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Keenan The Sales Guy, and author of Not Taught: What It Takes to be Successful in the 21st Century that Nobody’s Teaching You, put out a challenge to his followers to give genuine thanks to the person who helped them most in 2016.

You can read about it here.

It feels good to receive help and inspiration, but it feels even better to give thanks. So, thank you, Keenan, for reminding us that to be true to ourselves we must look outside ourselves.

Although my Thank You list is long this year, including my family, mother and countless associates, narrowing it down to one person is easy.

Who had the greatest impact on your year?

Bestselling author, Jill Konrath.

What did this person help you accomplish or achieve in 2016?

I’m not usually giddy about meeting people, but if you had asked me sixteen months ago if I could meet anyone, dead or alive, who it would be, I’d have said Michelle Obama, Stephen King, and Jill Konrath. We met at the National Speakers Association conference in 2016. Two hours passed and we found ourselves drinking wine, laughing hysterically, and planning our next rendezvous.

Then… she royally kicked my butt.

She challenged me to, “Write a real book instead of a giveaway at the end of a poorly attended conference.” Yikes.

She made me:

  • Think bigger
  • Write mo’ better
  • Add research-based facts to my touchy-feely stories
  • Fire the so-called experts
  • Make nice with the big dogs
  • Make nicer with the mean dogs

The result? My book, Heart and Sell: 10 Universal Truths Every Salesperson Needs to Know, has pre-sold thousands of copies and is set for release February 20, 2017.

Why was this accomplishment so important to you?

Though my company, Levitin Group, has boosted the revenues of thousands of sales professionals and companies worldwide, our impact has been limited to two primary verticals. I knew my message would resonate outside my niche, but I needed a platform and a strategy to do it. Jill, a giant in her field, generously gave me both and propelled me into a larger universe.

What did that person do to help you accomplish that goal?

Jill’s spirit of generosity, combined with her tough love, gave new meaning to the phrase, “there’s enough to go around.” She’s truly in the game to pay it forward and help others grow. In doing so, she put me in touch with my greater purpose for writing my book—a book centered around heart and authenticity.

How did that person’s support make a difference?

She got me to work harder and more methodically. She urged me to reach out to other industry leaders. She taught me to pay it forward and trust others. I revised my proposal 27 times until I got published with a traditional publishing house. Thanks to her support, I wrote a book that I’m truly proud of.

Why are you so thankful for that support?

Many people give advice; Jill opened her heart. By emulating that generosity of spirit, I’m a better person today. Plus, I don’t feel guilty taking time off to rock climb with my boys, practice yoga mid-day, and buy lots of shoes.

How is your world different today?

I’m working with thought leaders, writers, and speakers who stimulate and challenge me. Jill also introduced me to a group of powerful #WomenSalesPros who dance in the park for no reason. I found my tribe, and my life is fuller.

What do you want to say to that person, that you haven’t already told them?

Thank you, Jill, for being who you are. Thank you for loving red wine as much as I do. And mostly, thank you for helping me realize that I too have enough, and am enough.

Please help keep #helpedme2016 going by sharing who had the most impact in your life in 2016. Comment below with who and why and share online using hashtag #helpedme2016


  • Keenan says:

    Awesome post Shari. I’m gonna read your book, ’cause you’re a bad ass writer. Loved reading this. Well played sister!

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thanks Keenan! I really enjoyed answering the questions. What a great idea you had by starting with your post.

  • Joanie says:

    Thanks for this post Shari and for sharing some vulnerability; so powerful and inspiring! I love hearing the advice Jill Konrath gave you and the challenge from Jim Keenan!

  • Shari Levitin says:

    Thanks Joanie. I appreciate that feedback. It feels great to give gratitude for the people in my life.

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