In the movie Field of Dreams (1989), a farmer hears a voice whisper, “If you build it, he will come.” He ends up building a baseball field on his farm, and a bunch of baseball players show up out of the blue at his field. Magical.
Real life is not so magical.
“If we build a great product, the people will come to buy it.” No, they won’t. You need to show them the product. “If I get a great degree, the companies will show up and hire me.” No, they won’t. You need to sell yourself as an employee.
No matter how great you are, you have to put yourself out there, and many times at that. Countless bestselling books were there—i.e., the book was written–but the publishers did not come. Why? Work is useless without someone selling it. That might mean sending the same book to fifty different publishers until someone takes it. (Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Work Week was rejected 27 times.)
Don’t be scared to be a salesperson.
I know, you don’t want to be sleazy, so don’t be. You don’t have to be full of shit to sell things. But you do have to put your product in front of your customer—or your resume in front of employers, or your personality in front of a potential partner. If you’re not selling, who do you expect to buy?