Not a Born Negotiator? Ways to Create A Win/Win

Are you a born negotiator? Not many of us are. Even if you are good at it, how successful are you when you are negotiating for yourself in situations that are critical to you, your business, and your career as opposed to for your company or your clients?

I know as soon as the negotiation affects me personally, arriving at a compromise is not as easy as when I am arranging a new car lease or buying something from a street vendor. In each of those two situations, I can walk away. I will probably never see or deal with that person again. Neither my emotions nor my ego are invested in the results.

What about negotiations that deal with compensation, employment or client contracts, staffing an important project, or being part of a team? These are personal. The results can reflect on our ability to perform well. The results represent how we define ourselves and the value our employers or clients assign to us. How good are you in these and other situations that are more personal?

The definition of negotiation is a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. The best possible result would be an agreement that benefits both parties involved. But have you ever been involved in a negotiation where you felt that your “give up” was greater than the other side? If this sounds familiar, ask yourself:

1. Did I ask for enough? Whether it’s asking for increased compensation, a higher fee, improved benefits, more time, additional help, new title or promotion, sometimes a small voice in your head warns you of overreaching, asking for more than you can get or deserve. If this is the case, you have already lost the negotiation before you sit down at the table. Managing your expectations realistically are necessary, but just make sure that you are not limiting yourself because of fear.

2. Did I have enough information? Did I do enough research on my topic? If it’s compensation or fee structure, did I do my homework on comparables? Did I understand the firm psychology and culture? Information provides you with the bargaining strength you need to ask for what you deserve. It also serves as validation for your ask.

3. Did I know what I really wanted the outcome to be? What did I specifically ask for? You need to define what you are willing to give up. What is absolutely non-negotiable? When you walk into that room know how much you can give up without feeling that you are being taken advantage of.

4. Did I communicate my arguments effectively, did I make a clear case? Did I communicate how the other side can benefit if I prevail? Always try to see it from the other side so you can understand their position and make sure your pitch is designed so that their needs are taken into consideration.

5. Did I handle the objections well? Preparation is key to anticipating what the objections might be so you can come up with the right answers that strengthen your case.

Are there other ways you prepare for these types of negotiations? We would love to hear them.

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

Need help managing your career, contact me.

Job Change – When Is It Right?

Mary Rosenbaum | March 17th, 2014 | posted in Careers, Job Search, career advice, career management

How do you know when it’s time to change jobs?

When I was an executive recruiter I remember working with a particular candidate who was reluctant to make a job change. He had been in his position for over 5 years, had friends at work, felt he knew what was expected of him, knew the lay of the land, and didn’t want to “create any waves” in his life. He wanted to stay put even though the opportunity I presented would be more challenging, career enhancing, and to top it off, would pay more than what he was earning.

His reluctance to move stemmed from a normal fear of the unknown that blinded him to all the reasons why he should move.

Changing jobs is one of the top ten stress-inducing life events, right up there with death, illness, marriage, divorce, having children, and going to jail.

So it’s easy to understand anyone’s reluctance to change jobs willingly when there appears to be no real need.

Yet, there are often signs that go unnoticed just so we can maintain the status quo and not cause any ripples in our lives. And those signs, if they exist, often lead to a more stressful life situation as work becomes less rewarding – personally, professionally, and financially.

I am not advocating job change and in fact often counsel clients that changing their situation at work should be the first step in improving and taking control of their careers. If that doesn’t work, then a job change might be in order.

Reasons for considering a job change fall into two basic categories: Improving an already positive situation and extricating yourself from a limiting situation.

Improving an already positive situation:

As with my example above, you can be in a job and a company that seems to working just fine. But then along comes an opportunity that could shake things up. What do you do?

If you are successful where you are and have been able to hone your skills and talents, you may be able to leverage this experience and accelerate your career by moving to another firm or even another industry.  Companies look for talented professionals who can introduce alternative solutions for new and recurring problems. An outsider’s viewpoint can be a great way for companies to enhance their existing talent pool.

And oftentimes, it’s a great way for you to move into a more senior role faster than if you stay where you are.

Another positive reason to make a change would be to gain broader exposure to how other companies and industries operate – it expands your knowledge base and makes you even more marketable in the future. It’s a great way to move away from “we have always done it this way” to having a greater variety of options and skills in your toolbox.

In both of these situations, it goes without saying that this works best if you have specific skills and talents that have been developed over a number of years. Job hopping simply to improve your positioning without the requisite depth of experience will not prove to be a successful career maneuver.

