In reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, I came across this much articulated word – Jungle Gym. It is the unexpected transition; an anticipation; innovation; disruption; a kind of quest for being different; a stress-fully packed journey that leads to (or facilitates) disruptive results. And how apt it is both for describing career and sales!


Consider following a linear career path – say, starting as an Account executive in a PR agency and then becoming an account manager or a marketing manager for a fortune 500 company – or consider following some kind of a creative exploration (a Jungle Gym) – say, starting as an Account executive, and becoming a business development manager for an architecture company. Well that is what I am talking about.

Gone are the days when you are a conventionalist and don’t want to disrupt your status-quo and staying in some kind of comfort zone – without being triggered by how people are transitioning to a more ‘unconventional’ convention of being themselves over a drudgery filled  ‘jobosphere’ and non-creative – and ineffective – sales strategies. The common metaphor for career as a ladder no longer applies for the workers in today’s day and age. The reason I like the metaphor ‘Jungle Gym’ in this book is because, for women (especially), the ability to navigate some detours, deadlines or new accelerations provides them a better chance of contentment. Versus a metaphorical career ladder, where you are just constricted to moving either up or down – and that’s it!

Think of sales for a minute: moving laterally is the rule of the game today, if you want to be a good salesperson. Or wait- let me just change this term into a  ‘problem solver’. So how do you solve a problem? Hoe creative can you get in solving that problem? Only by looking into decision makers’ profiles on LinkedIn and following them on Twitter? Or you go a step further and understand what stage of sales cycle is the buyer into – and how much more informed you need to have, to be able to decipher buyer’s apprehensions, status-quo and information consumption? Merely picking up the phone and having a compelling voice with some snippets of information to bowl over the prospect – though effective in some cases – is plain convention we have been following unconsciously even today. Despite of knowing how bozo we sound, we still kind of don’t do the hard work, true?

Now just think a little differently – like a Jungle Gym – where you creative potential is unlocked by, say, by setting informational interview with a Gate Keeper or a potential vendor or maybe an employee who is working for the company where you are planning to deliver your much prepared ‘sales pitch’. You need to be a Jungle Gym today, to be able to pick the not so associative cues from your environment and plug them into a new, creative sales pitch, and have an insight-packed conversation, which serves the bigger picture of your business goals – goals that unleash the dissonance of disparate cues – both for your career and sales targets –and weave them into a compelling story that connects from the get-go. Now some of you may not just write goals, thinking specificity does not always yield results. So I have good news for you, you can always have a vague goal  that can provide you with enough gusto, creativity, and a direction to move toward! The only goal is not to be goal’less’ – be it specific or vague.

If you have read my post on how being disruptive can make you successful, this is an extension of my insistent belief of being ‘you’ in this competitive Jungle Gym, to be different and stand out from the competition.

So my earnest piece of advice: let the muse flow. Don’t fret from where the utter cogitation is emanating from; believe in connecting the dots – and you will see the learning pattern and creative juices flowing in your mind from places and spaces you never knew existed!

Think different; fail; fail more; learn faster; and succeed in this Jungle Gym!