Ashley Zandbergen – Grand Valley State University
My recruitment was a little unorthodox . I first heard about the Southwestern Advantage when my twin sister first participated. I thought she was crazy at first when she said she would be moving to Minnesota for the entire summer to sell books to families! Then, as she was telling me about it, I began to get excited. I was a business major and love people so I started wondering if it might be a good idea for ME to go do it, too.
When she returned after her first summer, I was the first person to sign up for the next summer, and I spent the rest of the fall semester getting to know the rest of the team. Training started in the spring and I was so excited to go out to Missouri for my first selling experience! I knew I was a hard worker and I had the drive to do something like this, but what made me nervous was that maybe, somehow, I would be an exception to the rule.
During sales school, I decided that I was not going to worry about immediate results, but I was going to commit to forming the habits that I knew it would take to be successful for the entire summer. I wasn’t going to give myself an option to be that exception. And it was a good thing I committed to that beforehand because my first 3 weeks were very slow in terms of the business I did. My roommate was blowing me away and I had friends back home asking me how I was doing and how much I was making every week. I didn’t want to tell them because I knew they would just laugh at me and say “I told you so!” Thankfully I had my sister coaching me every night reminding me that these were just the habit building weeks and it only gets better. While I was forming habits, I didn’t tell any friends back home how I was doing, I would just say, “I’m getting better.” That frustrated a few of them, but I’m glad I held myself to that commitment.
Sure enough, after a few weeks, things began to pick up and start to click. I was on a steady rise the rest of the summer and ended with about $18,000 profit and 14th in the company. My circumstances never got easier, but I formed the habits I needed in order to succeed. I cannot compare my experience of that first summer with any other internship or job I’ve ever seen. I grew so much, became more independent, became better at solving problems, kept a winning attitude, controlling my emotions, dealing with every sort of person, and learning to rely on God for the parts that I couldn’t control. I came back from the summer with a much different perspective on things and a renewed respect for every other student that had come out and gone through the same challenges, learning curves, and successes.