Extricating yourself from a limiting situation:

Although it would be great if we could all decide to change jobs because we want to improve an already good situation rather than because we are unhappy where we are. But the reality so many of us find ourselves in situations that limit our career path and make us miserable at work.

Here are a few that should galvanize you into doing something:

- You have been passed over for promotions, choice projects, and other opportunities that would expand your area of expertise.

- You are no longer being challenged by the work – it’s feels more repetitive, less creative, and consequently you feel less motivated.

- You no longer enjoy the work you do – it doesn’t fit with your values or your interests, you no longer feel engaged and it’s harder to get up in the morning.

- You cannot deepen or broaden your sphere of influence – there is a lack of cross-functional exposure, it’s not a collaborative culture, there’s too much internal competition.

- Management does not provide adequate support for the work that needs to be done – staffing, systems, consultants.

- Management sets artificial deadlines as a way of managing their employees creating stress and an unhealthy departmental attitude.

- There seems to be no clear career path – there’s no budget for professional development, they often recruit from outside, there’s a lack of visibility with senior management.

Any of these situations should cause a red light to go off. Your first step should be to try to work on improving your current situation. If that fails, then it might be time to move on.

As for the candidate I was trying to place with my client – he ultimately took the job we were offering and I’m glad to say, he “lived happily ever after.”

Need help assessing your career? Contact me.

Let us know if you have any other reasons that changing jobs might be the right way to go.

What Do You Want Your Job To Look Like?

Mary Rosenbaum | February 25th, 2014 | posted in Careers, Job Search, career advice, career management, personal brand management

Are you looking for a new job? Are you deciding whether it’s time to look for a new job? There are important factors to consider to make sure the job you’re in or the one you take positions you for the career goals you set.

There are always tradeoffs but there are also a few non-negotiables you might consider before making any decision. Based on my years of experience as an executive recruiter and a career management coach, here are my thoughts.

1. Reputation. Whether you are a seasoned employee or someone in the early stages of developing your career, there is value to working for a company that is respected and successful in its industry.

What is the company’s reputation? How does it compare with its competitors? What is the company’s track record?

If the company is considered among the top in their group the chances are that they are ahead of the curve in how they do what they do. The learning opportunities are greater. The skills you learn and the knowledge you gain will be leading edge.

If they are at the top of their industry they are respected for their ability to succeed in a competitive environment. Unsurprisingly, a halo effect of that respect trickles down to their employees.

As a former recruiter in the financial services industry, I found that there were a handful of companies whose name on your resume greatly enhanced your chances for future employment. These companies were considered to be the “Harvard” of the financial services world. Their names always helped open doors. And companies like this exist in all industries.

At the same time, working for a company with a dubious reputation has the exact opposite effect. In my experience, it’s not unusual for a company that has problems, internal and/or external, to make offers and promises to potential candidates that are above what they might expect from more successful and well regarded competitors. Careful research into what those problems might be and how they could impact you and your career would be advisable.

2. Risk/Reward trade off. I’m often asked by clients whether they should consider moving to a start-up. Whether you are a seasoned professional looking for an opportunity to stretch your intellectual muscles or a young professional enticed by the new kid on the block, here are some things to consider.

If you are someone just starting to build your career you might be willing to look at opportunities in companies that are just emerging. Start- ups and young companies present excellent opportunities for professionals without a long track record. These companies tend to operate leaner with a more egalitarian approach to advancement based on success and performance rather than years of experience. They offer the ability to increase your knowledge and skills and move up the ranks faster than larger and more established companies.

If this risk doesn’t pay off, a younger professional has more ability to bounce back and secure a position with a more established organization down the road. Their “investment” in the startup could be viewed by a prospective employer as a skill building opportunity without any of the negative overtones.

Conversely, if you are a seasoned professional you would have to evaluate, aside from any financial considerations, how you could benefit from this move as you have a lot more at risk should the effort not pan out as anticipated. And just as important, you might consider what your exit strategy might be should you need one.

3. Impact/Responsibilities/Control. Any position should offer you intrinsic rewards that make you want to come to work each day. The following questions should adequately answer the “What’s in it for me?” question.

What impact will the work you do have on the company and it’s bottom line? Will you be able to expand your knowledge and skill set on the job? Will the company offer opportunities for you to grow professionally? How much control will you have over your day to day responsibilities? Will there be opportunities for professional advancement?

4. Culture. You will be spending most of your time at work and as we all know, work often occupies your mind most of the time regardless of where you are. Make sure you will be spending your time in a place where you feel comfortable and respected.

