Posts Tagged ‘career’

Your Personal Story Is Key to Success

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

In the drive to build a successful career, most people have followed traditional guidance. It starts with learning to play well with others in pre-school, in the neighborhood and on the school playground. From kindergarten on, you’re told to pay attention in class, do your homework, make your best effort, get a good education, and then be willing to start at the bottom and do whatever you’re asked to do, even if the work seems beneath someone with your now-stellar preparation!

The one piece of important advice that’s often missing is this: Know your personal story and tell it well.

Yes, your personal story is crucial to your career success. That point was driven home to me this week when I talked with a prospective client about a training program for top-level managers being considered for the ultimate promotion to partner. One of the factors the candidates will be judged on is the authenticity and relevance of their personal stories. Why you? How have you proven yourself? Are you ready for the top?

Using the personal stories as one of the selection criteria clearly illustrates the truth of Annette Simmons’ book title: Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins.

How about you? Do you clearly answer the questions in your audience’s minds when you’re trying to sell a service, a product, an idea–or yourself as the right person for the position?

Eileen Fisher Keeps It Simple

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Her early years in Illinois seemed to offer no hint that she would one day be a well-known New York fashion designer. For 12 years she wore uniforms to school–a requirement most students dislike intensely but she found freeing–and then declared a math major in college. Her plans for the future were a far cry from living in Tribeca and launching a fashion career. So how did Eileen Fisher discover that she had a vision and a talent for fashion design?

After admiring–and owning–a number of Eileen Fisher garments over the past 25 years or so, I was intrigued by an interview with her in Fortune describing how she got her start. As the article reveals, she actually developed sewing skills and a love of fabric while growing up in a household where her mother sewed much of the clothing for her six daughters. And when Fisher no longer needed to wear a uniform to school, she hated shopping because she couldn’t find what she wanted, and she found it very  time-consuming to decide what to wear each day. It seemed to her that finding, selecting and wearing well-coordinated outfits each day should be simpler.

The influence of a college roommate’s coursework in interior design led Fisher to realize she, too, loved working with fabric. She changed her major to home economics, then took the opportunity to move to New York’s Soho with a roommate, and struck up a friendship with a sculptor. Surrounded by creative minds and influenced by observations on a trip to Japan, she eventually formulated her vision for a fashion collection based on–no surprise here–the concept of simplicity!

Her first collection of four garments were displayed at a show in 1984 where she sold orders to eight stores. At the next show a year later she had doubled her collection to eight garments and had a line of buyers waiting to place orders. She was on her way!

“Keep it simple” is a mantra we all need to remember as we go through daily activities. Simplicity is the key to communications, the basis for many wonderful culinary creations, and the key to achieving work/life balance. What ideas do you have for simplifying life? How can you make your job a bit easier, or help other people simplify their lives? Who knows? You just may launch a new career!