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In a fierce economy with bad news dominating the front pages of our daily newspapers, there's only one way to stay upbeat: over-deliver. I'm convinced that the companies and the individuals that figure this out will ride out the storm; the rest will bite the dust.

Some of my favorite ways to o-d include:

Radiate a happy and positive attitude at all times. An indomitable mindset takes courage and discipline – both qualities of super-performers.

Start your day brimming with energy. Whatever works: protein, early morning workouts, sunrise yoga, reading Jane Austen, make it a habit to leave your home ready to take on the world.

The first seven seconds matter: Immaculate grooming, stylish clothing, punctuality, good manners, superb communication skills and full presence to send the undiluted message of knife blade-sharp competence.

Exude purpose wherever, whenever. This is not a time for whatever.

What's going on in your industry? Stay on top of trends, movements, seismic shifts so that your opinion remains unassailable.

Play to your fan base with charm and self-deprecating humor. Remind us again and again – you're smart, accomplished and fun to work with.

Increase your bandwidth. There's something inarguably elegant (and compelling) about people who do favors, offer referrals, spin their rolodex, set up introductory lunches because it's the natural thing to do.

"Tomorrow is another day" may have worked for Scarlett O'Hara – today's warped speed requires an abiding respect for other people's deadlines. (Even if that means staying late to return phone calls and emails).

Out-shine, out-work, out-last the competition. Drive, pursuit of excellence, passion and unflagging work ethic is the reason people get typecast as superstars and live up to their billing.

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© Copyright 2008 Ellen Lubin-Sherman


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