The great philosopher Woody Allen says "Eighty percent of success is showing up." But what does the other 20 percent look like?
There are lots that factors that influence the path to success – work habits, luck, timing, competitors, personality, supporters, talent, circumstances and so on. You can better your work habits, influence the odds, impact timing and use your talent if you’re willing to:
Show enthusiasm. According to screenwriter William Goldman, the top reason people get hired in Hollywood is not their particular skill but because they’re "fun to work with." People that are fun to work with love what they do and are supportive of other people’s talents.
Be willing. Be willing to come in early, stay late, make the coffee, push the producer’s wheelchair and do it with a smile. The current producer of "The Today Show" graduated Harvard in 1989 and joined NBC as a go-fer. His first assignment was to push a wheelchair ferrying an NBC sports executive as he criss-crossed Barcelona in preparation for the 1992 Olympics.
Be savvy. First impressions count. If you are dressed inappropriately, are disorganized, look troubled or depressed, you’ll be stopped dead in your tracks. No one wants or has the time to get to know someone who looks incapable or uncaring.
Be present. In the moment. When you get to work, keep your radar up not down. Pick up the signals and respond accordingly. Emotional presence is becoming a rarity at work…stand out by operating on all cylinders. Multi-task at home. At the office, concentrate on the task and do it to perfection.
Stay connected. Maintain an email database of everyone you know that are influential information leaders. Don’t Spam people with your accomplishments but share good news in a tactful manner. Look for reasons to get in touch with people and send them a handwritten note. And always proofread everything you send out.
Set yourself apart. Everyday, human resource people see the same phrases in resume after resume. Every day people with hiring needs get cover letters that contain nothing that is red-hot and relevant. And everyday, a job seeker will sit down and ask "So what does your company do or who’s your No.1 competitor?" Don’t be lazy. Don’t take shortcuts. Everything matters when you’re trying to stand out in a crowded field.
(…to be continued)