How to Handle Transitions

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This is a podcast episode titled, How to Handle Transitions. The summary for this episode is: <p>What would happen if you made a career change and it turned out to be a mistake? Nothing earth-shattering – you could just go back to where you were before.</p><p>In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is joined by the brilliant Galem Girmay, Co-Founder at RevGenius and Revenue Enablement Manager at UserTesting, to talk about transitions in life and career. The two of them talk about the importance of getting a trade you can always fall back to, how to consciously plan for a transition, and how a mentor can help you get from point A to point B faster. </p><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Subscribe now and learn how to avoid being derailed as you handle both planned and unexpected career transitions.</a></p>
Let's talk about transition
03:51 MIN
What advice would you give to others?
08:19 MIN

Darryl: (music) How's everybody doing today? Folks, it's a good one. I'm recording this on a Friday and you know what's nice about recording stuff on a Friday? Is that you're just that close to the weekend. Now for me, as I record this, this is my first week back after having a week off, before that being in the UK for a week. And I just had my weekly meeting with my director of sales that we have every Friday. And because we hadn't met in a couple weeks, it was, we ran out of time. We spent the entire time talking about one rep, one rep, not talking about the pipeline, not talking about processes, not talking about deals that are imminent, not talking about fires. One rep, that's what we did. It's always interesting, but it's good to be back. I was overwhelming this week. How about you guys? You guys get overwhelmed sometimes? How good are you at managing your calendar? That's the one thing, we talked about this before the whole idea of time blocking, I've tried it. My director of sales is telling me how she tends to block four to 6: 00 PM every single day on her side, but that's her time. And she tries no to go into it, which is growth. Because I used to do the same thing different times, but I'm a block off like two hour windows every single day and routinely I would book into it. And after a while I just stopped doing it because I was a moron and didn't really grasp time blocking. But I will tell you this, one of the things that I did after taking on the rule of CRO was I made a very conscious effort to not overbook myself, not overbook myself. And that has made a profound impact. My off the cuff advice to you, is you will be far more effective and impactful if you often take on less, believe it or not. I think the classic rule of thumb is, you get one or two things done tangibly done, and tangible done in a day, you've done well. That's why OKR. We do OKRs every quarter, it's a standard objective measured by key results. You should never have more than the kind of three OKRs, of course notable OKRs at the course of a quarter, because they're a lot of work. So there you have it. But the whole point is, when I was going with that beyond the meeting and transitioning from the meeting to this podcast recording, transitioning how I changed my style, transitioning from a CMO to when I became CRO, life is full of transitions. And I've been through this many times myself. I mean, I'm sure you have too. Let me ask you this simple question. Did you seek to be in sales? Did you say I'm going to be in sales from the get go? And I bet you like 5% of you might have thought of that, everybody else kind of found their way here. Transition is always interesting. I was a computer programmer, as you all know, I'm shared that with you many times and I've transitioned numerous times. I've transitioned away from programming to a sales engine... Actually from sales, I was educated in programming, but my first job was sales, sold copiers door to door for six months, there was a life lesson. Back into coding, then into a sales engineer, then into product management, then into product marketing, then into marketing, then back into sales and every role is different. And ultimately I got to a point in my life where I finally I think I said, " I found my happy space." For me that was marketing. And I was a CMO for a very, very, very, very long time. And it actually, it was VanillaSoft, who got me to leave that dedicated role of being just a CMO, working for myself. I had my own agency and come back and work for high tech company. And then also led to me going back into a CRO role. Lots of transitions and they're painful. They're freaking painful, but it's a good pain, because when you finally find where you're at, your life is so much better. Why do I share this? You're in sales right now, you work in sales likely before you got to sales and you may stay in sales or you may evolve again. But even if you stay in sales, your role will change. Maybe you will go and become, you move from sales into maybe rev ops or maybe from sales being an SCR to an AE or an AE to being a sales manager, ultimately, maybe a VP, or CSO, or CRO, all of those different roles, different functions, different obligations, different expectations, different requirements, different measurements for being successful, different consequences on you and your lifestyle. Transition is inevitable, we've never talked about it here. Can you imagine that? Ever and yet that's how we all got here. So let's fix that today, let's talk about transition, let's talk about what it means, let's talk about what you need to think about, let's talk about the consequences, let's talk about preparing the people in your life, let's talk about preparing yourself, let's talk about the harsh cold reality. Let's talk about how some transitions go well, some transitions go bad, some transitions are a middle transition to another transition. We're talking transitions today, who's the best person? Well, somebody who's gone through a transition herself recently. You know her, she's a repeat guest here on the show. I am so excited to have back, and before I tell you her name, I want to stop right there. I told you recently that was happening together, I had gone to my producer and I said, " I wanted to cherry pick a handful of people whom I hold in massive high esteem that they may or may not have the same notoriety, or reach, or frequency of conversation as other people out there, but their impact is profound. And they consequentially cause me to reevaluate how I do stuff." There's the buildup, everybody welcome back to the show, Galem Girmay, how're you doing Galem?

