Create Your Career Success: Have the Courage to Care About What You Do

I was in New York last week.  I had an experience that made me think of the career success advice in Tweet 100 in my career advice book Success Tweets:  “Care about what you do.  If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer.  If you care a lot, you’ll be an outstanding performer.”

In the space of two days, I encountered two people – one who cared a little, and one who cared a lot.  I didn’t meet either of them in person, but I could easily tell which one cared a little and which one cared a lot.  They were both housekeepers at the hotel where I as staying.

After the first night I was there the housekeeper clearly didn’t care a lot about her service.  While the room was clean, she didn’t replace the shampoo and towels that I used.  I had to call Housekeeping and ask them to send some more up when I arrived back at the hotel after my business day.  I was a little surprised as I usually get good service at this hotel – and because I always leave a tip for the housekeeper.  I’ve worked for tips a lot in my life and know that they are an important supplement to a housekeeper’s salary.

The second day was a complete 180.  I arrived back at the hotel and the room was immaculate.  The housekeeper replaced all the towels and amenities.  The papers on my desk were squared up.  The two newspapers that I had left in front of the TV were placed nicely on an end table next to the easy chair.  And, the baseball cap I had with me in case of rain, was sitting on the back of the easy chair as if being displayed.  As soon as I opened the door I knew that someone had taken the time to make sure my room looked really good.  I also realized that the person who serviced my room that day really cared about her job.

Outstanding performance – while not enough to guarantee your life and career success – is necessary if you want to create the career success you deserve.   That’s why it is at the heart of the career success model in my new book Climbing the Corporate Ladder.

I care about helping people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  I care a lot.  That’s why I wrote Success Tweets and I give it away for free.  That’s why I am wrote a series of blog posts explaining each of the 141 tweets in more detail and turned it into a book called Success Tweets Explained.  You can get both books for free by going to  I do this because I care.  I care a lot about helping you achieve the kind of career success you deserve.  And I know that this caring will pay off in me becoming an outstanding career success coach – somebody who gives really great career advice.

When you care you do your very best.  This year marks the 50th anniversary of the film release of one of my favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird.  There is a passage in that book that has always stuck with me.  It’s in Chapter 11 and is spoken by Atticus Finch, the father, played by Gregory Peck in the film.  He’s speaking to Scout, his daughter…

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

It takes courage to care. Because when you care, you put yourself out there.  You do your best.  And doing your best can be a scary thing.  When you care, when you consciously do your best and fail, it is heartbreaking.  But at least you have the satisfaction of knowing you did your best.

One of my career success coaching clients had an experience like this recently.  He was up for a promotion to Senior VP.  He put his heart and soul into preparing for the series of interviews he had.  At the end of the interviews he told me that he knew in his heart of hearts that he did the best he possible could have in each interview.  He didn’t get the job.  He allowed himself to feel down about it for a day.  Then he approached each of the people who interviewed him and asked for candid feedback on what he could have done differently to secure the job.  He cared, he did his very best – and didn’t win.  But he decided that he would learn something from his failure.  That’s taking personal responsibility for your life and career success.

I remember when I applied to graduate school at Harvard.  I decided that I was going to demonstrate to myself how much I cared by writing the very best application I could.  I wasn’t going to let myself off the hook if I didn’t get accepted by saying, “I could have written a better application, but I just didn’t spend the time I should have.”

When I put my application in the mailbox – we still did quaint things like that back in the old days – I was proud of what I had written.  I knew it was the very best I could do.  I was also frightened because I knew that my best might not be good enough.  After all, both of my other degrees were from state schools.  Who was I to think that those kind of credentials would get me accepted at Harvard?

I cared about the quality of my application, so I did the very best I could.  The story in this case has a happy ending.  I was accepted and got my degree.  Even if I had not been accepted, I would have been proud of myself because I cared enough to write the best application I could, and I dared enough to admit it to myself.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people are proud of what they do.  They care.  They do their very best.  It doesn’t matter if they are housekeepers at a hotel, or VPs in a Fortune 100 company.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 100 in Success Tweets.  “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.”  Does your work show that you care?  Or does it reflect an “it’s good enough” attitude?  Take it from a career success coach, if you want to create the life and career success of which you are capable, make sure that how much you care shows through in every single piece of work you do.

That’s the career advice I took from seeing two vastly different approaches to doing a mundane job like being a hotel housekeeper.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings 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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  1. I just wanted to stop and say thank you for the free downloads you offer! I’m so grateful.

  2. You’re welcome.
    Thanks for your kind words.

  3. You’re welcome.
    I hope the downloads are helping you create the life and career success you deserve.
    All the best

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