“It doesn’t matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again.” – Charles Kettering
The next time opportunity knocks at your door, open the door and see what happens. Or better yet, be the one to knock first. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own imagination of what might go wrong that we fail to leave our comfort zone and give that desire a try. Of course rejection is not fun, but neither is beating yourself up for not even trying. If you keep trying and do your best, eventually you will see positive results. When you accomplish that desire, your satisfaction will be worth all your effort.
In my sales and customer training classes, I always encourage the participants to at least ask for what they want. My philosophy is that “we have not because we ask not.” Think of asking for your desired result more as offering your skills instead of selling a product. Let the person in charge make the decision whether or not to accept your offer. Do not cheat someone out of the opportunity to benefit from your abilities.
The results of failing to try hit home for me at a class reunion. During a conversation with a classmate, he confessed that he had always wanted to ask me out on a date but did not ask because he thought I would say, “No.” Even after all those years, he still remembered not asking. I probably would have said, “Yes.” Asking and facing the potential of rejection is a risk; however, keep trying. In sales, the rule of thumb is that it takes nine “no’s” to get one “yes.” The more you practice asking while improving your skills, the better your odds become. Whether you are selling a product or offering your abilities as a service, you are seeking a positive response. Next time, take a risk and ask for what you want. Asking gets easier the more you practice. Remember, “we have not because we ask not.”
Your work manager has profound influence over your professional development. A great manager can have a positive impact on your growth in skills, knowledge, and attitude. When a manager takes a genuine interest in the success of the employee, that manager will invest time and energy into developing employees in their current position while preparing them for advancement. On the other hand, a terrible manager will have a negative impact on the professional development of the employee, which also causes high turnover rates in a company. When I find high turnover rates within a company, a majority of the time it is the fault of a terrible manager. People truly do quit managers, not jobs.
During my 34 years of work experiences, I have been privileged to learn from some great bosses. However, I have also had the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from a terrible boss. Take time to further your professional development by learning from each person you report to at work. In the long run, these lessons will prepare you to lead others and become a great manager.
I recall one great lesson I learned from a great boss—prepare your successor by working yourself out of a job. Unfortunately my boss learned this lesson the hard way, but her experience made a profound impact on me. I began to think differently about my obligations to the professional development of my direct reports.
My boss was up for a VP promotion. She had prepared for the promotion by working hard, building a successful training and quality department across multiple locations. I will never forget the day she got the news that she did not get the promotion. She failed to train an internal successor to move into her current position. The department and company would have suffered negative consequences by not having the proper employees aligned to take over specific roles. That was an “Aha” moment for both of us and a hard, but valuable lesson learned. We immediately began to prepare the whole team for advancement. We were basically working ourselves out of a job and training each of our direct reports to do the same. A year later, she received the promotion. I was then promoted into her position and others within our department also advanced. I learned a great lesson from a great boss. Invest in people and prepare them for advancement.