Galem Girmay: I'm fantastic. What a buildup Darryl, I'm excited for this.

Darryl: Can you live up to it or you're just going to let us down now?

Galem Girmay: No, of course, I can.

Darryl: Now, let's talk about transition, because you've gone through transition recently and it's not your first time. I mean, you were part of rev genius when that was nothing to something, you made some conscious decisions on how you were going to be involved in that. Here you are now, so just give us the back story on where you're at and the process to get there. And then you and I can just jam about wherever the conversation takes us.

Galem Girmay: So it really started did when I was in college, it was a necessity to work while studying full- time. And so at that point I was working in HR, I was an HR admin for this Sybe, what's it called? Not Sybe. It was a company that I worked for an HR. I can't remember the industry right now, because it's been so long ago, but I was an HR. I did that part- time as I was in college. And at that time I was like, " There are certain parts about this job that I'm really enjoying," so much that I would make sure that I wasn't scheduling any of my classes on Monday mornings at 10:00 AM. I was like, " That is my time to be at work in the office, because that's when I'm doing the onboarding of all the new hires." And I lived for those Mondays at 10:00 AM. And so that's how I started working in HR. And then there were other parts that I didn't really enjoy, all the admin stuff. I was like, " This is not for me, I could care less about this, but it is unfortunately part of the job." So at that point I had to make it conscious decision and I went through this whole thought process of, what am I going to do next? I'm about to finish up my degree and I got to know what I'm going to do next. What I heard you talk about Darryl, in the introduction was this idea of being intentional about your next move and thinking through that decision. And that's what I did at that point. I was being very intentional and I was that 5% of people who chose to go into sales. And so specifically tech sales, right? And at that point I made a decision to say, All right, I'm going to try this out. I'm going to give it a year, I'm going to start off as a BDR and see what happens next." I ended up getting into tech sales for this exciting FinTech company. And I started off as a BDR, the very first hired. And from there I get into an account executive role, moved on for that company to a different industry, construction tech. And at that point I worked there for a couple months and then realized it's time for a change. I want to learn something different. And that again was this idea of being intentional with my time, because as you know, Darryl you've been on my podcast. Well, anyone listening and you want to hear Darryl get real deep and real personal, this is your chance, episode 30 for your reference, but a really, really great conversation. And that was another opportunity for you and I to really deeply connect on a more personal level as well. Anyway, going back to the story of transitions, I then move on from being an individual contributor, being an AE at the time and now I'm in revenue enablement. And the reason why made that choice was a very intentional one, because I started to really reflect on what is it that I'm enjoying about my job as a sales rep, and what are the parts that I wish I could do more of? What's truly bringing me joy, and what's making me get out of bed in the morning and continue on with my day with excitement? And what makes me look forward to a Friday as well as my Monday? That's how I got to where I am right now in revenue enablement, that's a very high level overview of kind of the journey to get here. But I think it's important to kind of set the foundation of how I got from being in HR and in college to being a revenue enablement today.

