In this episode of SUCCESS Line, I talk to Cathy, a successful consultant and project manager with 20 years of expertise. Recently, she decided she wants to level up her career; she wants to break into the C-suite.
So how do entrepreneurs like Cathy gain membership to this exclusive club? Throughout our conversation, I help Cathy break out of the limiting story she’s been telling herself about her career and provide her with tactical strategies to achieve her seemingly out-of-reach goal.
If you’ve ever wondered when or how to make the jump into a new position, you’re not alone. Here are my top three tips.
1. Win the battle in your mind first.
The No. 1 hurdle all entrepreneurs must overcome is a negative mindset. When I spoke with Cathy, I noticed she kept repeating self-defeating phrases: “I’m too old,” and “The opportunities aren’t there.” If you tell yourself the opportunities aren’t there, they won’t be. It’s as simple as that. Cathy’s first, and likely most important, step on her path to the C-suite is changing her mindset.
In order to achieve a goal, we must believe that success is possible for ourselves.
I think of it like running down a hallway filled with roadblocks. If Cathy decides in her mind that she will—no matter what—become a C-suite exec, she will run full speed ahead toward that goal and knock down every obstacle standing in her way. Once she does this, only two things can happen. First, the door at the end of the hallway will open, and she will walk into the position of her dreams. Or the door will be locked and she will bounce right off of it. Now, when she turns to her left, there will be a new door that has cracked open, a door that she never could have seen if she hadn’t run down that hallway.
The way to achieve anything is by winning the battle in your mind and believing in the possibility of your success. Opportunities are everywhere but only if you are bold enough to seek them.
2. Crush it where you’re at.
How, you may ask, do you even begin to run down that hallway?
The best way to open the next door is to crush it where you’re at.
This is a concept 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 they can’t wait to leave. What I say in response to them is often surprising: “You don’t like your job because you’re not doing it well.”
The view from the top of the mountain looks very different from the bottom. Do an excellent job in your current role, and once you’ve reached the top, you can decide whether you’d like to move on. You might even find you enjoy your role more than you’d thought. If you do still want to move on, that you succeeded in your current job will accelerate your progress and push you forward into the next, potentially more exciting role.
3. Relationships are a multiplier.
Relationships are one of the highest forms of leverage entrepreneurs have available to them. For Cathy, the fastest path to the C-suite is likely by utilizing a relationship she already has—a past client, a colleague, or a friend.
The key here is that it is a relationship she has already formed. You need to develop your relationships before you need anything from them. To build truly genuine relationships, they can’t be predicated on the fact that you immediately need a favor. That is a transaction, not a friendship.
Reach out to the people you’d like to build relationships with and offer to help them with no expectations attached. If you do this enough, and you do it authentically, when you eventually need help, these people (now likely friends) will be overjoyed to lend their assistance, expertise and connections.
Invest in your relationships as you would a bank account. In order to see returns, you need to make deposits.
Building relationships is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur can have. So I’ll say this again: the best time to form a relationship is before you need one.