Insights on Relationships: Paying your Dues

AS I STARTED OUT  in the working world, several mentors of mine told me that “…in order to succeed, you need to ‘pay your dues’.” Back then, I contemplated what paying your dues meant: working hard for many years; doing things right the first time; learning from your mistakes. I wasn’t sure if paying my dues was one thing, or many things. However, even at that early age, I understood that whatever it meant, it would not be easy.

Looking back, I believe that I have learned what “paying your dues” means, and it’s definitely not one thing. The complex answer can be found in all of the relationships that I have developed in my professional life. Paying your dues includes keeping your commitments, being honest, remaining loyal, sharing your knowledge, and above all, listening to others. This last one, listening to others, may be the foundation for all of them. If I hadn’t listened to my mentors, perhaps I would have missed the development I went through, while I paid my dues. In the same way, if I hadn’t listened to my customers over the years, I wouldn’t have earned their loyalty.

Now, as I look at what makes a person successful, I agree that you need to “pay your dues.”  You have to put the time into developing yourself and developing the relationships with those around you. To the young people that turn to me for advice, I would add, “have fun doing it.” When you have fun along the way, by meeting and developing relationships with people, you will find it to be the most enjoyable and rewarding part of
your career.

Written by Steve Waletzko, Director of Sales

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