Darryl: Before we forget, because we didn't mention this in the intro, Galem's podcast is called, What is Your Legacy? And I'm looking at it right now and looks like they're up to episode 57. I mean clearly after the first the... She peaked in the thirties, that's what I'm going to say. We're going to leave it to that. And after that, the kind of secondary quality guest. But the show, actually, speaking of transition and what a great tie in, you need to check out her podcast and all sincerity, go listen to it if you don't already, because she has this, an incredible knack to draw out of people, things that you would never ever say otherwise. It's kind of like how, what is it that people always say like, are they being interviewed by Oprah? I would never say something else and Oprah ask you, you're like, " Oh, no problem, blah, blah, blah." And then afterwards, you're like, " Oh my gosh. I said that?" That's scale up. And it's on What's Your Legacy. But the irony is, is that legacy has a direct correlation in a facet, the transition, because transition could be your career, it could be your life, could be relationships, it could be whatever you want it to be, right? Check it out, you'll love it, but I will warn you, because I've talked to other people who also appeared on the show. You may need tissues when you're listening to several of the episodes. You just need to know that going in. All right, let's go back to the transition conversation. You multiple times now have made a transition, what's the process? If you were to share this with somebody, give them coaching, give them mentoring to know that maybe you should do a transition, for example, you going from being in sales, to being in sales enablement now. I mean, did you look at yourself and say, and I'm just asking the question, I'm giving up on sales, or I don't think I'm going to be successful in sales, or I'm not as successful as I want to be in sales, or sales is hard and therefore I'm just going to change, or were there other sides that indicators, and when you went through this thought process, did you have to deal with that self- doubt, am I leaving this career too soon? Am I silly to think of transition? Does this mean I'm starting over again from scratch and I've lost time? Did I make a poor decision in doing what I'm doing now? Will I do it again? So in other words, there's a lot of self- doubt, a lot second guessing in this process. So what was the journey like for you and what advice would you give to others?

Galem Girmay: There was no second guessing, because I have the mindset that there's nothing and no one stopping me from going back to where I started. I still believe that, I still think there's a high possibility that in the future, I can't give you a timeframe of when, because I don't really believe in timeframes and timelines in my life. They've never worked out the way that I intended them to. I just kind of go with the flow of the right timing to take the next action, because I believe that if I wanted to go back into being an individual contributor, there's nothing and no one's stopping me from doing that. And what I ended up thinking was, it was a very strategic way of thinking about my next move, because this is also what happened for me and didn't happen to me because I looked at it in this way of, okay, I'm an AE. And I thought the natural progression was going to be, I'm going to become a sales leader now, I'm going to be, I don't know, an SDR, BDR manager of some sort and go through that ladder to get to a director level, VP level, et cetera, because that's kind of the path that I've seen other people take. And I thought that's going to be a successful path for me. But as you know, Darryl, you moved from being a CMO to CFO and many other things in between that. So there is no lateral move that you have to take. And just because you're going from one position to another, there's nothing wrong with that. And there's nothing wrong with jumping around from exploring different options. If that is something that you thought through and you've been very intentional about. And so there was an entire process. I made a LinkedIn post about this, that a lot of people came back to me and messages about like, how did you make that transition from being an individual contributor to now you are a revenue enable manager for this company that has just gone public? It's this idea of being very intentional and being very thoughtful about that next move. And I wanted to in my heart go into a sales leadership position and I was actually interviewing for those type of positions. But every time I get declined, every time I get rejected and it built up this very frustrating feeling within me of thinking all those doubts, like I'm not enough, they don't see the potential in me and I get really frustrated with it. Then I started to think about all right, what other ways can I shift this into? What other avenues can I take, if at some point I might want to end up in a sales leadership position? I don't know yet and I may not, but I thought I have options here. And what is it? I have to ask myself this question, which I think a lot of people should do. Whether you are thinking about transition or not is, ask yourself the question of what do I want to learn next? Not what do I have to learn? What am I being told to do next? But what do I want to learn next in my career? What do I want to learn next in my life? And ask yourself that question and it's going to become a little bit more clear with the question that you're answering and with the conversations that you're about to have. What I did after that was I reached out to people in this space, in the enablement space. And I said, " Hey, do you mind just having a conversation? I'm really curious about the space that you are working in and I wanted to learn more?" And people said, " Yes," and one of those people were Roger Jefferson, he's been in the enablement space for over 20 years. He wrote a book about it. I read his book, we were in the same kind of groups online and we had a conversation and in that conversation, he goes, " Do you want me to mentor you?" And I said, " Yeah, why not? I would love that. Because I could learn a lot from you, whether I do go into enablement or not." And so that's how it started months before I got into this new position is what happened for me, because I made that a choice.

