I understand the challenges you face. At age 25 I was an immigrant with poor English, no degree and earning $500/month as a receptionist: as described in my biography. Via Firmsconsulting TV I hope others can learn from my experience of overcoming a challenging background to become a rapidly promoted management consultant, a banking director and FC partner.
Live the life you deserve. If I could do it, you can do it.
SHORTENED TRANSCRIPT OF THIS EPISODE:
In the previous episode of Firmsconsulting TV we spoke about the myth of confidence. We discussed why confidence is not a vital ingredient for success, despite popular belief.
In this episode lets dive deeper into what are career success strategies which I found most effective, especially if you are starting with very little.
First, let me share a personal story. When I was a business analyst I remember how uncomfortable I felt whenever consultants talked about where they studied or where they previously worked. I felt my background was embarrassing.
At the time, I was completing an undergraduate degree from an unranked university. I had to complete that degree part-time because my music diploma was not recognized in the West.
And my job prior to joining the consulting firm was a receptionist and an office manager at a tiny defense company. This was naturally something I tried very hard to avoid talking about with my colleagues.
So my reputation with my colleagues was not built on brand names or paper accomplishments.
And initially I did not have a very strong reputation. But I just got the job done as well as I could. And after a few months people would say, “Lets put Kris on to this project. We know if we put Kris onto this, the job will get done”. And that is the way I built my reputation.
And that is what I want you to remember. If you want to succeed in business and in life don’t be held back by where you start. You cannot control the circumstances of where you started your life but you can take control of making the most with what you have been given.
You just have to focus on being the best you can be in every role. Get the job done really well. And soon you will develop a reputation for that important ability and opportunities will open up to move to the next level.
And it took me just 12 months to get promoted because of my reputation. And then I got promoted again in another 5 months.
There are 5 career success strategies that helped me the most
There are 5 career success strategies that I would give to people who have a background similar to mine, or worse.
Number one is – Just do it
It’s not an advert for Nike. But you just need to do things. Don’t say, “I am going to do it only when I feel confident and only when I will have the right accomplishments under my belt”, because that time may never come.
There are people who are very successful and lack confidence. Its not as if being successful makes you 100% confident. And you certainly don’t need to be confident to be successful.
And if you wait for confidence you can end up waiting for most of your life or indefinitely.
If you take action now, before you think you are ready, you will learn more, you will develop your reputation for being reliable and more and more opportunities will come to you.
You will not be perfect, but you will be getting better every day. And that is what counts.
Number 2 is – Be a life-long learner
If you go in knowing you don’t have the skills but you are still going to do it, you need to be prepared to learn as you go.
A lot of us want to go to some prestigious MBA program like Harvard, pick up the skills, enter the workforce and assume the training period of our lives will be over. We assume we have completed our studies and we can now just use what we have learned.
Yet, I can tell you right now, when I went into banking very little of what I learned during my MBA was directly or even indirectly applicable.
So you can’t say I am going to finish my studies and I will go through life and apply those skills. You need a process for constantly learning and upgrading your skillset.
Number 3 is – Focus on results
Many of you, just like I did, are starting from humble beginnings. If you are, don’t fall for the trap of thinking that you are unworthy.
If you look at my background I would not have had the kind of life I ended up having if I had accepted what other people said should have been my likely path.
Do things and get results. Even if it is a very small role somewhere, where you are sitting in a little shop selling handsets for cell phones or something similar. You can do an amazing job, no matter what this job may be. Once you do an amazing job more opportunities open up. And eventually you will get a breakthrough opportunity. You just need to be ready to seize it.
Number 4 is – Don’t compare your profile
Worry less about whether you have a great degree or impressive work experience. Because the reality is that there is always going to be someone with a better profile than yours.
If you worry about your school not being ranked highly enough, you just focus on what you do not have. Remember that if you are good you will be successful regardless of the ranking of your school. Let this give you some comfort.
Number 5 is – Be ready for hard work
If you build a career on a foundation of getting things done, you have to work harder and it may take longer.
I remember when I went onto my first study in consulting l couldn’t really talk about my background because I did not have a suitable background. It was terribly embarrassing. This was one reason I did not socialize as much.
In the short-term all the consultants with better backgrounds who went to great universities appeared to do better than me. That was quite depressing.
But as I focused on the work and got things done every time, pretty soon people did not worry about my background. I just received promotion after promotion ahead of people with great degrees.
But this takes hard work because you cannot rely on your resume. You need to constantly demonstrate your competency.
You owe it to yourself and to the world to realize your potential, to do the work you were born to do and live the life you were meant to live. Believe you are entitled to have a career and life you deserve, no matter what.
If I could do it, you can do it!
CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: Now lets make sure this episode of FrimsconsultingTV will help you. For the next week try out at least one of the 5 career success strategies we discussed in this episode. Remember that insight without action is of little help, so give it a try! And if you have any thoughts or insights on this topic, please share in the comments.
Thank you so much for checking out this post and video and let us know if you have questions or topics you would like us to address in future episodes of FirmsconsutlingTV. We will try to address as many of requests from Firmsconsulting community as possible, starting with most common questions and areas of interest.
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