Mary started working as a financial planner and insurance saleswoman right after New Year’s Day three years ago. By the end of her first year, the bright twenty-five-year-old had earned $60,000 in commissions. During Year Two, she took home $140,000. And this New Year’s Eve, she and her new husband will join her company’s CEO and her top-producing peers in Orlando for a four-day, all-expenses-paid conference that includes plenty of time to enjoy the theme parks, soak up the sunshine, and revel in the $190,000 paycheck she has earned after just three years in a job she started with absolutely no experience in sales.

Her goal for Year Four: $250,000. Her chances of succeeding: enormous. Her strategy: self-motivation, hard work, and ...

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