In this episode of SUCCESS Line, I’m talking to Cathy, a successful consultant and project manager with 20 years of experience. Recently she decided to improve her career. she wants to break into the C-suite.
How do entrepreneurs like Cathy get membership in this exclusive club? During our conversation, I help Cathy break out of the limiting story she has told herself about her career and provide her with tactical strategies to achieve her seemingly unattainable goal.
If you’ve ever wondered when or how you can make the leap to a new position, you are not alone. Here are my top three tips.
1. First win the battle in your head.
The biggest hurdle that all entrepreneurs face is a negative attitude. When I spoke to Cathy, I noticed her repeating self-destructive phrases over and over again: “I’m too old” and “The possibilities are not there.” If you tell yourself that the possibilities are not there, they will not be. It’s that simple. Cathy’s first, and probably most important, step on her way to becoming a C-suite is to change the way she thinks.
To achieve a goal, we have to believe that success is possible for ourselves.
I think it’s like running down a roadblocked hallway. If Cathy decides that no matter what, she will become a C-suite leader, she will run full steam toward that goal, knocking down whatever obstacle stands in her way. Once it does, only two things can happen. First, the door at the end of the hall opens and she enters the position of her dreams. Or the door will be locked and it will ricochet right off of it. If she turns left now, a new door will have broken open, a door she would never have seen if she hadn’t walked down the hall.
The way to achieve something is to win the battle in your head and believe in the possibility of your success. Opportunities are everywhere, but only if you are brave enough to seek them.
2. Crush it where you are.
How, you may ask, are you even running down the hall?
The best way to open the next door is to crush it where you are right now.
This is a concept that I introduced in my first book, Take the Stairs. Many entrepreneurs have come to me with complaints about their job; They hate their company and can’t wait to leave. What I say in response is often surprising: “You don’t like your job because you don’t do it well.”
The view from the top of the mountain looks very different than from below. You are doing an excellent job in your current role and once you get to the top it is your choice if you want to move on. You may even like your role more than you thought. If you still want to move on, the success of your current job will accelerate your progress and propel you into the next, possibly more exciting role.
3. Relationships are a multiplier.
Relationships are one of the highest forms of leverage available to entrepreneurs. For Cathy, the quickest route to C-suite is likely to be by leveraging a relationship she already has – a previous client, colleague, or friend.
The key here is that it’s a relationship that she’s already built. You need to develop your relationships before you need anything from them. To build truly real relationships, they can’t rely on the fact that you need a favor right away. This is a transaction, not a friendship.
Reach out to the people you want to develop relationships with and offer to help them with no expectations. If you do this enough and do it authentically when you eventually need help, these people (now likely friends) will be over the moon to provide their help, expertise, and connections.
Invest in your relationships like you invest in a bank account. To see returns, you need to make deposits.
Relationship building is one of the most important skills of an entrepreneur. So I’ll say this again: the best time to build a relationship is before you need one.