Career Lessons Too Many People Learn the Hard Way

Nobody successful goes through life hearing yes all of the time.

All too often we learn the biggest and most important lessons the hard way.

It took me getting laid off to remember that it is your connections and not your resume that get you the job you want. Or losing a friend to remember that it’s not just making the connections in life, but keeping up with them that’s important.

1.Stay true to yourself and understand what truly drives you.

Don’t get sucked into the “what’s good for the company” dogma. At the end of the day, you’re working for yourself and your family. I’m not saying that you need to not care or be apathetic towards your job or the company, but understand your core motivation and principles.

2.Make connections everywhere, not just in your department or company.

You never know how much longer you’ll be working where you are, or when you’ll need help. If you make genuine connections everywhere you go, you’ll always have a safety net there to help you out. Maybe even offer you a new and exciting opportunity.

3.Always look for ways to help others.

Don’t just work to get yourself ahead, work to pave the way for others. Like Ryan Holiday says in his book Ego is the Enemy, “Find canvases for other people to paint on. Be an anteambulo. Clear the path for the people above you and you will eventually create a path for yourself.”

4.Follow up is the key to everything.

Making connections and helping others doesn’t do much if you don’t follow up and keep up with them. Offer them something valuable, like an article you think they’ll like or an idea that could help them. You don’t want to spam them or use all of your time reaching out to others, but find the balance where they know who you are and think of you when something comes up.

5.Don’t fear failure and rejection.

Nobody who’s successful goes through life hearing yes all of the time. You have to get through a lot of no’s to get to a yes. Use the no’s to refine your idea or process until you get a yes. And then continue to refine it.

6.Be proactive.

Look for things others aren’t going to do, or don’t want to do. Bill Belichick got his start breaking down film during the week and made himself indispensable because he understood that he needed to put in the grunt work to eventually work his way up to the top.

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