Career Success Advice from the President of Brown University

Ruth Simmons is the President of Brown University.  I saw an interview with her in the Sunday New York Times.  She gave some great career success advice in that interview.  I particularly liked this little nugget…

“I learned that I could achieve far more if I worked amiably with people, if I supported others’ goals.”

That is great common sense career advice.  I echo it in Tweet 128 in my career success book, Success Tweets.  “When meeting someone new ask yourself, ‘What can I do to help this person?’  You’ll build stronger relationships thinking this way.”

“Give with no expectation of return” is one of the suggestions I make to my career success coach clients when it comes to building strong relationships.  “Pay it forward” is another of my favorite pieces of career advice.   I follow both of these pieces of career advice myself.  That’s one of the reasons I write this blog – to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve.

A while back, I did a blog post in which I highlighted Linda Salazar’s great book, Awaken the Genie Within.  I didn’t know Linda at the time, only what she wrote.  I wrote the post because I loved the book and thought it has some great life and career success advice.

I sent Linda an email telling her about the blog post.  I attached one of my career success books.

As it turns out, Linda thought that that my post helped her too.  I received this email from her the day after I published the post…


I am deeply touched by your blog write up that includes so much information about my book.  You are obviously a man who walks his talk and you should know you have engrained yourself deep in my heart because there are not a lot of people in the world who do that.

Thank you so much.  And I would like to reciprocate on my blog when I’ve gotten at least half-way through your book.  I started it last night and am enjoying it greatly.

Understand this is not because I have to!  This is truly because I want to and that’s just the way it is!

What’s so wonderful is the detail you give about yourself and your life at the start of the book – a perfect way to get to know the author before delving into his book – gives it such a personal touch.

Have a wonderful day and I’ll be in touch.


Pretty cool, right?  I was trying to help readers of this blog create career success by writing about Linda’s book – you really should get it and read it.  Linda saw my post as helpful to her.  She took the time to write me a very nice note, and offered to reciprocate on her blog.

Linda and I now have a relationship – one that can benefit both us of personally and professionally – all because I mentioned her book in one of my blog posts.  That’s the power of giving with no expectation of return.  I bet you’ve had experiences like this.  Please share them in a comment.

The career success coach point here is simple common sense.  Successful people are interpersonally competent.  Interpersonally competent people build strong relationships by giving with no expectation of return.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 128 in Success Tweets.  “When meeting someone new, ask yourself, “What can I do to help this person?”  You’ll build stronger relationships by thinking this way.”  The next time you meet someone,  ask yourself, “What can I do to help this person?”  Most people ask the opposite question, “How can this person help me?”  By thinking “how can I help” first, you’ll be better able to build strong relationships that will pay off and help you create life and career success.  Way back on January 20, 1961, in his inauguration speech as President of the United States, John Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.”  These words – with a slight twist — are true today and will help you become a life and career success.  Ask not what others can do for you.  Ask what you can do for others.

That’s my career advice inspired by Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  The holidays provide some great networking opportunities.  Use them to build relationships by thinking what can you do for the people, not what they can do for you.  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, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is 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.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.

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