Paul Arden's book It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be has been defined as a pocket guide to making the most of yourself, the unthinkable thinkable and the impossible possible. Maybe a book cannot do all that by itself. It did spark a few thoughts.
Taking a second glance at the concise paperback I felt inspired to flesh out some principles that have guided me in my career:
- I do it for me - absolutely, unequivocally. Whatever your career goals, they should be your choice and yours alone. How good do you want to be? I would wager that many of us often think we are better than we are. But that is another conversation. We all want to be good, in fact many of us want to be great. Alas not many are prepared to do what it takes, to make the sacrifices required to go from good to great.
- Energy is a large part of it - call it what you will; passion, boundless enthusiasm, positive attitude. This is the vibe we give off when we feel anything is possible. We're in the flow, we dare to imagine and then we actually go ahead and take steps to get there. Energy is also believing in yourself, always.
- The right opportunity is the one in front of me right now - how many of us have been caught thinking or saying, if only (fill the gap here with your favorite opportunity/dream/situation/job) happened, then I could really shine. We are often waiting for the perfect moment, looking for the perfect job. There isn't a perfect job description out there, it is inside us, right now. We all have the opportunity to create our ideal job out of what is on our desk today, this moment, this project.
- Be interested, it beats trying to be interesting - and you can learn something, or a lot, in the process. The job interview is not the only type of interview we go to. We interview all the time. Sometimes we think of it as networking, sometimes we call it having an informational talk. Every time we try to put cleverness in front of communication, we lose. The substance resides in making a connection -- and that is more likely to happen when we are leaning in, engaged in the conversation, listening and processing what we hear.
- If you get stuck, draw with a different pen - this makes me think of the excellent advise I received a long time ago from a friend. If what you're doing is not working, don't do more of it, do something else instead. There are too many war stories to tell here. Suffice it to say that I have found jobs marketing myself with a brochure instead of a professional biography. Wouldn't word-of-mouth marketing be very much like networking? Change your tools, it may free your thinking and open up your mind.
How do you know when you're connecting with someone? A good indication is usually that if you are thinking you like them and you're enjoying the conversation, then generally they are reciprocating.