Finding Community: One Key for Wellbeing in Sales

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Nowadays we are much more vocal about mental health and wellbeing, which is super encouraging to see.  There are pronounced (and well-documented) struggles in the sales community related to wellness in general, but specifically mental health. People are being a lot more transparent, and companies are more focused on it than ever before it seems.

The pandemic highlighted a lot of the struggles that already existed, revealing much of the hidden stress and overwhelm that sales reps were already feeling. At that point, it was difficult to escape the reality of what was happening internally and mentally during various degrees of lockdown. Sales professionals had lots of time to sit with themselves, recognizing more clearly just how affected we were. What also became clearer was the necessity of transparent acknowledgment of this truth, in the context of the work we do.

None of this should come as a surprise, given the stress accompanying things like the economic environment, and the pressing urgency around KPIs and quota attainment. Research by showed 67% of surveyed sales reps as being close to experiencing burnout, and this was pre-pandemic. In addition, nearly half of HR leaders say employee burnout is responsible for up to 50% of annual turnover.

There are a number of paths one can take to find real help under these circumstances.  Finding community has been a pivotal step for my own wellbeing and mental health, without question. A community where it’s safe to share authentic truth without judgment, knowing you’ll receive real feedback and guidance, can be life-changing. Community can extend from personal life to professional life, depending on the struggles you’re dealing with.

Community Can Help

In a communal context there can be truth-tellers like unflinching friends, who don’t find your reality unpalatable. Psychological safety built among friends, colleagues, and associates allows you to be honest—not so they can coddle, but to let you know you are heard, seen, and understood.  That such coddling is not the end goal of authentic community can’t be overstated.

In a community, there is a sense though, that we all have challenges and struggles. Ideas for healthy ways to address them, shared stories from similar experiences, listening ears to give voice to how things truly are, encouragement and inspiration can be found there.

I’ve found it impactful to have encouragement from voices outside my own. Many times, I’ve been guided toward other potential ways to move forward, including owning my contribution to a current obstacle.

It’s not about dwelling on struggles, but rather acknowledging the reality of their existence. When someone in the community shares the truth about how they experience you, it can be a great way to learn, grow and change in a safe environment. It could be as simple as them confirming that you’re not alone in this or helping to debunk negative self-talk.

Then it’s about finding a way forward together, perhaps gaining a new perspective, a skill or just being heard—whatever it might be. During other times, it’ll be you serving as  those very things for others.

How to Find Community

Finding or building community is not always easy. Connecting with people who you can grow trust with takes time and intention. One place to start is by recognizing moments when you encounter or exhibit transparency in spaces you already find yourself. These might include:

  • Your gym 

  • A community like Sales for the Culture

  • Pavilion, formerly Revenue Collective

  • Close family & friends

  • Various Learning & Development Cohorts

Leading with transparency can often create an environment that fosters more of the same from others. Of course, it can be tough to be vulnerable, and that’s understandable. It can feel risky to start. If you’re apprehensive, it may help to observe communal customs and look for opportunities to share candidly.


Sharing openly can give space for you to feel supported, heard, felt, or seen. It’s like “dipping your toe in the water” at times, right? There’s no expectation to “dive right in,” and I hope that’s relieving for those who have been reticent to share where they’re challenged or need help.

Being anything less than who you are can be constraining,  and it’s exhausting. I’ve experienced this stress of the hidden self, and its effect on my wellbeing. Many others have as well, and I’ve been strengthened by their courage to share.

We’re not defined by our challenges. This identifies others who have either wanted to say that, have been saying that, or are thankful that you said that to embolden them over time.

Where to Find Community at Work

Finding community at work is similar. Within some organizations there are micro communities like Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) consisting of employees who share a common characteristic or interest. But it doesn’t need to be a formally established community.

Your community in life or at work can consist of people you know you can be authentic, transparent, and honest with who will be the same with you in return. This can be a coworker, manager, or anyone else in your workplace. Ideally, you find yourself working at a company that supports a culture that acknowledges these challenges and focuses on the wellbeing of everyone within the sales organization.

This level of authenticity means the freedom to share truth, even if it’s hard or not particularly pretty. For example, if someone asks how you are, it’s okay to say that you’re having a tough week, or that you feel overwhelmed, instead of holding back on these very normal truths. Acknowledging these truths creates a relational connection that brings people together since we are all human. It’s healthy to pause, ask that question sincerely, and respond with empathy.

Sales Leadership CAN Help

Sales leadership can be part of the solution by making people the priority over sales metrics and measurements.  When we serve, care, show grace and acknowledge, it encourages the right behaviors. Those lead to better attainment compared to managing through guilt and fear. Showing a greater level of support is a long-term solution, helping employees flourish, and retaining sales talent by mitigating aspects of their stress.

There are two ways that leadership can help support their team’s wellbeing:

  • Empathetically coaching and guiding reps to talk about challenges, and listening to understand.

  • Training to build skills, enablement and development can help build confidence in role, and decrease stress related to the ever-evolving sales environment.

In Closing

I’m excited that the topic of wellbeing in sales is increasingly being championed. Organizations are deprioritizing the pursuit of profit over the pursuit of people and their wholeness. We who are in sales are often driven by achieving success by hitting or exceeding metrics. Leaders need to show empathy, compassion, and support to help their teams prioritize wellbeing.  In doing so,  the leaders and their organizations will be better able to reach their goals too. Far from being counterproductive, focus on mental health and wellbeing in sales is complementary to favorable business outcomes.

Give your team the support they need.  Learn more about the thriving sales community with Sales Impact Academy.