Interpersonal Edge: the path to big-time career success starts with small achievements
Sunday, September 20, 2015

By Dr. Daneen Skube

Tribune Content Agency
  Q: When I look at the long list of tasks to do before I can get ahead in my job this year, I feel discouraged. When I look at people I admire, I simply can’t understand how they accomplished all they did to end up so successful. Is there a strategy you teach clients to achieve great things when they’re overwhelmed by the number of steps to the goal?
  A: Realize that most people start out goal-setting with an idea like, “Well, first I have to get my Ph.D.,” then they go right back to bed. If you really want to have a great career, start using a strategy I call The Lazy Person’s Guide to Success.
  When I listen to new clients express frustration at how “stuck” they feel at work and at home, they always throw in a list of reasons they can’t do what they want. Here are some of the reasons I hear most often, and my advice:
  1) Other people will judge me. (They’ll judge you anyway.)
  2) I probably can’t do it. (I’ll believe you when you’ve tried it.)
  3) Somebody told me what I want is a bad idea. (Why are you listening to somebody?)
  4) I don’t have the right education. (So start at the bottom.)
  5) Maybe I need to go through a certificate program. (Experience is more important.)
  6) I have to follow all the rules. (How about you invent new creative approaches?)
  7) I don’t know anybody important. (Figure out how to introduce yourself.)
  The bottom line is, if you are not willing to do the easiest thing that will help (like getting up 15 minutes earlier), then you can’t succeed. Ironically, most of us think something grand has to begin with something grand. The truth is, most grand ideas start out as tiny changes and build into something grand.
  When I put together a road map for my clients to end up at the tomorrow they want, I help them identify the easiest first step. They often giggle, even the most serious clients, and remark that they feel like they’re cheating because I’m making the steps so simple.
  Human beings universally dislike complexity. Our eyes glaze over, we get distracted and give up. Instead of obsessing about the doctoral degree you don’t have, ask yourself what the dumbest, easiest, tiniest change you could make today would be? Now, do it.
  Tomorrow, ask yourself that same question, and the next day and the next. Before you know it, you’ll look backward and be impressed with what you’ve achieved. Realize when you look at the careers of those you admire that you’re looking backward at their lives. If you ask them how they “arrived” at such goals, they’ll say they just took one step after another.
  Each simple, small step you take, in itself, is nothing to write home about. However, when you string them all together, the momentum you build toward an intensely satisfying career is powerful. In you need inspiration, look at what multiple tiny drops of water accomplished in the Grand Canyon.
  The last word(s)
  Q: I work with a guy that I think is an idiot. He’s constantly saying stupid things. I worry that if I remain silent, he’ll think I agree with him. Should I speak up and set him straight?
  A: Not unless you want there to be two fools in the room: The first, who’s saying something foolish, and the second, who thinks arguing with a fool is a good idea!
  (Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru” each Monday morning. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.) 
This was printed in the September 20, 2015 - October 3, 2015 edition.

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