I work in sales.
I used to sell missiles, now I sell software and honest-to-goodness physical print books to lawyers. So it goes I guess.
As I was working on my end of year forecast today, I noticed a fascinating trend. When I started my Ship30 journey, I didn’t just join a community, find a voice and get better at writing, I also got startlingly better at my job.
Before May, which was my first cohort, I was tracking along at about 80% of quota. I had just been passed over for a promotion. A project I had been assigned to at the end of last year was scrubbed and considered a failure. I was feeling discouraged and listless. I was questioning my path.
Then in May, I joined Ship 30 for 30. As a result, my sales performance started to look like this:
Since May I’ve averaged 134% to quota (with the highest monthly goals on the team) and hit bonus every month. This constitutes a greater than 50% increase in sales productivity, an astonishing result.
Furthermore, this increase in performance led to a promotion into a leadership role in the organization, overseeing a team of 10+ associates.. After years of trying to figure out how to get out of the pile, one thing brought it all together.
Writing. But it wasn’t just writing; daily writing was the key.
But how? How did a daily writing habit propel my sales numbers to the moon and set me up for a promotion to National Sales Manager?
A few weeks before the program started, I sent Dickie a DM asking what I should do to get ready. He responded with this:
He was right. It’s been utterly transformative in every way. “Day 1” was a line-in-the-sand moment for me. It was the “burn the ships” moment. It was freedom.
It turns out Voltaire was right when he said we are “free the moment we wish to be.”
Through the program, I learned some things compound quicker than others. Things like process, reputation, experience and relationships. I began to inculcate these ideas; putting process before results, reputation before ego, experience before pride and relationships before accolades.
Things started to change quickly. Mainly because my feedback loops got tighter.
At a tactical level, both my internal communications and customer communications got tighter.
I got better at writing cold emails. My messaging got clearer and more concise. I started experimenting more. Attention was paid to titles and lead-ins. There was a point and purpose to every communication, I wasn’t just checking productivity boxes.
These improvements led to more customer interactions. Which then led to more sales. More sales led to more confidence, and more confidence led to doubling down on successful behaviors and processes.
At the strategic level, this new habit showed up even more. For starters, all excuses about showing up every day went right out the window.
I became a better husband and a better father. I became more present. I became a better colleague and a better teammate. I got invested in the success of others around me. And as such, insightful new mentors became invested in me.
As much as I’ve gained personally and professionally, there was something that caught me completely by surprise.
Along the journey, I met truly amazing people.
People that got me to consider what others really thought when my name showed up on the caller ID. People that got me to let go of the played-out tropes and lean into what made my thoughts and writing unique. People that were perfect strangers on the internet that have now become legitimate friends. People I look forward to interacting with every day.
People that inspire me. People that make me better.
And last but not least, my accountability bru, who has kept me on the path, whether he knows it or not. We even got to meet up this past summer in Chicago.
I’ve said it a thousand times. I came for the writing but stayed because of the community. And just as I became a part of that community, so it became a part of me.
Peer pressure is a powerful motivator, but it generally gets tossed around in a negative connotation. The truth is it can be an awesome force for massive positive action, if that peer pressure is exerted by extraordinary and talented people.
Writing every day brought a great deal of clarity to my thinking. As I gained confidence in my convictions, I finally started doing the thing I’d always lacked: Taking action.
Pablo Picasso once said “Action is the foundational key of all success.”
At the end of the first 30 days, I found that some of my questions had been answered. Questions I had long pondered. But there were more horizons to cross. So I set a goal to write for 500 consecutive days.
About a hundred days in, the realization struck that I had written myself into a category without even knowing it. I write about philosophical dad stuff, sales leadership and how a period of unhealthiness almost cost me everything. And every day that goes by, more answers reveal themselves.
I can say without a doubt that this program has made me healthier, wealthier and wiser. And it’s probably the best money I’ve ever spent.
Make the jump. Find your true north. Become more.
If Danny's story resonated with you, click here to hop aboard the next Ship 30 cohort.