I was a book giver on World Book Night this year. I got a little publicity out of it. The Denver post did both a print and on line article about the event and my participation. You can see it at http://blogs.denverpost.com/artmosphere/
I gave away a great book, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I liked The Book Thief so much, I searched for Markus Zusak on Amazon.com and downloaded another one of his books, The Messenger, to my Kindle. Toward the end of The Messenger, I found some inspiration for today’s career advice post.
The protagonist in The Messenger is guy named Ed. He’s a 19 year old slacker. He drives a cab because he doesn’t know what else to do. One day, he unwittingly foils a bank robbery. He gets his name in the paper for his efforts. Then he starts getting playing cards in the mail.
These cards contain cryptic messages he must decode. After he decodes the messages, it becomes clear to him that he is being asked to do something. He completes all 12 of the tasks he is given – with some difficulty. At the end of the book, he comes to a realization…
“If a guy like you can stand up and do what you did, then maybe everyone can. Maybe everyone can live beyond what they’re capable of.”
In other words, the tasks were put before him to help him rise above himself – to be more than a 19 year old slacker cab driver. The last line of the book is “I wasn’t the messenger. I was the message.” And the message is that we all can accomplish great things — if we believe in ourselves and work hard.
When we meet Ed at the beginning of the novel he has no self-confidence and no prospects. By the end, he is still driving cab but he realizes he can do more – if he believes in himself and works hard.
Self-confidence is an important key to your career success. I devote an entire section of my latest career advice book Climbing the Corporate Ladder to it. It merits 20 tweets in another of my career advice books, Success Tweets.
If you want to become self-confident, you need to do three things. First, become an optimist. Learn from and then forget yesterday’s mistakes. Focus on tomorrow’s achievements. Second, face your fears and take action. Action cures fear. Procrastination and inaction compound it. Failure is rarely fatal. Do something, anything that will move you closer to achieving your goals. Third, surround yourself with positive people. Build a network of supportive friends. Jettison the negative people in your life. Fourth, find a mentor to help build your confidence and guide you along the way. Fifth, mentor others. It is never too early to share what you know. Mentoring others will build your self-confidence.
When you couple self-confidence with a willingness to work hard and take personal responsibility for your life and career success. If you want to succeed, you must take personal responsibility for your success. Only you can make you a success. You need to be willing to do the things necessary to succeed. This is one of the lessons in The Messenger. Second, you must set high goals – and then do whatever it takes to achieve them. Third, stuff happens: as you go through life you will encounter many problems and setbacks. You need to react positively to the negative stuff and move forward toward your goals.
I live in Denver; the weather here is very changeable. On December 21, 2009, the first day of winter, we had 60-degree weather. That night, the weather announcer on TV reminded us that we had snow on the last day of summer.
This got me thinking about the unpredictability of life. As I frequently say, as you go through life, stuff will happen – good stuff, bad stuff, happy stuff, sad stuff, encouraging stuff, and frustrating stuff. However, it’s not that stuff that happens that’s important, it’s how you react to it. You can’t control the people and events in your life. You can control how you react to the people and events in your life.
I choose to react positively to the people and events in my life – especially the bad stuff, sad stuff and frustrating stuff that happens to me. And I urge you to do the same if you want to create the successful life and career that you want and deserve.
I know this isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s seldom easy. But the harder you find it to react positively to negative people and events, the more important it is for you to do so. Don’t blame people or circumstances when things go wrong. Instead, choose to learn the lesson behind every lesson and successful relationship or event.
When you look for the lesson behind problems, setbacks and failures, you are taking responsibility for your life and career. Find the lessons in the bad stuff that happens and then do something to put those lessons to work. Edison said that he never failed when it came to figuring out how to make a light bulb: he just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work. Adopt his optimistic spirit. Commit to taking responsibility for yourself, your life and your career. Put yourself in the driver’s seat. Don’t let events and people stop you from achieving your goals. Be persistent.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the famous quote on persistence by Calvin Coolidge…
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
The career success coach point here is simple common sense. If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, you need to build your self-confidence and commit to taking personal responsibility for your life and career. Only you can make you a success. You have to take personal responsibility for creating the successful life and career you want and deserve. Persistence is the mark of people who are committed to taking personal responsibility for their lives and careers. Persistent people keep going, even in – no especially in – the face of difficulties and problems. Promise yourself that you will commit to taking personal responsibility for your life and career. Be persistent. Become your own message..
That’s the career advice I found in Makus Zusak’s book The Messenger. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, I suggest that you check out my career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained. The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less. The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.
PPS: Have you seen my membership site, My Corporate Climb? It’s devoted to helping people just like you create career success inside large corporations. You can find out about it by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.