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Who is blocking you from success?

Capital Y. O. U!

You are blocking yourself from success.

Before I tell you why you are the person blocking yourself from success, let me give you a guidepost when taking advice from anyone — even me.

Never trust someone that is telling you to do something they won’t or don’t do.

How does this relate to the question at hand, well if you are taking advice from anyone about being successful make sure that the person you are asking is. First and foremost, ask the person to define success as it relates to them. (If you know them, you will know if they are defining it accurately and if they are actually living that definition. If you don’t know them, then why are you asking them? )

If you feel comfortable that the person you are seeking advice from is indeed successful, then ask them how they became successful. Their definition of and their journey to becoming successful is likely to include:

1. Doing a job that makes them happy,

2. Having a career that they are passionate about,

3. Having a happy family,

4. Something they consider fun,

5. Serving their purpose, etc.


Whatever, they say will generally include a fire and burning need to do what they are doing. Sure there are more components of success, but I want to focus on this one – the fire. I want to focus here, because this is what you more than anyone has the answer to. Why? Well, only you know what is the burning need or desire inside of you.

If you can identify this need you have already started your journey to success. Beyond that, you have to do something to help you live that desire. And just because you wanted to be an NBA player , for example, and you aren’t doesn’t mean you aren’t successful. Maybe you play in a YMCA league in your hometown. Maybe you coach a high school team. Success is up to you. You define what it is.

People aren’t successful generally because they are letting someone else define success for them whether they are doing this consciously or not. Who might be defining success for them could be a number of things. Society. Your wife or your husband. Your girlfriend or boyfriend. Your mother or father. Your ego versus your soul or your heart. Whatever it may be, if you did not define success for yourself; it may be impossible to ever achieve that definition and if you do achieve that definition: is it really success? or just a goal attained?

In closing, success makes you feel a certain way –– good. Gosh darnit, if you are really serious about the idea of success and you are able to manifest that idea, success might feel a little bit like bliss. So, tell me: What is your definition of success? Are you successful (as per your definition)? If you can honestly answer no or a half-yes/half-no, then QUICK think of 3 things you can do to achieve success. I promise you will find that changing the way YOU think may be a big part of the solution.

Godspeed!

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Click the link below to see more useful tips on success from Richard St. John at the TED conference. http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_st_john_s_8_secrets_of_success.html


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So you want a raise in a tough job market?: 5 Tips for Making Your Case

You Get A Raise

1. Get to the point. Always find ways to say what needs to be said “simpler, better, faster.” This does a few things: it shows you are able to digest information and make sense of it quickly; it shows you are listening; and it shows that you are efficiency minded. The boss will think of your agile, crisp reports as your signature style and brand; and as Martha Stewart would say “that is a very good thing.”

2. Be innovative. Make sure you come to work with a clear head. If you have less distractions than others, you have more capacity to think abou the issues at hand as well as the issues that could plague the company in the future. Those that help companies stave off issues in the future — and particularly if you can codify that in terms of cost savings, ROI, or a reduction in COGS — you pay for yourself as a resource a few times over.

3. Predict the future. Take some time to think about what your boss needs done and do it. Of course, do this within reason. Take care of extraneous tasks quickly. However, for bigger initiatives or strategy, scope out your ideas and show your boss a strawman outline. Even if she says “David, I don’t have time to address that right now but good on you for taking the lead on this. I appreciate your initiative.” You will likely be congratulated for being forward-leaning at a minimum and in the best case scenario, you will likely be given the lead on the initiative and will be able to receive a big portion of the credit for the outcome.

4. Do more with less. With such an emphasis on overhead and cost reduction initiatives, employers are looking for people that are resourceful. Over and above just saving the company money, it is similarly as helpful to find ways to make the most of the resources a company currently has. This is where being and thinking “green,” for example, comes into the fore and becomes more than a machination of political wonks and academics. Being green saves green.

5. Spell it out. As a leadership coach, my job at the end of an engagement often consists of putting together a summary of targets met and overall achievements (also known as a “brag book”). What did you do to warrant merit? So, if you have done the aforementioned steps 1-4, you should have a record of all of the cogs, efficiency measures, KPIs that show increases in sales, velocity, churn, etc. Data is king in this instance. If you have substantive proof of how you created value, particularly if this exceeds average output; you will have more than made the case for your employer. Some perceptive employers may even say “Natalie, looks like someone deserves a raise.” If they don’t, and you feel some good will in the air, it may be worth brokering the conversation without the prompting of your boss.

In short, know your worth. Know what value-add you are bringing. Be able to tell the story clearly with data and a strong narrative. If you think you can do this yourself but want to increase your chances of getting what you want, a good coach can help you in your efforts. I have personally supported my clients in this regard, and we secured not only a raise but a promotion in many cases. So there you have it; 5 tips for making your case for a raise. Go for it! Good luck in your efforts !

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For more information on compiling your brag sheet and other offerings that could help give you that extra edge, contact Patrick Parks at patrickparks02@post.harvard.edu