From Setback to Success: A Decade-Long Journey in Sales Leadership


Embarking on a career in sales is a journey riddled with challenges, unexpected turns, and the constant pursuit of growth. This blog post recounts a transformative experience from about a decade ago when I transitioned from being a Vice President of Sales at a small startup to a sales representative at another company. Little did I know that this move, coupled with determination and resilience, would set the stage for a remarkable journey of overcoming setbacks and achieving success in sales leadership.

The Startup Saga

Around ten years ago, I found myself at the helm of a startup that unfortunately ran out of funding. Undeterred by this setback, I decided to dive headfirst into the trenches and took on a sales representative position at a different company. Despite the challenges, I quickly rose to become the top sales representative at this new organization, which happened to be a fantastic company that has stood the test of time.

A Promise Deferred

The company acknowledged my capabilities and promised to transition me back into a management role when a suitable spot opened up. Two years later, an opportunity arose, and I eagerly interviewed for the coveted sales leadership position. However, to my surprise, I was passed over. Undeterred, I decided to part ways with the company, holding no hard feelings and maintaining a focus on personal and professional growth.

The Rebound

Exactly one year and one day later – coincidentally, one day after my non-compete clause expired – I found myself as the Vice President of Sales for the competitor of my former employer. This new chapter brought significant success as we onboarded many of their largest customers, including several that I had worked with during my previous role. We also recruited top sales talent from my former team and achieved remarkable sales figures, making millions in revenue.

No Master Plan, Just Intentions

This journey was not part of a master plan; rather, it unfolded organically. My primary goal was to do my best, grow, enjoy the process, thrive, support my family, and feel appreciated without being micromanaged. Life is too short for anything less.

A Lesson in Appreciation

Through this experience, I gained profound insights into the value of appreciating talent within a team. I express gratitude to those who believed in me and even to those who doubted me, as their skepticism fueled my determination. The pivotal question arises: if you’re taking someone for granted on your team, especially top talent, do you want them competing against you every day instead?


In conclusion, this journey from startup VP to rejected sales leader and eventually to VP of Sales for a competitor encapsulates the essence of resilience, growth, and the unexpected twists in a sales career. The tale serves as a reminder to appreciate and nurture top talent within your team, as their potential impact can be transformative. Life’s journey may take unexpected turns, but with the right mindset and dedication, setbacks can become stepping stones to success.

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