Do you remember a time when you learned something that you still use today? For me, it was when my mom taught me how to ride a bike. She didn’t teach me by asking me to label the parts of a bike. Or to write a research paper on the history of bike riding. Instead, she gave me a bike with training wheels and rode her bike alongside mine. Once the stabilizers came off, she’d catch me as I wobbled out of control. Pretty soon we were riding together. My mom was a great teacher.
I followed in my mom’s footsteps and became a teacher too. I was obsessed with cultivating a love of reading, writing and creating. And learning alongside my students. While it was very satisfying and rewarding, I also felt there was something more entrepreneurial calling to me.
So I scratched a long-time itch and started an after-school and summer school program that taught students to be creators rather than just consumers. Students learned things like video production, programming, and photography. The entrepreneurial bug grew into a second career selling educational software for startups. By the early 2000s, I became a full-fledged salesperson working for a tech company.
For a long time, I kept these two worlds separate, thinking that they had nothing to do with each other. But the more I sold the more I realized that the worlds of teaching and selling aren’t that different. They both require you to connect with audiences in compelling ways, to tell stories and most of all, to make other people happier.
I found a way to bring these two worlds together in my books, courses and workshops. Now I’m doing the thing I love – teaching – while sharing the sales knowledge I’ve accumulated. And in the process, I’m helping people learn how to sell with integrity which is very rewarding.