Darryl: Okay, you're keeping me busy, so I tend for those who don't know, I've shared this before, I just keep track of notes of interesting sound bites that my guests make. So I don't forget it, because I have the memory of a more on. And so I can go back to it and I was typing up a storm because of you, so a way to go. A couple things, there was a star I remember, it's probably about 12 years old now, so it could be completely changed, but I got a feeling it's actually got more pronounced. And the star at the time was, you will have 10 jobs by the time you're 30. On average, on average. So I was more than 10 jobs, I laughed at the time. So transition is a fact of life, that's the first point you need to know. So therefore don't beat yourself up for it. In fact, embrace it. You said something that was, you said a lot of things was powerful. One of the things that jumped off the page at me and I think I cannot emphasize is enough for those of you who are thinking about transition. Galem said, " There's nothing stopping you from going back to where you were." And then I add it, " Hence there's no second guessing of the choice to make a change, because you can always go back." And it's funny to this day, I say this to people. I said, " If the sales and marketing doesn't work out to me, I'll just go back to coding." Now the last time I coded full- time was in the mid'90s. But so the languages have changed, but the actual skillset, logic, visualization, et cetera, hasn't. If I got confined to a wheelchair and I had minimal capabilities, I could spend a couple months and get up to speed on some of the more common languages, not the more complex sophisticated stuff and get right back into coding. And then within a year I could go and do whatever I wanted to do. That's that's to me it's like my parents used to say to me and my friends, " Get a trade." It sounds stupid, you could always go back to it, but a trade doesn't mean you're a brick layer or a carpenter or an electrician. It can be sales, it can be whatever you want it to be, right? It's a skillset that you've developed, you can always go back to. So that I love it, because you've just given us is permission, you've given us Galem, permission to go and explore a transition now, because we can go back. So that's great. The last thing you made, another comment, I want to emphasize this. How effectively what you said was, " How does the transition impact your long- term goals from a career point of view?" I got to stop there for a second, because that's brilliant. Okay, let's say, let's say so she's gone from being an individual contributor and now she's in the sales enablement space. Does that mean she's either going to be a senior executive in sales enablement or what? I don't know. Here's the thing you need to know folks, part of the reason I was able to be a CMO and then ultimately a CRO, was because I was a programmer. And when you think about it, marketing was all about marketing automation and building websites and making videos. Everybody says to me, " Daryl, how do you know so much about cameras and videos and podcasts?" And I said, "Because I learned it, because it is just more tech. It's just more tech. And I did tech before. So tech doesn't scare me and it's logical." So there we go. And so I've built upon all my skills. I'm a CRO today because I was a individual contributor, because I was a marketer, because I was a sales engineer, because I was a product manager. I have all those individual skills, I said, " Here I am." Think about if Galem want to be a CRO, just using that same analogy, one day, she's now got individual contributor experience. She's now got sales enablement experience. Who knows where she's going to go? That's going to make you such a more powerful candidate for the CRO role versus somebody who's only ever been an individual contributor. Whether it's her background in rev genius, she understands the power of community, the power of social influence, all of that adds up. So is it really a transition or is it more a development of raw skills necessary to help you achieve your ultimate goal? If you look at it that way, then this isn't scary.

