“ONE THING” to Accelerate Your Career Forward
Research suggests that only 6% of people are working the dream job they had envisioned when they were younger. What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could dramatically catapult your current career forward? Here are ten world famous people who encountered tremendous obstacles but still rose to succeed admirably. What do they have in common that advances career success?
- Businessman Soichiro Honda failed in getting a job with Toyota. He then started his own company, selling piston rings. A bomb destroyed his plant in WWII as did an earthquake later. He made scooters at home and was spurred on by his friends. He succeeded, and today Honda sells motorcycles and cars worldwide.
- Geeky Bill Gates dropped out of college and failed in his first attempt in business with Paul Allen in a company called Traf-O-Data. Today Microsoft is one of the best known brands worldwide. Bill Gates is the richest man in the world.
- Sage Socrates was called “an immoral corrupter of youth” in his time. He had new ideas that challenged the thinking of his day. He was sentenced to death but he continued his teaching and ideals. Eventually he was forced to poison himself. Yet, he is considered one of the greatest philosophers of the classical era.
- TV star Oprah Winfrey lived in rural poverty and was raised on welfare. She was abused while growing up and, at the age of fourteen, had a premature child who died. As an evening news anchor in Baltimore, she was fired and considered “unfit for TV”. She became the first black woman to become a billionaire in world history.
- Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was considered awkward on the violin and often neglected to practice. His teachers felt he couldn’t compose and would never succeed. Yet he composed some of the best selling symphonies through history–and he created five while he was deaf!
- Author JK Rowlings lived on welfare while raising a child alone. She had little and became severely depressed. Twelve major publishers rejected her novel. Today, the Harry Potter series have sold over 450 million books and nearly $5B in movie sales. Eventually it made her one of the richest women in the world.
- Singer Katy Perry dropped out of high school to begin her career. Her first album was unsuccessful. Eventually three different labels dropped her. Today she has sold over 80 million single recordings, and 11 million albums. She has won every conceivable music award in the US.
- Basketball player Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Yet he rose to be considered the best players of all-time. He won 6 NBA titles and MVP awards. Jordan owns numerous honors, awards, and is well known worldwide.
- Actor Jim Carrey grew up in a low-income neighborhood. His father struggled to work steadily. Carey dropped out of school at 15 to work as a janitor to help his family. At his first comedy gig, he was booed off the stage. Saturday Night Live turned him down for a job. Today he’s one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood.
- Businessman Richard Branson has dyslexia. He was also arrested for breaking the law in his first venture. His next business had continual cash flow problems. He had a bitter court battle with British Airways and had to sell his music company to stay in business. Today his Virgin Group involves over 400 companies with over $15B in revenues.
What do they all have in common-the ONE THING?
When you research deeper into the people above and others with similar stories you discover one thing: resiliency. They all had failures and disappointments. Yet they didn’t quit. They may have had their bad moments but they bounced back. Resiliency is the one trait psychologists say that determines the quality of a person’s life. Without it, people who meet defeat never seem to move forward. Instead they tend to blame others or circumstances. They also hold grudges, lack direction, quit too soon, give little effort, short-change discipline and persistence, and don’t ask for or listen to advice. These qualities don’t produce career success and advancement.
Resiliency is a capacity for self-transformation and change. It’s not genetic; it’s learned. Resilient people recover relatively quickly from difficulties to try again and to live even more effectively. This ONE THING- tends to have five characteristics:
Self-awareness– They recognize their emotional responses and why it happens. In addition, they pay attention to the behavior of others it impacts.
- Internal focus of control– They take responsibility for their own actions. They know the importance and power of their own choices.
- Setbacks are a part of life-They realize that perfection and winning in everything is not the script for a fulfilling life. They seem to enjoy the process and seek the humor in it, too.
- Problem-solving skills-They have learned how to learn to deal with their challenges and to persevere.
- Social support structure-They have networks of people they depend on for help, hope, and guidance.
Resilient people cultivate an inner toughness to re-frame their circumstances. This activates successful living even when some of their goals or activities don’t work out. They aren’t devastated by failure; they learn from and are fueled by it. This is the ONE THING to accelerate your career forward.
Writer and poet Maya Angelou said these beautiful words that relate to resiliency: ” If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Winston Churchill added this wisdom:“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Want help to develop the ONE THING to accelerate your career? Read these books:
For employees: The Extraordinary Employee: A Roadmap for Success
For managers: Unparalleled Leadership: How to Achieve Extraordinary Success and Results as a Manager
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