New year. New theme. New goal. There’s nothing like a sales kick off to get your juices flowing. With company swag in hand (thanks Marketing department!), both the Sales and Services teams cozied up for a day full of inspiration, laughter and unity.

Walking in the door, the theme was immediate: GRIT. Now, as a company headquartered in the southeast, a few comics in the crowd feigned confusion. Comments such as “When I first heard ‘GRIT’, my mouth started to water, thinking of breakfast…” definitely made for a few laughs, but the theme was not lost.

Grit can be defined as courage and resolve, or strength of character. With a plethora of synonyms such as pluck, spirit, nerve and tenacity, it was instantly understood why the Sales Advisory Council landed on this theme.

Stories of GRIT were shared throughout the day: the relentless effort to become an Army Ranger, descriptions of sleeping on the sofa and challenging a marriage during the early days of founding a company, the drive to execute one’s job duties while fighting cancer and not letting it win, and the unforgettable story of the Medal of Honor recipient who went above and beyond to ensure he never once let his teammates down. It was clear that the theme was much more than the popular southern breakfast item, grit – each and every story boiled down to passion and persistence.

And passion and persistence pay off. During the course of the day, individuals were recognized for their achievements over the past year. The President’s Club crew represents the grittiest of gritty sales folks on the floor — they brought endurance and pluck day in and day out to get to the top.

But it is a team effort after all, right?

Others were voted World Wide Sales Support MVPs by their peers and colleagues. The big takeaway of the day was simple but true: It takes individual effort from everyone to achieve the goals at hand. The more undeniable the effort, the more undeniable the success.

In the Sales and Services departments grit is something you MUST have. Grit is what makes you pick up the phone one more time. Grit is what makes you exhaust all options to satisfy a customer. Grit is the backbone of this organization. Through ups and downs, we must power through. As guest speaker Mike Thorton said, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.” We must listen to that mantra and come together as a team to achieve our goals and overcome our obstacles. With passion and persistence, we will persevere.