I was in a discussion the other day about my former life, the one in which I sold commercial time on radio and TV stations.
"So you sold air! You were really selling nothing."
"Yes, that is true. I sold an intangible, something you were unable to hold in your hand unless someone dubbed a copy of the spot onto a tape."
"You should think about working for a hedge fund. You'd be good. It's really selling nothing. You should move to Greenwich and work with us."
After I stopped laughing I told him thank you, but I didn't think so. For starters, while Greenwich sounds nice for a country home, it is not a place I could thrive seven days a week. But more importantly I could never work in a business like that. Not now. Maybe once upon a time when I was still head over heels enamored with corporate life. But not now.
Being a finance guy a simple no thank you wasn't going to do. He needed the why.
That was easy. Yes, I knew if I could sell country music in Philadelphia in the eighties when country in the Northeast was far from cool, I could sell ice to the Eskimos, but my days of convincing myself all that is real and good about my product are over. I am now only able to sell that which I have true passion for. Like my writing. My coaching services. Maybe something else. But certainly not selling risks especially when the bet is on a company doing poorly.
Basically I told him I had too much integrity to sell something I didn't believe in.
But how many of us do?
How many of us sell out? For no other reason than the money?
How many of us are such good actors that we convince ourselves of the value in our goods or services, whether or not it is really there?
And how many of us are lucky enough or brave enough or courageous enough to sell, ourselves or our product from a place of integrity and truth?