For some people, working in corporate America can seem like torture, while for others the stability and security can seem like a dream come true. Whatever your view is on Corporate America, there are many valuable lessons that can be learned and applied to both your life and your business. For me, some of the best lessons and experiences I learned came from the various different positions that I held in corporate America.
Spending over 12 years climbing the corporate America ladder, I have learned to capitalize my corporate experience in order to start my own business and become a successful entrepreneur. While there are many ups and downs whether you are an entrepreneur or working for someone else, every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Today, I have a successful business of my own and I attribute much of my success to the following 10 lessons that I learned while in cooperate:
1. Be a problem solver.
In certain situations, you will not have all of the information needed in order to make a decision. This is where you have to become curious, go above and beyond the call of duty and do a little extra homework in order to solve a problem. Not everything in life will be handed to you, but you can always do the best you can with what you have.
2. Meet people where they are.
Not everyone you meet will like you or vice versa. Many people will not want your help, advice or guidance and that is okay. We must learn to meet people where they are in their lives, rather than forcing people to be something that they either are not or not ready for yet. This alleviates so much stress and anxiety. Once we appreciate people where they are miracles will start to unfold.
3. Let go of the need to look perfect.
Many of us take pride in what we do; however sometimes we get so caught up in being perfect or looking a certain way that it can hold us back. Don’t wait for instructions, don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you take action. Nike’s advertising slogan “Just Do It” is perfect; you may not always be right but at least you took action. Taking action and doing the best you can do is really all that is needed in taking a step in the right direction.
4. Keep a positive attitude.
Life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent of how you respond. No one wants to be surrounded by or do business with a negative, nasty person. Life will throw you many different kinds of challenges and if you allow the challenge to affect your mood and energy you have given your power over to the challenge. Avoiding drama is also so important, be careful who you surround yourself with as you are the average of the five people who you spend the most time with, so who are you spending the most time with? You many have to do some “spring cleaning” in this area.
5. Learn how to plan effectively.
This step is so important on so many levels. Plan the most important tasks that need to get done in the beginning of your day; this allows you to get the most important thing out of the way first. Also learn how to plan your day according to your energy levels, when do you have the most energy? When are you the most affective? Learning how to manage your self-care and listen to your body despite your work load is critical. Your health (getting enough sleep, eating the right foods and getting the right exercise) is so important because without your health you will not be successful in your career or business. What self-care activity can you commit to starting today that you have been putting off?
6. Be able to adapt quickly.
The biggest asset to any business professional is the ability to adapt quickly in any situation. Unexpected situations come up and you must learn how to adapt and get business done despite whatever detours occur. Being flexible and able to switch gears is critical in business.
7. Have a good work ethic.
Some of the most successful people in the world are some of the hardest working people. Once these people reach “success” they don’t stop — they keep on going — their passions, desires and drive keep them motivated and inspired to do more, help more and give more. So tune into your desires, passions and drive. What fuels your work ethic?
8. Stay committed and disciplined.
When you are committed to a goal and have the discipline to get it done, results happen. The most successful people take daily baby steps towards their dreams and goals on a consistent basis. They stay committed and disciplined even when they do not want to do something. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” — Robert Collier
9. Actively listen more than you speak.
When you listen more than you speak so much can be learned. Actively listening means you are not only listening with your ears but you are listening to a person’s body language, their reactions and what they are truly saying.
10. Trust your gut.
Never proceed in doing something if it doesn’t feel totally right to you. There is a reason why something feels “off,” listen to your intuition and tune into what feels right to you. Nine times out of 10 you will always be right if you listen to your gut.