Nobody has the truth about how to get ahead in business locked up in a little box. It’s not something your manager can pass around at the next highly anticipated team meeting. The truth about any topic is frequently elusive and usually subject to interpretation. And so it is with understanding how to grow and develop as a person, as a valuable resource, and as a teammate. No one else is responsible for charting your path forward and creating opportunities for you. Or, if you prefer wisdom from television, consider the Best Boss of You advertisement from National Car Rental, “Who better to be the boss of you, than me? I mean you. Us!”(1)
Unlike an 18-year-old who can get away with 58 bad habits and still catch a lucky break, your voyage through the challenging waters of the business world are best navigated with a purpose and a plan. Success in the modern world of business requires planning, clarity of mind and purpose, along with a healthy dose of self-confidence. Luck may play a role, but it’s better not to rely on it. “Luck in business is not just a roll of the dice that comes up in your favor. It’s more complicated than that,” say Thor Muller and Lane Becker, the co-founders of Get Satisfaction, an online customer community platform used by more than 65,000 companies. “Good luck is hard work.
But where to start? How can we change the roll of the luck-dice? Never fear, there’s no need to wonder the dessert for 40 days and 40 nights in search of brilliant insight or pithy witticisms. With only a little effort, a few simple disciplines and strategies will pave the way brighter than any yellow-brick road. And by the time you reach Oz, you’ll already know the key to corporate success. After all, when Dorothy found the man behind the curtain, the person everyone thought was the great and powerful wizard was simply an ordinary man, who was just able to perform some clever tricks.(3)
That’s not to say that no effort is required; quite the contrary. Fortunately, however, it becomes a function, at least metaphorically, of the principle of momentum. The amount of momentum that an object has is dependent upon two variables: how much stuff is moving and how fast the stuff is moving.(4) Consecutive, small efforts, compounded over time, gradually, but inexorably, accumulate into a giant, unstoppable snowball of personal development.
Personal success is, therefore, an iterative process. It’s not a one-and-done. It’s not even a two-and-done. In fact, for those that continue to achieve and excel, it’s a never-done. Incorporating thoughtful career and professional development activities and best practices into your routine from the start of your career reaps benefits both immediately and over the years. The key, like in so much of life, is start early and stay committed. It’s not a matter of feeding the world; it’s more like making a ham sandwich — the ingredients are easy to identify and readily available. All you have to do is remember to take them out of the refrigerator and use them before nature takes its course and they become moldy.
When it comes to personal and career development, somebody’s got to “just do it.” And nobody’s going to do it for you.
- National Car Rental — Best Boss of You, https://vimeo.com/134140007
- Good Luck in Business is Hard Work, https://www.foxbusiness.com/features/good-luck-in-business-is-hard-work
- The Wizard of Oz: A Man Behind the American Dream, http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/10/the-wizard-of-oz-a-man-behind-the-american-dre
- Momentum — Physics, http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/momentum/Lesson-1/Momentum
This post was previously published on ILLUMINATION.
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