So ask yourself: What’s the company culture like? Will I fit in? Does my work ethic correspond with those I’ll be working with and for? Will the values I live by be respected? Can I be myself on the job?

4. Compensation. This is always a factor but not one that deserves the top spot. In most situations, compensation is largely determined by industry standards.  As I wrote earlier, an outsized offer is often a red flag that should be carefully evaluated.

If you are new to your career, compensation should play a much smaller role in the decision making process. Opportunity to learn, exposure to the industry, relationship and network building opportunities, and career building responsibilities should be the focus of any new position.

If you are a seasoned professional, the focus of your evaluation should be improved opportunities for advancement into leadership roles, the ability to leverage past experience into new areas of responsibility, increased visibility inside and outside your organization and industry, and increased autonomy and control. If you are the right person for the right job, the compensation will be commensurate with your expectations.

What other factors do you consider when making job and career decisions?

Want to grow your career opportunities and define your next role? Contact me.

How to Craft A Talk That Spreads Your Ideas

Mary Rosenbaum | February 4th, 2014 | posted in career advice, leadership

One of the top 5 skills of any successful professional is the ability to effectively communicate their ideas. Strong communicators are able to get their ideas across in a way that prompts the listener to buy in, to help, or to believe. And those communicators are the ones who are able to implement change.

Nancy Duarte, in an excellent TED talk called The Secret Structure of Great Talks, reveals some wonderful tips on how to give a talk so you can communicate your ideas. Her suggestions can and should be applied to any conversation or presentation where you are trying to convert your listeners (clients, managers, co-workers, interviewers) into believers and ultimately into activists on your behalf.

The premise of her talk is that an idea that is not effectively communicated is essentially powerless. Here’s a summary of her tips:

- Story is the best way to communicate a new idea. If you want people to buy into or help you or believe in your idea, then they have to be moved to do it. We have all sat through our share of long power point presentations that become forgettable and result in little or no action on the listener’s part. Stories move people – they react both physically and emotionally. And they are remembered.

- Powerful stories illustrate the interplay between what exists now and what can be. The greater the gap between those two, the more powerful your story and the more galvanized your audience becomes. Think of the great speeches of our time – Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream Speech and Steve Jobs’ speech on the introduction of the IPhone (both used as examples in the TED Talk) – they each moved their audiences to action by constantly comparing life as it is with the world as they saw it in the future. And it was powerful.

- The audience is the hero of your story. Only they have the power to spread your idea and turn it into reality. You are the mentor who helps them and guides them to take your special new idea and move it forward. Without the millions of people who believed in MKL’s message or in Steve Jobs’ view of the future of communications, neither would have been able to change the world.

I highly recommend you listen to this talk and if you heed her words and follow the structure she lays out, you too can successfully communicate your ideas and maybe –  even change the world a little bit.

Want to move your career from the status quo to what you envision your future could be, contact me.

Shake Things Up and Stay Passionate

Mary Rosenbaum | December 9th, 2013 | posted in Careers, career advice, career management

There are lots of opportunities during the year for you to shake things up and stay passionate in your life, your career and your business. But since so many of us look at year end as an opportunity for a new beginning, I thought I’d put together a list of some actions you might consider taking to keep life interesting.

1. Terrify yourself. Keep yourself challenged. It’s not only exciting, but it’s a valuable way to improve on what you deliver.

2. Shake it up and don’t get stuck in a rut. Keep checking your career or business GPS. Know where you want to go and be nimble enough to change direction if circumstances change.  It was Albert Einstein who said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

3. Be generous. Nurture your tribe. Generosity is like a boomerang – the benefits, tangible and intangible, always come back to you. It’s not about how many people you know but rather how valuable you can be to each other. When each member of your tribe works on supporting one another, providing feedback, and connecting people, everyone benefits..

4. Be a joiner. Expand your network. Get out of your comfort zone and meet people who are NOT like you. Join professional, social, and sports groups where you can be with people outside your industry, your neighborhood, and your social and family community. Not only will you learn new things from them but your extended network will grow exponentially through the people they know.

5. Spend time in the real world. Turn off the computer, unplug from your smart phone, and meet people in real time in real places. It’s a great time of year to reconnect with those with whom you have lost touch as well as to connect in person with those with whom you have only communicated online. Nothing online replaces eye-to-eye contact, a firm handshake, and a sharing of good conversation.

6. Be brave. When receiving that year end review, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on what’s not working. We all love to hear how great we are but the bad news can be the most helpful. Unless we know what it is, we can’t fix it.