Galem Girmay: Right, I think it can be both. For me personally with this transition, it was absolutely what you just described. It was a combination of all the different experiences that I've had. I've worked in HR, I have good people skills, I have good communication skills or at least decent ones, where I can communicate with other people and get my points across in a respectful way. And I can get to practice that all the time because of podcasts like this and my own podcast and other conversations and involvements. And it was the fact that I do have rev genius in my back pocket. I co- founded that community well, almost two years ago now. So that was another asset and a skill. And it was the network as well. And so there's a lot of different components, it's kind of like looking at a puzzle, right? It's not a completed puzzle yet, but the different pieces that are starting to fit into each other and eventually it will become completed. And I think the puzzle is completed when I die, right? That's when you're like, " We're done with this puzzle, we're going to throw this out." And you're done. But that's what happened, and I think other times it can look different in that transition. And a lot of people were having those doubts that you talked about earlier when they reach out to me and they said, " How did you do that and how can I make that transition, because I am currently an individual contributor just like you were. And I want to go into the same space, but I have no idea where to start. I don't even think they're going to look at me, because they come from this background? And I asked them, I said, " Who told you that? Who put that in your head that you are not able to go from an individual contributor to an enablement role? Because you are mistaken, it's actually one of the greatest assets that you can have, because your job is to connect with the sales rep at that other organization and enablement. And don't you think they're going to find you extremely valuable if you have that in your background? If you've done the work that they are doing every single day and you can relate to them, you can understand them, you can empathize with them. Don't you think that's going to be a valuable asset? And they said, " Oh my God, I never thought about it that way. I thought I had to done certain things in order to get to that space." And I said, " That is your own problem. And you got to get over that. You got to get over those doubts of thinking, I can't make it into this space, just because I don't have the experience."

Darryl: I think it's about managing your own expectations, right? For example, I would never expect to transition into... If I was you, transitioning from an individual role to a sales enablement company, what I expect to transition to the VP of sales enablement for Microsoft, probably not. I probably don't have those skillsets, but is there a good company that's a good fit for me and will let me get my hands dirty enough with learning the practical ins and outs of the actual role? Abso- freaking- lutely, and you nailed it best. Can you truly be a good sales enablement person without sales background? And there are people who do it and I love you, God bless you. But I will contend, you will be a far better sales than enablement person if you have that background, it's no different folks. And I say, marketers, get your butts in sales and spend time selling. And sales reps, get your butts in marketing and spend time marketing and feel about the... And then you'll have a better understanding of the job, and the requirement. And then you can really do go back to your original job and be so much more impactful because you get the bigger picture. You're more empathetic, you're more strategic, you're more process centric. You understand the consequences of your decisions on a bigger scope and because of that, you can make bolder decisions that are going to have a bigger ROI. You said something that I was laughing inside. Ha, ha, ha, because you were like, I reached out to others and asked them about the role. Okay guys, you're in sales, what do you do when you talk to a prospect? You do discovery.

Galem Girmay: Exactly.

Darryl: You freaking do discovery, you know how to do this? All right, what do you do when you're trying to get into an account? You go and build out the buying committee, whether you're using navigator or something else to figure who are all the individual contributors, you know how to do this? And when you want to get into a specific account that you're having difficulty to getting into, what do you do? You ask for a referral. You ask for introduction into that account.

Galem Girmay: Exactly.

Darryl: You know how to do this and Galem, just throws up casually. Yeah, I just reached out to some people who were in a space and I just asked them about it. That's so freaking simple. How is it that this and other people are getting stuck on that? I got to ask you that question. How is it you just knew that?

Galem Girmay: We all know that especially somebody, like you said is in sales. We know that, you know what the problem is? Is that people can't see both worlds simultaneously. They can't see the professional world and the actions that they're taking in the profession to how they can apply that to their personal world. That's the disconnect here. It's that I'm able to see very clearly that if something's working extremely well for me in my professional world, like setting up, I was great at prospecting, setting up the meetings, doing the discovery call was my favorite part about sales. And so knowing that and how much I enjoy that, I was like, " How can I... This is how I think in my brain. " How can I use that skill and that excitement and that joy into my personal life? Which I'm a very inquisitive, curious person. I constantly, in my professional and personal life, I ask a lot of questions. I have a lot of conversations. I dig into a lot of things with people. And so they intertwine with each other for me. That's why it sounds so simple probably when I said it like, " Oh yeah, I just reach out to a few people, had some conversations, asked some relevant questions." And then to your point, I do this in other areas of my life. There's somebody I wanted on my podcast. And I was like, " I tried to reach out to this person before, they're not great at responding back, but we have talked before. I reached out to John Barrows and I said, " Hey, can you introduce me to this person, because I really would like to have a conversation? He's like, " Yes, of course." And so it's really not as difficult as we would like to make it a lot of times, I just try to simplify the process and think about what's the correlation. And it goes both ways. Sometimes I do something in my personal life that I can bring to my professional life and vice versa. So it's just mingling those two worlds a little bit more and using the best parts of it.

