I think it’s fair to say that most of us want what successful people have, and in a sense there is nothing wrong with this. The problem is we’re just not prepared to pay the price they paid to achieve it.
One of Michelangelo’s greatest successes was his sculpture of David. He worked on it with such passion that he often slept in his clothes, resenting the time it took to take them off and put them on again.
He approached the painting of the Sistine Chapel with the same intensity. After four years he produced his masterpiece.
Now, I appreciate that this is an extreme example of success, but let me try to bring it down to our level by referring to Dr Martin Luther King Jr who said that if a man is called to be a road sweeper he should sweep them as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
For many it is survival rather than success that is the name of the game, and this means holding down that job or getting back into employment following redundancy.
But surely to survive is to succeed provided of course you make the right decisions. And to a large extent whatever situation you are in today has been determined by the decisions you took in the past. So if you want to change the future you need to learn to make better decisions. Here are some guiding principles on how to make better decisions:
1. Don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary circumstances. To take the first job you are offered in a redundancy situation could be a big mistake.
2. Don’t let your emotions blind your reasoning. Weigh things carefully and base your decisions on mature judgment, having weighed up all the pros and cons.
3. Seek the advice of others. Draw on the experience of people you can trust without being intimidated by them.
4. Take time to consider all options. Remember what looks inviting today may not look so good tomorrow.
5. Take time to get all the facts. Too often career decisions are taken without carrying research on the potential organisation’s culture and management style, with disastrous outcomes.
6. Consider the consequences of each decision. Having looked at the options and got all the facts make sure you are ready to live with your decision.
7. Be realistic about your competencies. If you can’t count don’t apply for a job in the finance department. Focus on what you are good at and have experience of.
8. Time is of the essence. This is your most limited and valuable resource. So don’t wait for the job to land on your lap as the chances are this will take some time given the numbers applying for each job. So what is the dividing line between success and failure? I believe it is the amount of preparation that you make. Think back to Michelangelo and David. Had he not prepared he would probably have failed. We are fast approaching the summer season so why not take stock of where you are on the career ladder, and do what all successful people in all walks of life have done — namely prepare well. Get a good CV written that clearly and concisely states what you have done and achieved. If you invest time and thought in this I firmly believe it is the best way to gain in self-confidence and is essential if you want |perform well at your next |interview.
Gerry Gilpin is the managing partner in Gilpin Executive Search and Development, a leading independent consultancy practice assisting clients align their people to their corporate goals. Visit www.gilpinesd.com or tel 9076 9900