As I watch my daughters grow up, I always find myself wondering what type of career they will choose. My oldest daughter has had her sights set on doing work with children ever since she could grasp the concept of a job. She would like to be a teacher or something similar where she is working closely with kids. And there is a good chance she will do that someday soon.
My youngest daughter wants to be a famous singer. While she is a little young to understand the scope of that, at this point in time it's her dream to be on stage performing for a big crowd. While her chances of becoming a famous singer are slim, especially with singing skills like mine, she has a dream. You have to love the way kids think.
When I was younger, I had aspirations to become a pilot. I always had a thing for airplanes and flying. Unfortunately, I never truly pursued that dream. Aside from a little skydiving and a flight lesson one time, I never dedicated myself to that passion. Sometimes I regret it. While it's never too late, it's unlikely I'll go down that road.
I have always been envious of people who identify what they want to be early in life and dedicate their education, time and energy to achieving their dream. It's rare, but those who do that have a leg up on most people.
In the world of sales, I always find it interesting to learn how people ended up doing what they do. How does a successful sales professional end up where they are and at what point did they decide they wanted to sell for a living? Did they know they wanted to be in sales when they were kids? Highly doubtful.
I don't know anyone who knew they wanted to be in sales at an early age. It's not like an astronaut, police officer or firefighter. For some reason, it's just not as glamorous. Sales is also a career where there isn't a whole lot of opportunities for preparation available to most people.
Sure there are business schools you can attend to gain a better understanding of how businesses work, but they don't have degrees in sales skills. Personally, I think that would be the most innovative thing a university could do today.
What is also interesting to analyze is the background of people who are successful in sales. In my career, I have seen people from all walks of life choose to pursue a sales career. To me, it's fascinating how someone with a completely unrelated background decides sales is for them and then end up being successful.
I have seen people want to get into sales who were schoolteachers, police officers, military and countless other unrelated lines of work. And I have also seen people with all of those backgrounds do extremely well. You just never know.
We end up in sales and business for many reasons, but having it be something that was a childhood dream is unlikely one of them. For most of us, someone saw something special in us. Someone saw a talent. And someone helped us see our true potential in a career in business. I know that's what happened to me, and I'm thankful it did.
While you won't hear kids talk about becoming a sales professional on career day in their class, those who choose that path will see that it is a challenging and financially rewarding career that is critical to the success of every company and of course our economy.
Chris Thompson writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News. Email him at email@example.com.