What else would you add to the above list?

Need help shaking it up? Contact me.

Enjoy the holiday season. I hope 2014 is all you hope it will be!

Magic Bullets? No. Necessary Steps? Absolutely. Job Search Advice.

Mary Rosenbaum | November 21st, 2013 | posted in Job Search, Networking, career advice

A job search, even in the best of times can take upwards of 6 months. And depending on the type of job, the job market and the economy, it can take even longer. The reality is, looking for a job IS a job and involves a lot of work.  Taking short cuts can only hurt you as you burn your way through contacts rather than solidifying them and turning them into connections.

Would you go into a meeting or presentation without the right materials, without knowing what has to be emphasized, without a full understanding of the topic you will be addressing? Of course not. Yet, many people go into a job search or into an interview without the right collateral materials, the right pitch, or even without a game plan.

Based on my experience as a coach and as a recruiter, I have listed some basics you have to have in place to run a successful search. These basics are not magic bullets nor is this list comprehensive. But if you can check them off, the search process will run more smoothly, will provide a better foundation for your career moves in the future, and may even shorten the time it takes to find what you’re looking for.

Here goes:

1. A branded resume that focuses on your successes and achievements, one that is written with your desired job in mind. This isn’t about providing a laundry list of each and every responsibility you had in your past jobs. It should be focused on your accomplishments, what you are known for, and how you want to be described.

2. A targeted networking plan. Who needs to know about you? Who can help you get in front of those people? Who can provide you with insight into the industry and the current employment situation? Who is well connected, not only in the industry but in general? Remember that second and third degree contacts are critical to expanding your network.

3. A few sentences that other people can use when describing who you are, what you do, the value you provide and what you are looking for. You have to brand these words into the minds of everyone you meet so they can then repeat them when describing you to others.

4. A great introductory email/bio/letter to send to those people that don’t know you. In as few words as possible, make what you write compelling enough for them to want to respond. I am not advocating sending out cold emails. In fact, I think that’s not a great way to go. This type of communication should be used when someone is lending their name to the introduction – that way, you have a better chance that someone will read it and respond to it.

5. Know what your “ask” is of every meeting, encounter, email. Connect the dots and don’t assume someone will connect them for you.

6. Create a follow up plan for every successful contact you make. This doesn’t mean you should make a pest of yourself but rather that you ensure that potential meaningful relationships don’t fall through the cracks and disappear.

7. Pull together your story of where you have been, where you are, and where you want to go so that it all ties together and lets the listener know that you are in control of your career and that each decision had a purpose.

8. Turn your current style of networking into a more forward thinking approach of building foundations for relationships that last beyond your next job.

If you have anything else you want to add or have some additional job search tips, please let us know.

Need help articulating your value and developing your plan, contact me.

It’s Not About You

Mary Rosenbaum | October 23rd, 2013 | posted in Careers, Personal Branding, Sales and Marketing, career advice, career management

Have you had moments like this: You meet someone at a conference, a meeting, or a party and all they do is talk about themselves. During what seems like a overly long monologue you learn more than you want about that person. And after the encounter you realize they never really asked you any questions nor listened much to what you had to say when they momentarily (accidentally) shared a little airtime.

This topic comes to mind because it happened to me last week. I was blown away by the lack of awareness that this man had about the impression he was making on me. And, it wasn’t good. He became memorable but in a way that would never prompt me to use his services or recommend him or even call him.

As my eyes glazed over and my mind wandered, these are comments I wanted to share with him; so instead, I’m sharing them with you.

Conversation is a two-way street.

The purpose of any encounter is to engage someone in conversation (2-way conversation) so that a connection is made. Meeting someone new is just like a first date. You want them to know a little about you but all the while you’re trying to find out about them so you can make those special connections. Connections result in trust building and we all know that trust is the basis for any lasting relationship – business or personal. So share, a little, and get them to share as well – the conversation will flow from there.

A little information goes a long way.

Getting back to that first date, you want to learn a little bit about how the other person thinks and what type of approach would work best with them. You also want to find out what they need or might have an interest in. If all you do is talk about how good you are you never really know if you’re hitting the right points as far as their needs and wants go. So ask them questions, get them talking, and I guarantee you’ll be better prepared for that pitch or marketing call later on.

Hit a home run

Do you know when you’re striking out or hitting a home run? Try to be more aware of how you are coming across to the other person. Appreciative nods, good responses and questions volleyed back and forth are obvious signs that you’re doing well.

