”What do you want to be when you grow up?” is one of the most common questions kids are asked. But what about adults? Just because someone finished school, got a job, and succeeded doesn’t mean they are happy where they are. Maybe they still wonder what they want to do when they grow up. After all, growing up is a life-long process.
Of course, at some point, life kicks in; we have to pay the bills and earn a living.
Therefore, it is critical to set priorities, be realistic with your resources, and see what’s important to you and will make the lives of you and your loved ones better. So, don’t assume. Instead, seek to understand yourself and others.
In this episode of Taking the Lead, we have a fantastic guest — a woman who proves that determining what you don’t want to do is sometimes more important than knowing what you want to do. She is Margaret Weniger, once a successful sales leader, and now, an entrepreneur and a podcast host living her purpose.
Margaret and our host Christina Brady discuss the challenges and concerns of quitting the well-trodden career path and digging into the unknown. Margaret shares why she decided to step out of the sales leadership role and dedicate herself to creating a space for women to share their stories and become entrepreneurs. They also discuss what it takes to be a good leader and how celebrating and learning from small victories is the path to great success.
Despite My Success, I Realized I Was Not Meant to Be a Sales Leader
Margaret has a prolific leadership background that anyone aspiring to have a sales career can look up to. However, what differentiated her from many in a similar situation is the realization that despite being successful as a manager, her purpose was not directly related to being a sales leader.
”It took me a very long time to make peace with that. Again, I just spent a decade focused on building this career path. I was not willing to give that up, and yet my heart was being pulled in this other direction. And my purpose was somewhere else. […]
And so, I launched Rising Tide formally. There was the podcast in Rising Tide, which is focused on transforming the workplace to be built for human beings rather than ideal workers. And you’ll see me talk primarily about women because I believe that creating a balance of masculine and feminine energy in positions of power — that’s how we’re going to do it. So I talk a lot because the gap right now is in getting women elevated into those roles or starting companies.”
We Can Use Certain Sales Principles to Determine What’s Important in Our Everyday Life
”Measure what matters,” Margaret suggests. She reminds us about the fundamentals — for instance, in sales, defining an ICP (ideal customer profile). Once you have it, you can create marketing strategies and take other actions that lead to growth. She also says that you can do the same in your personal life.
”Who are we going after? How do we know who we need to say ‘No’ to? What is misaligned with where we’re ultimately trying to get, and how do we create alignment within our organization so that we are all rowing in the same direction and not doing activities that are counterproductive to one another? […]
And so, I see this where it’s quite true in our lives. So understanding who you are at this moment. What do I value? What are the strengths I have? So who am I? […]
So then, when faced with difficult situations and opportunities, you have qualification standards. Now you can say ‘No’ without feeling guilty […] because you have your criteria of what does or does not work for you.”
Instead of Assuming, Seek to Understand
More and more companies focus on creating an employee-first culture and encourage employees to speak freely about their ideas, concerns, and doubts. But such an approach requires resources, time, skills, and people to hear, understand, and provide a solution to any issues an employee might be facing in the workplace.
”As a manager, this is a good mantra to remind yourself of when you’re working with people on your team who behave in a way you did not expect. Your responsibility is to seek to understand and withhold judgment because, again, it’s rarely what you assume it is.
And assumptions, like in sales, can kill all deals and destroy relationships and trust. And so, I’m a big believer that when you catch yourself assuming, stop in your tracks immediately, and shift into seeking to understand. Especially when people don’t behave in a way you expect, it’s a really good time to pause and dig in to understand what’s going on. There’s usually something bigger there.”