No one knows better about making it big than Cathie Black, Chairman of Hearst Magazines - Cosmo's publisher. In her book, Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life), she shares her awesome tips for a stellar career. Plus: You Won't Believe What These People Put on Their Resumes..
1. Playing It Safe Can Backfire
Most people see taking risks as opening themselves up to unnecessary, maybe even dangerous chances. But the truth is, avoiding risks won't keep you safe, nor will it guarantee a smooth ride at work or in life.
In fact, the opposite is often true. It's like the monkey parable: A monkey sees a nut in a hole and reaches in to grab it. Once he's closed his fist around it, he can't get his hand back out of the narrow opening. Now he's stuck. He can't free himself unless he lets go of the nut, but because he's afraid to lose it, he won't let go.
Trying to avoid risks is like clinging to that nut. You may think you're playing it safe by holding on to what you have, but in reality, you're just hindering your own progress.
2. Failing = Success
The consequences of failure - just like the potential consequences of taking risks - are almost never as terrible as they seem. Just about anyone you can think of who's a huge success has overcome failure to get where they are today - think of Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school team, or J.K. Rowling, who was turned down by a number of publishers before one decided to take a chance on her manuscript about a young wizard named Harry Potter.
3. Give Up Control...
Sometimes In any office environment, there are many factors you can't control - the trickiest of which are often interpersonal. People get on each other's nerves, step on each other's toes, vie for each other's jobs, and sometimes, at the other end of the spectrum, get inappropriately involved with each other. Here's how to handle an office bully. At one point much earlier in my career, I had a boss who was having an affair with a subordinate of his, an awkward situation that made all our lives more complicated. It would have been easy to get upset about the situation, but to what end? The only thing you can do is accept what you can't change and work around it. That allows you to have a modicum of power over it.
4. Sometimes You Have to Boss Your Boss
When I watched the movie The Devil Wears Prada, one scene that stuck in my head was when the assistant, Andy, stood behind her boss Miranda's shoulder at a party, whispering the names of guests as they approached. Smooth as satin, Miranda greeted each person, coming off as an attentive and caring hostess rather than the frosty, bored snob she really was. There's no quicker, easier way to earn your boss's respect and gratitude than helping her look good. Watch this video for more brilliant tips about how to wow your boss.
5. Be a Little Naughty
Rule breaking is an underappreciated and underutilized skill. If you look at any list of highly successful people, it's invariably populated with rule breakers - from college dropouts like Bill Gates to female trailblazers like eBay's Meg Whitman to Internet wunderkinds like Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who refused to believe that a little startup couldn't take on the biggest, richest companies in cyberspace. All these people trusted their ideas and themselves enough to know which rules they could break. You can do the same.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.