Talent Acquisition

Success Isn’t Black and White, But Hard Work Is

In sales, you’re either working hard or you’re not.

See, champions always start with a dream. We’ve watched enough motivational videos to know that major success stories often have humble beginnings. Regardless of field, high achievers don’t stop until they get to where they want to go. As sales people, we need to regularly take a step back and refocus; remind ourselves to keep going, don’t give up, visualise the purpose. What do we want to achieve and are we doing everything we can to get there?

Before we move on, what does ‘there’ even mean? For some people, ‘there’ is being first to cross the finish line in a world famous sporting race; having a portfolio of clients worth $2 billion; being promoted to Managing Director. For others, ‘there’ is a point in their life where they have enough money to make ends meet; having confidence to stand up to an office bully. Everyone’s goals are different; my ‘there’ is different to yours. Success is definitely not black and white, or ‘one size fits all’.


Let’s set one thing straight early doors. Some people are handed their dreams and high fortune on a silver platter. It’s not fair and there’s nothing to be done about it. Our starting blocks are all staggered. End of story. Some people will get a better leg-up than you, but you can’t dwell on it! Unless you’re one of the lucky ones born with super-human powers into extremely fortunate family lines, achieving amazing things will ultimately come down to one thing…

Hard work!

Most champions will have ‘hard work’ in common. Their situations and day-to-day dealings will differ tremendously, but their work ethic will be strikingly similar. We always hear how high achievers are extremely driven and passionate, stopping at nothing to get where and what they want. It’s this mentality we should try to mirror in our own jobs.

Input = results

Don’t expect to have your hand held throughout your career, and don’t expect people to be nice and help you to the top. You’ve got to make things happen yourself; if you feel you’re not getting anywhere or you’re stagnating in your career, you are the only one who can truly turn things around. Maybe it’s time to crank your input up a notch?

As the saying goes, you only get out what you put in. Nutri Grain (a tasty Australian breakfast cereal marketed for athletes) has coined the phrase its slogan, and for good reason! It’s so true, from both a food/fuel perspective and an effort perspective! If you don’t put the hard work in, you’ll unlikely reap the results you really want.

Shortsighted tunnel vision

One of the most counterproductive approaches to sales, or anything really, is thinking in tunnel vision, obsessing over the short term.  Sales cycles can be extremely drawn out, lasting one month to one year or more from first approach to payment made. In agency recruitment, often a candidate will be on your books for many months before you place them! While you might not see the results of your input immediately, giving up can’t be an option. Building relationships takes time, patience and persistence. What you do today is setting you up for results tomorrow!

Small wins

An old manager of mine always used to tell me to focus on the small wins, instead of placing all emphasis on writing deals alone. Landing a great new client or making a really pricey placement will be the result of a lot small wins in succession. Focus on the things you’re doing well and the steps forward you’re taking. Don’t expect to leap from A to B without enduring a hell of a battle between them.


We can’t be sure to completely avoid failure forever, but we can change our perception of it. We cannot control everything in our career; bad things will happen outside of our control and we will have to soldier onwards and upwards. We might not necessarily make huge mistakes ourselves; someone else might drag us down in their wake. This is especially true in sales! Deals will fall over for reasons beyond our control or we’ll forget to do something that ends up costing us a sale.

Consider this: failure is crucial to success. We need to make mistakes to steer us onto the right path. Sometimes the lessons we learn from these situations can end up leading us to incredible things! The key is to never stop putting that effort in. After all, success isn’t black and white, but hard work is. You’re either working hard, or you’re not.

By Phoebe Spinks

Account Executive at Link Humans, download our 12 Essentials of Employer Branding eBook now.