Think your job has nothing in common with the career of a rock star?  I would have agreed – until my youngest son dipped his toe into the music industry.  The path to success there can teach a lot about succeeding anywhere – whether you’re selling insurance, managing a corporate career, working in a factory or on a construction site, or running your own small business. Here’s what it takes … 

 1. TALENT – Whether it’s the ability to frame out a house or flawlessly install the plumbing, to lead a customer to decide on buying your insurance policy, to close the IPO, or twang a hot guitar lick, a level of competence at what you do is the price of admission to any job.  Develop your talent and expand your skills in ways that make you better and better at what you do.  No need to be discouraged if you’re not “the best” – there’s lots of room in every field for the “pretty good.”  And don’t be seduced by the thought that pure talent is enough to push you first across the finish line.  It always takes more … 

2. SHOWMANSHIP – Your job success probably doesn’t depend on using your musical talent to rivet the attention of a crowd intensely interested in the their next drink and the hottie at the next table, but ….  if your boss, your customers, your co-workers aren’t aware of what you can do, and eager for the value you can bring them, then you’ll never get the chance for your talents and your accomplishments grow to their full potential.

3. BUSINESS SENSE – Unless you’re an artist committed to starving, your success, in significant measure, means convincing an employer, a customer or an audience to pay you for your talent.  Why will they choose to spend their hard-earned money with you? Because, simply, you can bring them something of value – something they’re willing to pay you for.  The more effectively you can provide what’s important to your boss or your customer, the happier and more generous they will be in paying you.  Bottom line — understand and be responsive to the people who can make or break your success.

4. MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK – Face it, there’s nothing like meeting someone who knows someone.  There’s a large element of luck in that – being in the right place at the right time – but there’s a lot you can do to improve your chances.  Work hard at getting to know the people in your business – what makes them tick, what’s important to them and what’s not.  Make sure they know what you do, and what you can do for them.  Then use what you learn to to make yourself better, more visible, and more valuable.

Obviously, paying attention to these four aspects of your work life won’t guarantee you’ll be the next Springsteen, Bill Gates, or the next superstar of your particular field.  But investing some of your time and energy to strengthen your talents, increase your visibility, and make yourself more valuable to the people who matter can make you more successful in whatever you do.


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