The Extra Degree Makes All the Difference to Your Career Success

The other day I was rereading a great little career advice book from Sam Parker and my friends at Walk the Talk.  It’s called 212: The Extra Degree.  The back cover says it all…

At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water comes steam.
And with steam you can power a train.

The career advice here is simple common sense.  An extra degree can yield extraordinary results.  212: The Extra Degree is a gift book.  It is a perfect gift for the graduate you know.  You can get it at is some of the advice Sam suggests for applying the extra degree at work…

Add a few hours each month to your professional development – outside of the work day – knowing that you’ll have invested the equivalent of a full work day during the year in your most valuable asset…you.

Make the extra contact each day…a sales call…a customer…a brief discussion with a colleague…an encouraging talk with a member of your team.  With contact comes opportunity.  At the end of a year you’ll have opened more than 200 additional doors of possibility.

These are two pieces of great life and career success advice.  Let’s look at each of them in a little more detail…

When it comes to adding a few hours each month to your professional development, Tweet 81 in my career advice book Success Tweets says it all.  “Become a lifelong learner.  The half-life of knowledge is rapidly diminishing.  Staying in the same place is the same as going backwards.”

If you really want to create the life and career success you deserve, you need to become a lifelong learner.  The other day, I came across a quote from Louis L’Amour, the great American writer of stories about the old west.  I think this quote captures the essence of lifelong learning…

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.  That will be the beginning.”

I know a lot about life and career success.  I’ve written several books on it.  I give lots of talks about it.  I’ve coached hundreds of people – helping them build the life and career success they want and deserve.  I write this blog.  At one point, I thought I knew it all.

And you know what?  Every time I write about life and career success, every time I speak about it, every time I coach someone offering my career advice, I gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to create life and career success

I begin anew every day, doing whatever I can to learn about life and career success so I can pass on this knowledge and wisdom to others.  I choose to keep learning.  So should you.  Pay attention here – this is solid career advice.  I’ve learned that if you don’t keep learning, you don’t stand still – you fall behind in the game of life.  I’ve also learned that what I learned after I knew it all was some of the best and most important of my learnings.

A lot of what I have learned came in those extra hours after my work day.  I read a lot – three or four books a week.  I choose to read one professional development book for every three novels.  In this way, I am investing some of my non-working hours to help me become better at what I do.

Tweet 124 in Success Tweets gets at the idea of making one extra contact every day.  “Everyone has something to offer.  Never dismiss anyone out of hand.  Take the initiative.  Actively build relationships.”

If you want to create the life and career success you deserve, take a lesson from Sam Parker.  Pay attention to the people around you.  You will learn a lot and your life will be richer for it.  Don’t judge people by what they do.  Get to know others as individuals.  You’ll be surprised at what you learn.

I have had some very interesting conversations with taxi drivers in New York City.  These days, most of them are immigrants.  They love this country and are well-informed about it.  When I get into a taxi, most often the driver is listening to NPR or an all-news station.  I have had some great conversations about local and national politics, the state of the US economy, and sports with taxi drivers.

In Denver, I occasionally use a car service to go to and from the airport.  This service is a cooperative.  The members of the coop are all immigrants from Ethiopia.  They were all political refugees.  I love my rides to and from the airport with them.

And, I learned something very interesting.  Ethiopia was a Catholic country until the schism in 1066.  The Ethiopian Church sided with the Eastern Church in Constantinople and broke with Rome.  I was raised Catholic, but my father’s parents were Orthodox Christian, or Russian Orthodox as we called them.  In that tradition they celebrate Christmas on January 7 because they use a different calendar.

I remember having two Christmases when I was young.  I always got a small present on January 7.  Imagine my surprise when a guy from Africa told me that he couldn’t drive me to the airport on January 7 because he chose to stay at home and celebrate Christmas with his family.  This led to a very interesting discussion on how Ethiopia participated in the schism.  When the Ethiopian community in Denver was building a new church, Cathy and I were some of the donors.

See what I mean about treating everyone as if he or she has something to offer?  I never would have learned some valuable information about how similar the life experiences of a black guy from Ethiopia were to my own growing up had I not taken the time to engage this person in conversation.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Go the extra mile, put in the effort that others aren’t willing to do. Remember what Sam Parker has to say about water.  “At 211 degrees, water is hot.  At 212 degrees, it boils.  And with boiling water comes steam.  And with steam you can power a train.”  Power your career success train by raising your temperature that extra degree.  Spend time outside of work learning, as I suggest in Tweet 81 in Success Tweets.  “Become a lifelong learner.  The half-life of knowledge is rapidly diminishing.  Staying in the same place is the same as going backwards.”    Make contacts and build relationships as I suggest in Tweet 124 in Success Tweets.  “Everyone has something to offer.  Never dismiss anyone out of hand.  Take the initiative.  Actively build relationships.”  Do just these two things and your career success quest will reach the boiling point.
That’s the career advice I take from Sam Parker’s book 212: The Extra Degree.  What do you think?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download a free copy of my latest career success book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.


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