#004: Is disappointing the people you love most an inevitable part of sales?

Aug 16, 2023

Every successful salesperson will eventually face this question in their career: is the impact that my job is having on my personal relationships worth the pay check?


How you respond to this question can change the entire trajectory of your life. 

In this post I will share some experiences about disappointing the people I cared most about in the pursuit of more sales. 


Misaligned priorities


There are 2 stories I’ll share, both of which occurred within a 3 month period. If you’re in sales, see if you can relate:


Relationship 1: Romantic

It hit me like a ton of bricks. My job had been forcing its way between my partner and I for some time. When the following words came out of his mouth I knew I was up shit creek:

‘Alana, since you started this job our relationship has stopped growing. I feel like we’re in the exact same spot we were over a year ago.’

He called me out. Straight to my face. And it was exactly what I needed to hear. 

I had always assumed the relationship would be fine. Not once had I taken the time to truly appreciate the impact that my relationship with work had been having on the relationship I valued the most.


Relationship 2: Parents

It was my Mother’s 60th birthday. Her and my Dad flew into New Zealand (where I was living at the time) from Australia for a long weekend to celebrate. 

I met my parents for lunch on the day they were due to fly home to say goodbye. We’d had a lovely few days but I had gone back to work that morning and I was in the thick of the sales grind again. 

I remember this distinct moment during the meal. I had looked down at the food I was apparently eating before glancing up at my Mother who was mid-sentence. I realized I had not been listening to a single word she was saying. I was so engrossed in work and all that I had to do when I returned that I could not switch off for an hour to enjoy my parents’ company. 

The realization crushed me. 


When you can’t help but continually disappoint people


Becoming and staying successful in sales requires more effort than the average job. It requires  significant mental, physical and emotional sacrifices. 

If you’re not fully prepared for this, you are setting yourself up to disappoint many people in your life. Honestly, I don’t think this is avoidable. The nature of sales lends itself to prioritizing work above all else. The more you work, the more sales you make. The more sales you make, the more you’re rewarded and validated. Your job is essentially on the line every month. 

Under these circumstances, often the best you can do is manage the disappointment and minimize the long term damage. 

For me it wasn’t just disappointment. I’d experience shame and guilt on a weekly, if not daily, basis. There was the guilt from having to change date night plans again. There was the shame from always putting work first and expecting my partner to accept that. The shame from caring more about my results at work than his feelings. I felt more of an obligation to my clients than I did my own life partner.

The upsides to disappointing people


Here’s the annoying part: my addiction to work and chasing more sales financially benefited my partner and I. In a way, this is how I justified it to myself. 

There was also the feeling of accomplishment. I achieved more than I ever thought possible in sales. I had some insane experiences that can’t be bought. What that did for my confidence and the inspiration it gave me for what could be possible in my career cannot go unnoticed. 

But it reached a point where I could no longer pretend it was about the money. I could no longer convince myself that the accomplishments were worth it. I was simply addicted and didn’t know how to stop. 


What about you?


If you can relate to anything I’ve written so far, I have 5 questions for you to ponder. I don’t have kids but I imagine that if you do, your answers to these questions might be even more gut-punching. 

  1. What are my 3 most important personal relationships?
  2. Where will these relationships be in 6 months time if I keep working like this?
  3. What am I currently missing out on in these relationships?
  4. What are the benefits to me working like this?
  5. Am I willing to put these relationships on the line for this job?

There is no right or wrong here. If you do care more about your job than some of your relationships, that might give you a strong indication that you need to find and create better ones.


In summary


In a career like sales, the strength and quality of your relationships will be put to the test. If you value these relationships it is important to consider the long term impacts that your relationship with work is having. 

I never thought I would be someone to leave a job for my partner but when I realized that no job was worth losing that relationship, the decision was a no-brainer. 




Taking extended and intentionally designed breaks from work is what I specialize in. If you know this is what you want but don’t know where to start, you can book a free discovery call with me using this link

Alana Kilmartin




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