Nine Keys To Making The Most of Any Opportunity


Whether to display confidence, remember who's the boss or to be gushingly optimistic, here are Jack Dougherty's Nine keys to make the most out of any opportunity!

1. Become an authority—whether it’s on how to penetrate the Chinese market or how to master the logistics of mail-sorting in the mailroom. Cultivate your expertise and people will listen to you.

2. Display confidence. Ambitious people project certainty. Get fearless. Think big. Talk boldly. When you’re an expert, you speak with certainty. Pick a position and defend it until the death. (You’d better be right.)

3. Never flip-flop. Consistency is critical for credibility.

4. Focus on likeability. Being popular is more important than being smart. This was supposed to end senior year. We judge likeable people as more attractive, more intelligent, more competent, less selfish, more moral. Research shows likeable people make more money, get more promotions.

5. Be gushingly optimistic. CEOs hate cynics and problem-purveyors. Bring nothing but solutions to the party. Positive people get more interviews. Receive better appraisals. Are rated higher on competence and productivity. Make better managers. Make more money. Experience less burnout, absenteeism, retaliation, and turnover.

6. Remember whose boss. The more energetic, flamboyant, and brilliant you are, the more you threaten the lethargic, colorless and moderately-skilled above you. (Embrace “Sprezzatura!” the art of making the impossible look effortless. Adopt a studied casualness.)

7. Conform! You have to learn to master the context you’re in…learn to read the environment and adapt. Nose rings and pierced eyebrows will get you laughed out of Wall Street … just as cufflinks and bow ties will get you beat up in most public high schools in America. Figure out how to fit in. Most companies are incredibly good at communicating expectations about wardrobe, behavior and values. Pay attention.

8. Play Nice: Modern technology is making it harder and harder to survive as a member of the bottom of the class. In today’s workplace, everybody is watching all the time. And if you’ve been terrorizing people, they have ways of brining you down that didn’t exist 20 years ago. That nasty voicemail or email you left an underling was forwarded to your boss. You may not remember your behavior at the Holiday party, but thanks to that co-worker who video-taped your performance, the viewers of YouTube will never forget it.

9. Look sharp! It’s cruel. It’s unfair. Get used to it and do everything you can to improve your appearance. Looks got you to prom…or didn’t. And at work they get you promoted…or not. Research on “beauty premiums” show if you're perceived as beautiful, you probably earn about 5 percent more than your ordinary-looking counterparts. There are economic penalties for bad teeth, according to one study, so BRUSH!