Originally published on vizaca.com

Tell us about yourself.

I just turned 45, I’m a pretty active person, and I love sports–watching them or playing them. Sports played a significant role in my life; they kept me on the straight and narrow and helped me choose the right path. I still play hockey in my free time.

Another big part of my world is my twelve-year-old daughter. She’s a softball player and a pitcher, and I coached her team in the past. I make sure to be at all of her games and like to be as involved as possible.

My days are pretty straightforward. We recently got a dog, and I enjoy running with him. I work during the day and enjoy walking and reading when I’m not busy. I’ve gotten more interested in reading lately; there’s a lot to be learned, and I consider myself to be reasonably open-minded. Other than that, I enjoy snowboarding, spending time with friends, and relaxing during the summers.

What makes you different than other professionals in your field?

I care a lot about people, and my focus is to help them. I’ve learned that in sales, it’s important to make your message about the client and their needs. Make sure you slow down and listen; be very attentive to what they’re saying so you can find the best way to help them. You can achieve your goals by helping them reach theirs.

I don’t think that this mentality is prevalent in this space, and I believe that there is a lot of arrogance. Arrogance and judgment will get you nowhere; to be successful and truly connect with your clients, you must be down-to-earth and relatable.

What was the most important part of your professional journey?

The most important thing was realizing everything I just described. I’ve held many different sales jobs, and regardless of what you’re selling, the most important aspect of the job is the people. The most important skill I’ve learned is effective communication; building a rapport with folks and finding commonalities helps them let their guard down and feel like they can open up to you. A genuine connection creates an opportunity for your product or service to fit in.

What are the best purchases that you’ve made?

The best purchases I’ve made are books. There’s an enormous amount of value in a book, and there is endless knowledge to gain through literature.

What takes up too much of your time?

Throughout the years, I’ve grown a lot personally and have better understood my priorities. Life is all about the choices you make, and I have to ask myself which choices will advance me in my career and my personal life. I can’t say what I would consider a “waste” of time anymore; I’m just smarter with my choices and how I spend my time.

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students or new business owners who either want to become entrepreneurs or leaders in their field?

  1. Learn how to communicate, market, and sell.
  2. Get financially literate; understand the difference between a liability and an asset.
  3. Don’t let anyone kill your dream.

Who has impressed you most with what they have accomplished?

I admire a lot of people. Dale Carnegie and Abraham Lincoln are two of my role models. Closer to home, I have a good friend who became a self-made millionaire. I respect people who go out there, roll up their sleeves, and put in the work. Success wasn’t handed to them, and they kept going to achieve their vision.

What drives you to keep going when it gets really tough?

There’s always been a part of me since I was a kid that wants to be successful. I know what it’s like to be broke, and I think that perseverance is critical to pull yourself out of a difficult situation. Never accept an undesirable situation and know that you can do better if you want to. It’s just a matter of getting in a positive mindset and knowing that it’s going to pay off at some point. If you’re living right, good things are going to happen. It’s just a matter of making that choice to live right.

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