More Career Advice From a Final Four Coach

Today’s post contains more career advice from a Final Four Coach.

Virginia Commonwealth University is in the Final Four for the first time.  This is big news because they were one of the last teams selected to play in the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  VCU is an urban school located in Richmond VA.  It was created in 1968 when the Medical College of Virginia and the Richmond Professional Institute merged.

Many people, especially here in Colorado where the University of Colorado team was not selected for the tournament, questioned VCU’s selection.  VCU had to play an extra game to get into the field of 64.  Then, they were an eleventh seed, making them and George Mason — another Virginia School – the lowest seed ever to get into the Final Four.  Prior to the beginning of the season, Las Vegas odds makers gave VCU a 2,500 to 1 chance of winning the college basketball championship.  Yet here they are.

On Sunday VCU beat Kansas, the number one seed in their region and number two seed in the entire tournament, 71 – 61 to get into the Final Four.  After the game, VCU coach Shaka Smart was asked a question about VCU almost not being selected for the tournament.  He replied, “Once again, we felt like nobody really thought we could win going into the game.  But these guys believed we could win. They knew we could win.  We talked before the game about how nobody else really matters, it’s what they think.  And that’s our theme throughout the NCAA tournament since we were selected.”

And that brings me to today’s career advice.  Tweet 49 in my career success book Success Tweets says, “Surround yourself with positive people.  Hold them close.  They will give you energy and help you create the career success you deserve.”  The VCU players and coaches believed they could win.  They were positive about themselves and their team, even when many people questioned whether they should be in the NCAA Tournament.

Successful people surround themselves with positive people – people who are both positive by nature, and positive about their life and career success. Positive people are optimistic; and as Tweet 44 in Success Tweets points out, optimism is the first step in building your self confidence and life and career success.

Positive people help you feel good about yourself, because they feel good about themselves — and life in general. They help you build your self esteem because they have a strong sense of self esteem. Positive people are there when you begin to doubt yourself. 

They are not threatened by you or your career success. They realize that self esteem is not a fixed pie. There is an unlimited amount of it to go around, so positive people are always giving it away.   You can build your self confidence and jumpstart your life and career success by spending your time with upbeat, positive people.

That’s the message in VCU Coach Shaka Smart’s thoughts on his team getting into the Final Four.

Not too long ago, I did a talk for a local real estate company. This was at the height of the subprime mortgage crisis, not a good time to be in the real estate business.  As people entered the room and saw me, most came over asked if I were the speaker, and introduced themselves. This was great, because it helped put me at ease. Once I knew people’s names, it was easier to feel relaxed and enjoy doing my talk.

As the moderator kicked off the session, she recognized several people in attendance, all of whom got a nice round of applause for their accomplishments. When she introduced me, the audience also applauded. During my talk, I could see people taking notes and nodding their heads as I spoke. All of this made it easier for me to connect with them as an audience and do a better job on my talk. My self confidence was buoyed by the positive energy I observed prior to and during my talk.

Because the people at the real estate company introduced themselves to me prior to my talk, I knew that this was a positive audience. I had a few positive butterflies, but my nerves were in check and my self confidence high because of the positive energy in the room.

When I got to the part in my talk about surrounding yourself with positive people, everyone in the audience nodded. They got it – they knew exactly what I was talking about. After the talk, a few people came up to me to discuss that very point. They said that being in the company of positive people was one of the most important aspects of their real estate career success.

This is a small example, but a telling one. To succeed in sales, you have to be self confident. By its very nature, selling involves a lot of setbacks and rejection. It takes a self confident person to make the sixth call after not getting anywhere on the previous five. Successful salespeople face and deal with their fears of rejection. And they seek out positive people to help them stay motivated to keep doing what it takes to succeed.

This is important in other aspects of life as well – like basketball. The people around you have an amazing impact on your view of life. When you surround yourself with negative or cynical people, you become negative and cynical. On the other hand, when you surround yourself with positive, self confident people, you become positive and self confident — just like the VCU players and coaches. 

As VCU Coach Shaka Smart said, “These guys believed we could win. They knew we could win.  We talked before the game about how nobody else really matters, it’s what they think.”  Coach Smart has created a team of positive players and coaches who believe in themselves and each other.  Now they are two wins away from a National Championship.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  No one can go it alone.   Follow the career advice in Tweet 49 in Success Tweets.  “Surround yourself with positive people.  Hold them close.  They will give you energy and help you create the careersuccess you  deserve.”  Positive people are great.  They feel good about themselves and life in general.  They are enthusiastic – and their enthusiasm is contagious.  When you surround yourself with positive people you’ll become more positive and enthusiastic.  And, you’ll be on your way to creating the life and career success you want and deserve.  Who are the most positive people you know?  Get to know them better, spend more time with them.  The choice is yours. I choose to surround myself with positive people. Not only do they help my self confidence, they are more fun to be around.

That’s the career advice I find in VCU’s improbable run to the Final Four.  What do you think?  Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts – on the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people, or on this year’s NCAA tournament – with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my thoughts on life and career success.   I value and appreciate you.

Bud

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