Over the past 10 years of coaching (and 20 years in corporate management), a lot of key knowledge, information, and ideas pass over my desk. Candidly, most of it is a blur. But there are some ideas, certain quotes, and golden rules that tend to stay true and strong in my professional life (and my coaching). So I thought I would write them down and make a list to start off the week:
1. "If you want to be successful, you have to build a ladder rung by rung. There are no shortcuts."
There are a lot of people out there looking for a silver bullet. And there are a lot of people who promise instant success. My experience over the past 30 years — it takes hard work and a certain amount of time to build something that really matters and delivers true revenue.
2. "Don't waste your time on jealousy."
This is a big one — I can't tell you how many people I've run into in corporate and in the business world who thrive on cattiness and gossip. Although I totally understand competition to drive you and I, I don't understand how it evolves into its addictive cousin, jealousy. It will distract and poison your personality.
3. "Stop being the "YES" person."
You can't walk down the hall without running into one of these. As a peer, they are so easy to spot — they tend to manipulate their superiors by delivering whatever pablum is needed to sustain their vicious life-force. Unfortunately, as a boss, it's hard to differentiate between someone who actually believes in you and someone who is just shoveling more manure.
4. "No matter how bad a situation you are in, remember, it could have been worse."
I love this one. I want you to brand this in your brain the next time something dreadful happens. Instead of focusing on the negativity of the current situation you are in, take a few minutes and realize it probably could have been much worse. You'll find after doing this exercise, a lot of your guilt has washed away and you can now focus on the problem at hand (and fix it!).
5. "Surround yourself with the right people: staff, mentors, colleagues, etc. People make all the difference."
It's not what you know - it's who you know. Go out there and double your connections this year. People are currency in any marketplace.
6. "Don't believe everything you hear."
WOW. I can't tell you how many clients come to me every day with prognostications about the economy, their industry, their competitors, and so-called experts who spin fear to get you to buy their latest 'Sham-Wow'. Take everything with a grain of salt — think about it and really try to understand it — usually it's full of hooey.
7. "The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your arm."
Only YOU can change your situation. Yes, I know you should rely on outside help, friends, and colleagues to make things happen. But when the chips are down and you definitely need things to happen — it's always up to you to start the process.
8. "The way it's always been done isn't always the way to do it."
If I had a dollar for every time I heard, "That isn't the way we do things around here.", I would be living on a lush, tropical island. Corporate drones thrive on the absence of change — and your job (if you choose to accept it) is to prove them wrong. It's the only way everyone moves up and the company evolves.
9. "If everyone likes you, you're probably boring."
I love this one — my mother told me this a long time ago. If everyone likes you, you probably aren't rocking the boat, taking chances, and embracing risk in your life and relationships. Don't strive for the status quo, add a little pizzazz to everything you do and everyone you meet. You'll thank me (and my Mom).
10. "Work smarter, not longer."
If you work with me, this is Rich Gee's Golden Rule. And the funny thing, when I first say it to new clients, they think I'm crazy. They point me to #1 on this list and say "we have to work hard". I totally agree — you have to work hard and SMART. Figure out ways to streamline, delegate, and retire everything you do. Work on the important stuff and get rid of the fluff we like to consume our workday.
What other great pieces of advice guide your professional life?