If their eyes seem to stray away from you as you talk or they become unresponsive except for a few nods or uh huh’s, then change gears and get them talking about something that interests them.

If your conversation doesn’t improve, give them and you the space and ability to move on. After all, you can’t fall in love every time.

Please share other tips that work for you and any other comments you might have.

To strengthen your personal brand and get your career on the right track contact me.

Take Charge and Promote Yourself

Mary Rosenbaum | September 3rd, 2013 | posted in Careers, Personal Branding, career advice, career management, leadership, personal brand management

The workforce today is one of the most educated, tech savvy, super connected, and highly competitive group ever seen.

No longer can a professional keep his/her head down and do his job in the hopes that he will be recognized and amply rewarded by management. Although it has been some time since successful professionals “let” their careers just happen to them, taking charge of your career is no longer an option, it’s the required norm.

Dan Schawbel, a recognized expert on Millenials and personal branding, has written a new book called Promote Yourself, The New Rules of Career Success. The book is a primer on how to develop professional credibility and properly showcase your expertise so you can move your career onto a faster track.

Although written with Millenials (those born between 1982-1993) in mind, this book provides practical and actionable career building advice that can benefit both recent graduates as well as working professionals. Through in-depth interviews with a thousand managers across a broad spectrum of industries Dan provides keen insight into what employers look for when making hiring and promotion decisions.

The book takes you through the process of first – understanding what skills you need to get hired and to get ahead and second – how to promote yourself in a way that helps you gain visibility both inside and outside your company.

“Be more than your job description.” Dan Schawbel

Hard skills, the technical side of the work you do, require constant updating. Continuing education, seeking out new and innovative ways to do what you do and reaching across specialties to increase your knowledge base are today’s requirements for becoming the employee companies want to hire. To help start you off, Dan provides some helpful tips along with some great links to off and online educational programs.

Be memorable.

Dan’s emphasis on soft skills is worth mentioning here. Soft skills are what enable you to move ahead. And in branding terms – they are what make you memorable, likeable, and trustworthy.

Your soft skills are what differentiate you from everyone else who does the same work you do. Soft skills are your “interpersonal skills, skills that enable you to form relationships with co-workers, fit into the corporate culture, and communicate successfully.”

Knowing which soft skills are important and in demand and how to improve them are key to a successful career. The ones you’ll find most often at the top of the list include:

- the ability to work in/with a team

- strong communication skills- written and verbal

- having a positive attitude

- the ability to prioritize work

- being able to build relationships with co-workers, clients, managers

- being adaptable to change

Promote yourself.

For most people, promoting yourself is one of the most difficult things to do. Yet gaining visibility inside and outside your company is also one of the most important aspects of successfully managing your career. Here’s where Dan’s book lives up to its’ title.

Dan provides a road map to a variety of ways in which you can promote yourself and build your brand identity without sounding as if you’re bragging. Through your social media, networking, volunteering, writing, blogging, and speaking, your brand gains exposure beyond your immediate sphere.

Some important takeaways for effective self promotion are:

- know your value and how to articulate it

- always be authentic

- be generous and think of ways to help others

- maintain the relationships you build

- share the credit

If you want to take charge of your career, then Self Promote is a book worth picking up.

Need help with identifying your skills or gaining the visibility and credibility you need to successfully manage your career or get the job you really want, let’s talk.

Want More Visibility and Credibility? Speak Out!

Mary Rosenbaum | July 23rd, 2013 | posted in Careers, Personal Branding, career advice, career management, entrepreneurs, leadership

An important part of personal branding and leadership branding is gaining the visibility and credibility with your target audience. One way to do that is to speak up and speak out – either as a speaker in front of an audience or as a member or leader of a team where speaking up at meetings and conferences help promote your brand.  If you want those that matter to know how much value you can contribute, public speaking is a great way to get that point across – by showing rather than telling.

Yet public speaking is one area where both seasoned and aspiring leaders have the most difficulty.

Many people say they have a fear of public speaking. When they get up in front of an audience, they become anxious and sweaty and forget their speeches. While this all makes sense, you could also say it’s not only the fear of public speaking that is the problem, it’s the fear of what uncomfortable things may come up when speaking in front of people.

Bad Associations

People create associations all of their lives. They associate their physiology with good or bad things. A person who gets sweaty palms or butterflies in the stomach in front of an audience just knows that’s a bad sign. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

A 2013 study in Clinical Psychological Science shows our reaction to our physiology can be altered. By understanding that physiological responses when in front of a group of people are just the body’s way of handling stress, you can create new associations.