Darryl: And then to bring it back to another point you made, sales reps. How many times does your boss give you coaching or maybe you've got an outside advisor they brought in and help coach you, or you've got a team lead, who's got a few more months, years of experience on, you can tell you how to handle a certain situation, right? So they're all coaching, they're all coaching. You're used to coaching, coaching's normal, coaching is used to be expected. Maybe you go by a book and you listen to Jeb Blunt tell you how pipe is life and how you got to do it. Fanatical prospecting as an example. All right, I got news for you. Coach is the same thing as mentor. And what did Galem do? She went and got a mentor. That's a good insurance policy. Okay, I'm scared, I'm making a transition, I've talked to people, I'm going to go into this. But what if I screw up? Because that's what's holding you back. You've done all the groundwork, but now you've got to make a decision commit or don't commit. Galem got some insurance, she's got a coach, she's got a mentor to help her. That she can go to a trusted advisor to say, " What do I do?" And I got news for you folks, before I took on the CEO role, I reached out to five senior people and I said, " What do I need to know? Am I making the right decision?" But they said this, "What I've asked, what have I not asked? What expectations do I need to set?" And will you be there for me when I'm going? What the hell was I thinking when I took on this job and talked me off the ledge and remind me of what I need to know that I already know, but I just maybe am panicking. And they're like, " Yes." You need a mentor at every stage of your life, no matter what. And I love that you did that. So let me ask you this Galem, if I had to say, I want you to tell me the top three lessons you've learned as you've done multiple transitions that you would give as advice to others thinking about it. What would those top three top of mind things be?

Galem Girmay: Such a great question. And I think no number one lesson would be, have clarity and remove.. This is part of one, I guess, but by having clarity, I'm meaning, remove the distractions, remove the ideas that you have in your head and create a space where you can gain more clarity on what you're going to do next. And it doesn't have to be the ultimate decision at that point. It can just be tiny, little of steps towards creating a better clarity. As an example, one thing that I did because I was in the space of being very confused between what path do I take? Do I go into sales leadership? Because that's what I've had in my head for so long that this is the right decision or do I try enablement? And I really didn't know. And then I sat down with one of my mentors and he made this really simple exercise for me and said, " Well, ask yourself the question. What am I good at? And what could I do whether I get paid for it or not? What's exciting about what I'm doing and what I want to do? So I put those next to each other two different completely roles, but I have to go through that and really think about it. What is it about this? Is it the idea of being a sales leader that sounds sexy to me? Or is it the actual impact of what the day- to- day is that's going to be more fulfilling to me? And so I have to go through that exercise to gain a better clarity of what my next step would look like, because there is no way of looking for that next job, unless you have clarity around what it is that you're searching for, because otherwise you would've seen my CV being all over the place, which it was in the first version of it, because I didn't know which direction I wanted to take. And nobody could take that seriously and actually take a look at me as an option for the organization. So have clarity. Second piece is, know what the purpose is behind this transition. Because some people, they simply just say, " I want to get more money." And it's like there are like 500 other creative ways for you to make more money without having to go through this entire process. Why do you really want to make the transition? Got to ask yourself that question. I guess, the third thing would be leverage the people in your circle, create a tribe that you can rely on, whether that is one or two specific individuals that can be your coaches or mentors or whatever you want to name them and rely on them, but not relying on them in the way that they're working for. You rely on them in a way of you want to seek advice, you want to learn something and they've been where you want to go. And that could be people at different stages, like Darryl, you're one of the people I reach out to and said, " Hey, would love to know a little bit more about what your life is like as a CRO." Not because I'm going for CRO, but because that could potentially be in the path in the future. I want to know what is it that I'm looking ahead for? I'm looking at it at a short term way and long term as well of what the different avenues is, and if that's even interesting to me. So those are the three things that I will take as a take away.

