Career Advice for Getting to The Corner Office

Last week I blogged about the career success advice I found in Prestly Blake’s book, A Friendly Life: The Autobiography of S. Prestly Blake.  I mentioned how reading books like this can substitute for an in person mentoring relationship. 

In this post, I’d like to review some career advice I found in the New York Times on Sunday April 17 – hey better late than never, huh?  These ideas come from an article about a new book The Corner Office: Indispensible and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed by Adam Bryant.

The author conducted interviews with more than 70 CEOs and distilled their comments into what he calls “five essentials for success.”  He says, “These qualities are developed through attitude, habit and discipline – factors that are within your control.”  I agree that attitude, habit and discipline are in your control.  In another post last week, I discussed the important of attitude and habit.  You can see it here.

Here are the five essentials for success identified in The Corner Office

  • Passionate Curiosity
  • Battle-Hardened Confidence
  • Team Smarts
  • A Simple Mind Set
  • Fearlessness

For years I have been telling my career success coach clients and readers of this blog that life and career success is a matter of common sense.  There is no great secret to career success.  You just have to work at it – or as Mr. Bryant puts it, you have to have the right attitude, habits and discipline.

Want proof?  Just look at some of the tweets in my career advice book Success Tweets match up with the five essential for career success in The Corner Office

Passionate Curiosity

Success Tweet 81: Become a lifelong learner.  The half-life of knowledge is rapidly diminishing.  Staying in the same place is the same as going backwards.  Success Tweet 84: Stay up to date.  Read industry publications.  Know the hot topics for your company, competitors and industry.

Battle-Hardened Confidence

Success Tweet 42: Choose optimism.  It builds your confidence.  Success Tweet 44: Believe things will turn out well.  When they don’t, don’t sulk.  Learn what you can, use it next time.

Team Smarts

Success Tweet 137: Do your job; give credit to others for doing theirs.  Everyone likes to work with people who share the credit for a job well done.  Success Tweet 135: Be a consensus builder.  Focus on where you agree with others.  It will be easier to resolve differences and create agreement.

A Simple Mind Set

Success Tweet 86: Stay focused.  Don’t get distracted.  Treat time as the precious commodity that it is.  Manage your time and life well.  Success Tweet 90: Care about what you do.  If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer.  If you care a lot, you’ll become an outstanding performer.


Success Tweet 45: Everyone is afraid sometime.  Self confident people face their fears and act.  Look your fears in the eye and do something.  Success Tweet 46: Four steps for dealing with fear that can sabotage your success: identify if, admit it, accept it, do something about it.

I bring up the similarities between the career advice in The Corner Office and Success Tweets not to toot my own horn, but to reinforce the fact that most career advice is simple common sense.  Also, you can be mentored by some very successful people if you just take the time to read.  If you read The Corner Office, you’ll have the chance to be mentored by 70 CEOs.

Having said that, an in person face to face, mentoring relationship is always a good thing.  Here’s what to look for in a good mentor…

A good mentor…

M   Motivates you to accomplish more than you think you can.

E    Expects the best of you.

N   Never gives up on you or lets you give up on yourself.

T   Tells you the truth, even when it hurts.

O   Occasionally kicks your butt.

R   Really cares about you and your success.

Look for people with these qualities when you are searching for a mentor.  Embody them yourself when you are mentoring others.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Mentors can help you create the life and career success you want and deserve.  Successful people follow the career advice in Tweet 51 in Success Tweets.  “Find a mentor.  Mentors are positive people who will help you find the lessons in your experiences and use them to move forward.”  You can enter into a formal mentoring relationship.  You can observe successful people you admire.  They can mentor you without even realizing that they are doing so.  You can get a lot of the advantages of mentoring by reading.  A Friendly Life by Prestly Blake and The Corner Office by Adam Bryant are good places to start.  Finally, it’s never too early to become a mentor yourself.  There is always someone who needs your career advice; someone who needs to know what you’ve already learned.  Be a positive person.  Help others achieve the life and career success they want and deserve and you’ll be helping yourself.

That’s the common sense career advice I found in The Corner Office.  But like most career advice, you have to have the right attitude, habits and discipline to make the most of it.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  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 book Success Tweets Explained.  It’s a whopping 395 pages of common sense career advice explaining each of the tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.

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