When I was in high school I auditioned for and was selected to portray Portia in the Merchant of Venice. I was terrific in rehearsals, knew my lines and was thrilled to be a part of the production. The evening of the performance, I froze and had to be walked off the stage with my understudy completing the show.

In the years that followed my fear of public speaking loomed large and I avoided the prospect each and every time an offer to speak was presented to me. The memory of freezing on stage haunted me for many years.

After years of forcing myself to take on public speaking engagements in spite of my fear of freezing up and of hearing the wild beating of my racing heart, I can honestly say that I now enjoy doing it. So much that I actually seek out opportunities to get up on the podium. I recognize that I will be nervous each and every time but I now accept it as fact, take a deep breath and start giving my talk. It works every time.

By reminding yourself those physical sensations are just the body doing its thing, and that it’s not bad or good, you can be back in control of your body and your presence on stage.

Change Your Focus to the Audience

Stop worrying about how you look or how uncomfortable you feel and move your attention from you to the audience. After all, that’s the reason you’re there in the first place. So be curious about your audience, who they are, why they are there, and what demographic they represent. Focus on the topic and that should keep your mind occupied. Once you shift your focus on the value you can provide to this specific audience, you won’t have time to worry about yourself and the end result will be far better.

Do What You Fear the Most & Then Do It Again

Famed American billionaire Warren Buffet had a huge fear of public speaking. He even dropped out of a public speaking course before it started because of his anxiety. His ultimate cure was to begin teaching topics he enjoyed to force himself to be in front of a roomful of people. Eventually, the joy of teaching overshadowed his fear of being in front of the class, but he had to do this over and over again in order to overcome his distress.

Pick one of your anxieties, and find a way to be right in it. Notice: you didn’t perish, you weren’t mortally wounded and you even survived in one piece. Slap yourself on the back for succeeding, and go do it again. Eventually, you’ll wonder what the big deal was. If you need a little motivation, organizations such as Toastmasters are good at helping you find your anxieties, and begin working on them.

What advice do you have for overcoming public speaking uneasiness? Share them in the comments.

Need help building credibility and visibility? Contact me.

Hillary Stroup, an MBA student and public relations consultant, co-wrote this post. She has over ten years of experience helping small businesses succeed through rough patches. She started out as a wedding planner and her business has grown from there.

Who’s in Your Corner?

Mary Rosenbaum | July 10th, 2013 | posted in Careers, career advice, career management
Wimbledon Final 2013

Novak and Andy before the big match.

Last Sunday morning’s men’s final at Wimbledon was a stunning example of not only great tennis but of how you can be spurred on to greatness if you have people in your corner.

Going into the match the odds favored Djokovic to win. For those people not as addicted to the game as I am, Murray won in 3 straight sets and became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.

Yes, he played well, in fact brilliantly at times. But what helped him get through some rough patches and some earlier difficult matches was the crowd. What propelled him to run down every ball, many of which seemed impossible to reach, was a crowd of thousands both inside and outside the stadium, as well as the knowledge that millions of people around the country were rooting for him.

It’s fair to say that for a lot of people this type of pressure might make them choke rather than succeed. Yet I would argue that for many of us, having other people encourage us to hold the bar up even higher than we would like is an excellent way to bring out our own greatness.

- Outside support helps build on the momentum you have already created. Sometimes you need that extra push to go the distance, whether it’s presenting a new idea, completing an assignment, taking on a new task or job, or asking for a raise or promotion.

- Knowing others care about you and your results helps keep you accountable and focused on your goals. You’re not in it alone.

Your corner is probably already filled with your own large group of supporters. Yet you could make their cheers and words of encouragement even stronger if you openly share your dreams and your goals with them so they know how and when to cheer you on.

It’s important to realize that if you fail in your endeavor you’re not letting them down but merely adding more knowledge and experience to the task and regrouping for the next time. Andy’s fans have known what his goals have been for a very long time. And each time, win or lose, they were there with him. The victory was even sweeter knowing how long it took, how many failed attempts he made, and how hard he had to work to finally achieve it.

So don’t limit your corner to a select few but rather fill it with people who have the knowledge to help, the wisdom to use the right words, voices loud enough to be heard, and the ability to hold you to a higher plane. Friends, family, bosses, sponsors, mentors, coaches, teachers, and colleagues – they can all easily fit in your corner.

And most importantly of all – make sure you cheer loudly and support others so you can help bring out the greatness in them.

So who’s in your corner?

Have questions about how to manage your career with purpose? Contact me.