Darryl: All right, let me see if I can recap what we talked about here today. In no particular order I've heard Galem, say transition can be scary and it could be nerve- wracking, it can be full of self- doubt, it can be full of indecision. Those are not words she used, but sentiments, perhaps. If I've misstate it that I apologize, but I think it's real to say, change is scary, in a nutshell. With that said, Galem is saying, you need to be intentional a little bit about the steps in your career and to do that, you need to know where you want to go or what makes you happy, brilliant piece of advice. There's nothing stopping you from going back. So if you make a change and it turned out to be not what you thought it was going to be, you're not happy. There's nothing stopping you in going back, possibly even to your old company, let alone your old gig. You've got a safety net built in. Now, a lot of times people give excuses like, I want to go there, but I don't have the experience. I don't know how, I don't know people. I don't even know where to start. And what she says is that, " Well, you got to figure out what you want to do. You got to figure out your next step. You got to reach out to others in the role and do some discovery. Do some research, ask them lots questions, be curious." All right? And you should find a mentor along the way, who can coach you as you make that transition. And you're eliminating so much of the risk by doing that. Finally, when I asked her the three lessons she learned, she said, " Number one have clarity." And that's basically have clarity around your objective. And she made a really interesting point. She said, " Remove distractions, remove distractions." What are distractions? Distractions could be your spouse, it could be your partner, it could be a friend, it could be a work colleague, it could be your boss. All these people have opinions, and that's great, that's an input, but you got to shut that out at the end of the day and got to focus a little bit on what makes you happy and why you want to do something. As she said, " What am I good at? What would I do? If I had the ability to do it and get paid for it?" She didn't say this, but I was saying this to myself, we're often influence in our decisions by what others think. You heard Galem, talk a bit that, did I want to go into sales leadership because it sounds sexy or others might think that's sexy? But that's secondary, because you make that decision and you're there. And now you're doing the grind every single day. And what people thought of you is not going to make you happy or not me you happy.

Galem Girmay: Can I add one more thing?

Darryl: Yeah. Jump in, jump in.

Galem Girmay: Because this was another piece that was important for me, because as sales people, a lot of us, myself included, we have a big ego and we want to get the accolades. We want to get the promotions, we want to get all these things that we think define what success is in this profession. And that was a battle that I had to go through myself of just accepting the fact that, okay, if I'm moving on from this position, that means I'm not going to get paid in the same way, I'm not going to get those commission checks. It also means I'm not going to be part of certain circle roles, because it's not directly sales related in terms of being an individual contributor. I'm not going to have my name in certain places, because I'm no longer in that position. And that might sound really superficial and extremely ego driven, but the reality is that we all have an ego and some are bigger than others. And that is something that needs to be managed, something that needs to be really considered and something that we need to pay closer attention to of how are we managing our own ego? And why are we making the decisions that we're making? Is it to feed our own ego, to say, " This makes me feel so good because people are looking at me in a certain way, and I'm going to get all these different prices and accolades and have my name everywhere." Why are you doing the things that you're doing? And I quickly came to the realization that, this isn't feeding my soul in the way that I would like it to at this point in my life. And so that was the other very big part of my decision making process that took a little bit of time to really think through and feel those emotions and accept them to then be able to move on and get into this new role.

