How To GET and KEEP Your Dream Job! (Part Three)

Become a Lifelong Learner
The word Commencement is a middle English word meaning, a beginning, a start. Upon graduation, shortly after you toss your hat in the air and peel off your gown, celebrate by all means. The next day, get back to work studying, learning, growing. College should have taught you HOW TO LEARN. It’s simply the beginning, a start. Become a lifelong learner. Read books, listen to audio programs on your i-pod, keep a journal, read trade magazines in your chosen field, attend seminars, find and develop relationships with mentors. Swen Nater chose legendary Coach John Wooden over a dozen other coaches and backed up Bill Walton for three years at UCLA. They won back to back NCAA titles. He was drafted in the first round 1973 by the Milwaukie Bucks yet never started a college game! He simply outworked everyone else. When coach Wooden asked Swen to shoot 100 hook shots with each hand over the summer, Swen told me, “I shot 300 with each hand!” He was so teachable. He still is. He was and still is the consumate student. Become a sponge. Soak in as much as you can….for the rest of your life.

Ask Questions and Dominate the Listening
When I was young, I thought speaking up and offering my opinion was the way to go. I was anxious to make a favorable impression. The best boss I ever worked for pulled me aside and said to me with compassion and tough love, “Your’e a smart guy. You have a lot of energy. However, you are large, loud and demanding. We are moving you into the Air Conditioning Department to work alone.” You see, what I should have done was listen. What I should have done was ask questions and shut my mouth. When I was a kid in England, my Auntie Laura used to buy me a bag of candy. She called them “Gob-Stoppers”, they were huge. They barely fit in my mouth and lasted for hours. A giant round ball of sugar. I thought she was being kind. What she was really doing was teaching me to be quiet and listen. Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem to teach his 12-year old son the wisdom of asking open ended questions: There are six honest serving men; they taught me all I knew; their names were WHAT and WHERE and WHEN and HOW and WHY and WHO! I have learned the secret of success in getting along with others. Ask open ended questions and dominate the listening. I never learn anything when I am talking.

It’s Not About You
I interviewed Superstar Salesman and author of the terrific book “The Nordstrom Way” Pat McCarthy in 1998. “Why do you think you are so successful in sales?” He paused and said simply, “I think it’s because I am OTHER-Centered.” You see the opposite of that is SELF-Centered. It really is true, it’s not about you! Become of Go-Giver. Find ways to serve others. Remember the Window and the Mirror. When it comes time to take the credit, look out the window and give it to your teammates. When it comes to take the blame, look in the mirror. It’s counter-intuitive. Our ego says “NO!” A dying of self is required. No worries. If you do it long enough, everyone will know. Eliminate “I, Me, Mine” and shift your focus to “We and Us”; better still, “You and Yours”; people will want to spend more time with you but they won’t know why!

Hey, Wait A Minute!
You haven’t told us HOW to get that first job! You’re right. Instead, I will tell you story from David Halberstam’s fine book “The Education of a Coach” the biography of Bill Belechick, the successful NFL Coach. In 1976, he asked the Baltimore Colts if he could VOLUNTEER. They said “Certainly but we can’t pay you.” Belechick smiled and went to work. He put in long days, picking up dirty towels, studying film, 12-14 hours a day of the worst kind of drudgery. Most nights he slept in the locker room, grateful for the chance to be in the coaching game. After a month, the owners felt guilty and began paying him $25 a week. He got bigger than his job each month. All these years later, perhaps the best coach in the NFL earns over $4,000,000 a year!

If you can incorporate these things into your life, you won’t have to worry about FINDING or KEEPING a job. It will find you! You will get bigger than your job quickly. No one ever got promoted. They got bigger than their job and lifted up. Get to work…..It’s COMMENCEMENT!

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