The Calm Before The Storm – Rodric Leerling

The Calm Before The Storm – Rodric Leerling

It’s hard to keep mum when you are about to sign off for a challenging and exciting new media sales project. These last days clearly were the calm before the storm.

As a freelance salesman I’ve learned the hard way you can’t control the winds, but you can adjust the sails, hence the sailboat principle – playing with the sails and looking for rippling spots on the water (btw, that’s why I don’t favor motorboats, it’s all too easy, and less adventurous).

While adjusting the sails, I’ve taken on sales projects that sometimes didn’t fit my profile and experience. It was just to get my business sailboat to the next windfall and make speed again, moving forward and focusing on new exciting spots on the horizon, be it a landmark or a buoy. The one about to sign off fits like hand in glove.

Each project I signed on to had captains who hired me for their external sales effort, working their sails, not taking over the helm. At the start, they all seemed to have a good sense of direction, their boat being afloat and making waves. But often after embarking, some would confuse me and raise warning flags telling me I’d better not get involved in their sailing course. And  after sailing for a while, you might even discover serious leaks in the boat. Others again suddenly changed direction or started using different sailing techniques and decided they didn’t need me any longer. Or, like at another project, I clearly sensed we were entering shallow waters and I decided to jump ship myself before it would ground.

Sailboats, sails and winds are great metaphors to explain how a salesman can experience his career, without giving away too much on what exactly happened. But believe me, I met many excellent captains whom I still admire for steering their ship with confidence and reaching their destination safely (and with a profit). It was an honor to be on board with them and every time we meet, we will exchange new tall sailing stories. Others have treated me lousy and dumped me in a port while they traveled on. And staying in the metaphor one more time – I even met captains who decided to abandon ship without telling me. Leaving me with unpaid bills.

Calm before the storm is useful for preparing your sails, checking navigational equipment and looking at the weather maps. Once the starting signal is raised, I’m ready to go out and compete. Watch this space for next updates!



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