Darryl: Two other points you made, and let's learn. One was know the purpose behind this transition. And immediately was funny. I went off on tangent and said in my mind, know the purpose behind this transition, to me that know your why. Know your why, do you know your why? Why do you get up every day? Is it to feed a family, is it to make yourself happy? Is it because you got a career? Know your why? I think of Jeff Bajorek, he's got his own podcast, The Why Behind The Why. I love it. It's the why? Think about what your sales manager would say to you about an opportunity you're bringing to them. Okay, Galem, why are they going to buy us? Why are they going to buy from you? And why are they going to buy right now? Right? It's all about know your why. But Galem made a point there, it wasn't just about know your why. She says know your why short term and long term, two different horizons. And then she said, " Leverage the people in your community." If I look at this from a sales, classic sales, what are you doing in sales? You have a plan. These are the accounts I want to... The industry, what have you. I'm going to go target these specific accounts. I'm going to target this job. When I get into that account or I think about talking about account, I'm going to do discovery. So I'm going to research the people who have done this before, so they can give me all the insights and booster my need and answer all my questions, so I don't sound like a moron when I'm interviewing. And I made informed decision that, yes, this is where I want to go. In sales, you would have a coach. You would use them to, I have a mentor to make sure you're doing it all right. And that you can always keep on going back to that coach, if you ever find yourself in a situation that you don't know what to do, because you don't have enough experience yet. And then you're always optimizing your sales process, which is no different than what you're doing when you're making a transition, you're like, "What do I need to do differently? How do I make this more efficient? How do I make this make sense? What do I need to do to make it more scalable?" Beyond that though, the wisdom of the day, I think is, if it doesn't work, you can always go back.

Galem Girmay: Yes.

Darryl: There's a safety there.

Galem Girmay: So simple.

Darryl: I just love this, so simple.

Galem Girmay: So simple.

Darryl: Okay, we're done we're at out of time. In fact, we're overtime Galem. Way to go, you've made us late. Galem, what's the best way to get a hold of you?

Galem Girmay: The best way, this is the most simple question that you've asked me that I have a hardest time to answer. Obviously LinkedIn, please connect with me on LinkedIn? I just suck at replying to messages. My inbox is a hot mess, and so don't try to hit me up on in my inbox on LinkedIn, because I just suck at it. But instead my number is on my profile. I have people hit me up on WhatsApp, as long as you're not trying to sell me something the first time you reach out, I would appreciate it. Other than that, I'm on Instagram, I'm also on Twitter and all these places, you can find me under the same name, Galem Girmay.

Darryl: I'm looking at the contact information on LinkedIn right now and she's right, her number is there. And you're one of the few people, my number's there as well. And I'm always amazed, I have people say to me, "Well, I'm trying to reach you for a long time, but I don't have your number." I'm like, "Did you just go to LinkedIn, because it's literally public." So there you go.

Galem Girmay: Yes, it's right there.

Darryl: I love it. So that's Galem. Galem, she's my hero. She is brave, she's courageous, she is bold, she is sensitive and I'm a big fan of Galem. For those who have not heard her podcast, grab your tissues and grab an episode or two, you're going to love it. What is Your Legacy? And it's awesome. Galem, thank you for time today.

Galem Girmay: Thank you Darryl. And let's all start with listening to your episode, episode 30 on What Is Your Legacy? Check it out, I had people tweeting about you. This was an amazing episode, so there we go.

Darryl: I've had some of my staff listen to it and come back to me and some said nice things. And other is Galem, mocked me for being such a wuss, so way to go.

Galem Girmay: Send them my way, I'll take care of them.

Darryl: I will do that. You take a round in the ring with Galem, you're going to get bruised and beat up too. So there we go. Folks one more time, if you liked today's show thank you so much for listening. I was looking at the stats of the day, I think I shared this last episode. We've grown over 50% in 2021, and that's all because of you. I thank you for that as we look at the year end coming to a close, and if there's others who need to hear from amazing people like Galem Girmay, point on my way and the Inside, Inside Sales show, take care. We'll talk to you next week. Bye- bye.


What would happen if you made a career change and it turned out to be a mistake? Nothing earth-shattering – you could just go back to where you were before.

In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is joined by the brilliant Galem Girmay, Co-Founder at RevGenius and Revenue Enablement Manager at UserTesting, to talk about transitions in life and career. The two of them talk about the importance of getting a trade you can always fall back to, how to consciously plan for a transition, and how a mentor can help you get from point A to point B faster.

Subscribe now and learn how to avoid being derailed as you handle both planned and unexpected career transitions.

Today's Guests

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Galem Girmay

|Co-Founder, RevGenius