Career Success Rule #22

Career Success Rule #22All successful people are outstanding performers. It’s the price of admission to the success club. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that performance alone will get you where you want to go. Performance is but one of the five characteristics of successful people. Performance is important, but it alone will not guarantee your success.

There are several common sense points associated with outstanding performance. Outstanding performance is critical to career and life success. You can’t succeed if you’re not an outstanding performer. You need to do three things to become an outstanding performer. First, become a lifelong learner. Keep learning and growing. You will be surprised at how much there is to learn about business and life. Second, set high goals – and then meet or exceed them. Use milestones to breaking your goals into manageable chunks. They’ll be easier to achieve this way. Third, get organized. This will help you manage your life, time and stress. Figure out an organizing system that works for you and stick with it.

Louis Pasteur was the inventor of the pasteurization process and is considered to be the father of modern microbiology. I really like what he has to say about tenacity and high performance: “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

Here’s a story about a tenacious person who is very close to me. My wife, Cathy, is a volunteer reading tutor at one of Denver’s public schools. She’s been doing this for several years now. She enjoys the children, and she feels that she is making a difference through her volunteer work.

As August turns into September, she always gets excited about another school year and another group of kids. This past year, the school where she volunteers lost its Volunteer Program Coordinator, so they were a little slow getting volunteer assignments done.

This didn’t stop Cathy. She made a few phone calls to the school asking when they wanted her to begin. She got some vague promises but nothing definite. Finally, she went to the school and basically arranged her own assignment. As usual, she loved the kids and was happy to be back at “her school.”

The point of the Pasteur quote and Cathy’s tenacity in her volunteer work is simple. Outstanding performers are tenacious in pursuing their goals. They do what it takes to be successful. In Cathy’s case, it took driving to the school and being willing to seem like a bit of a pain in the butt to an administrator. However, she was willing to do that because her desire to succeed as a reading volunteer was strong. The third graders with whom she reads are better off for it.

The Dali Lama has some interesting things to say about outstanding performance and hard work. “ One can be deceived by three types of laziness: the laziness of indolence, which is the wish to procrastinate; the laziness of inferiority, which is doubting your capabilities; and the laziness that is attached to negative actions, or putting great effort into non-virtue.”

This quote drives home an important point about personal responsibility and outstanding performance. The Dalai Lama doesn’t let us off the hook by saying, “I didn’t think I could do it.” Instead, he says that doubting our abilities is a form of laziness. That’s some tough love!

And he is right. All too often, we let ourselves off the hook by saying, “I’m not going to try that, because I don’t think I can do it.” This is being lazy.

“I can’t do it, so I won’t even try.” As I read these words out loud, they sound pretty lame. Agree? If you do, you’ll stop using lack of self confidence as an excuse for not doing the work it takes to become an outstanding performer.

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