the remains of two climbers that were lost on the mountain. My friend did everything to make this expedition possible—including raising a lot of cash. It was necessary for him to take a leave of absence from his successful job to make this climb—and it would later turn out that he would not be able to return to that job at the conclusion of the expedition.

My friend reached the top of Mount Everest. And his party located the remains of the missing climbers, giving needed closure about their fate. He would later write a successful book about his experience. I learned a great deal about determination, success, following one’s passion and doing the right thing by way of his example. And therein lies the lesson.

Building a career in sales can be compared with climbing a mountain. The rookie salesperson has it tough. Becoming established in one’s industry and building a book of business is a long process, and sadly many salespeople don’t make the cut. The climb doesn’t necessarily get any easier over time and there are numerous hurdles and perils that a salesperson must constantly overcome—almost too many to mention. But the good news is that the summit is always in sight. For the salesperson reaching that high point means you’ve arrived at the position where you are a peer with your clients and a valued member of your industry—you’ve achieved success.

I will tell you the view from the top is magnificent. When you get there, you should take it all in and be proud. The journey back down isn’t exactly easy—there are always problems that will need solutions. But by the time you’ve reached the top, you’ll know what to do. By then, you’ll be working because you want to, not because you have to. That’s what top producers do. 

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