My Business Card

Bill Belknap Business CardOn the back of my business card I have three words of advice: energy, enthusiasm and persistence.

As a career coach, I am in the business of giving advice. Advice about career challenges, finding a new job, working with a boss who is a jerk, severance negotiations and salary negotiations to mention a few. So why advocate energy, enthusiasm and persistence?

First energy. My frame of reference for energy is from people, when I talk with them or sometimes just being in the room with them, give me confidence about their attitude toward life, work, friendships, and relationships.  I love cars so I will use a car analogy. They are the folks who can’t wait to shift into 5th or 6th gear.  I have also noticed friends, colleagues, even relatives who do not have energy are a bit of a drag. In the business world, what do we look for when we are hiring a new employee or building a task force? People with an abundance of energy!

Enthusiasm.  Vince Lombardi once said, “if you are not fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.” In fact, there have been many hiring studies  that show enthusiasm to have been the number one reason why someone was hired. Enthusiasm for me is not Pollyannaish. It is a tone of voice, a smiling face, using positive toned words versus negative words. For example, when talking about a problem, it is the difference between saying, “we have some real challenges here” or “help me understand how we got to this point” versus “this is a disaster” or “how the hell did this happen” which puts everyone immediately on the defensive. Think about it, and I realize it is a lot easier to say than do especially under the heat of battle, don’t we want our team in a problem solving frame of mind?  Remember, when people are on the defensive they quickly get into CYA mode not in a creative problem solving mode. For me, enthusiasm is also an attitude.

Persistence. Very simply this is making the eight to ten calls in order to get in front of a prospect. For decades sales studies have consistently shown that it takes eight to ten calls to get in front of a potential customer. The same is true if you are trying to network or to meet a hiring manager. This formula works at all levels.  How many times have you reworked an important presentation or speech?  How many revisions did your last product undergo before it was successfully launched? How many hours do musicians practice a day? The list of real world examples can go on forever!  With persistence you CAN get there.

In closing I want to point out that energy, enthusiasm and persistence are all connected.

Honestly, how likely is success without persistence? And persistence takes energy and enthusiasm. Go for it!