After years working in HR, I switched to the other side and became a career coach. That was back in 2001, when career coaching was considered taboo.

Career Coaches Are For People With Problems

After training to become a career coach, I started to let my professional network know about my new line of work. Publicly, people would chuckle and tease me. Why? I had left a very solid lucrative executive management position to become a career coach. Many of my peers thought I was crazy and said things like: "You won't work with any successful people. Only people with problems need your services." However, something unexpected happened...

The Confidential Calls Started Pouring In

Those same people who made fun started calling me. They'd say, "I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'm really unhappy and struggling with my career. Can we talk?" Fifteen years ago, career coaching had a stigma. People actually associated professional dissatisfaction with mental illness. If you needed a career coach, it meant something was wrong with you. It's taken me years to explain to people that school taught us everything except how to build a satisfying career. Today, people are finally understanding that career coaching isn't a sign of weakness, but a path to greatness.

6,000 People Showed Me The Best Way To Fast-Tracking ANY Career

Fast forward to today, my team and I have worked with over 6,000 people. In that time, I've been able to identify the one skill required to fast-track any career. It's the one constant I've observed in those who were able to speed-up their career results. Many people assume it's finding your strengths. While studies show knowing what value we bring to the workplace can help us find more career satisfaction, it's not the skill most needed to fast-track. What is? The ability to relentlessly leverage the Experience + Learn = Grow Model. Here's why...

Career Fast-track Equation: [Experience + Learn = Grow]

When we start out in our careers, we all have zero expertise. We need experiences to teach us things in order to build our skills and credibility. In this early career phase, we all make mistakes, fail, and even let our employers and coworkers down. Unfortunately, as adults, we hate to fail. We're embarrassed and petrified of being judged by others. As a result, some of us start to avoid new experiences. We play it safe, only doing things that will guarantee approval and success. This is exactly the point when a person's career growth slows down.

IMPORTANT: Successful People Take The Emotion Out Of It

If you want to fast-track your career, you need to take the emotion out of the equation. Here's how it works:

Step 1: Try to experience as much as you can.

Step 2: Mindfully (and, as objectively as possible), assess what you've learned - good, bad or ugly.  

Step 3: Resolve yourself to grow by taking what you've learned and apply it to future new experiences.

Notice, nowhere in the equation does it say you, "Spend time worrying and lamenting over any mistakes you made and be obsessed with what people think of you." People who excel in their careers know there's no time for that. First, there's nothing good that can be gained from beating yourself up. Second, while you might think everyone's watching and talking about you, you're wrong. They're way too busy worrying about themselves and their careers to be thinking about you. Simply put, get rid of the emotion, leverage the power of the Experience + Learn = Grow Model, and watch your career move faster. 

Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hour Rule Proves My Point

The famous author explained in his book that people who go furthest in their careers have a track record of putting in more hours towards their specialty than anyone else. How could they possibly do that if they spent hours worrying about their mistakes and what people thought of them? Trust me, they didn't. If you want to get ahead in your career, you can't either.

Can't Seem To Stop the Negative Self Talk (NST)? Try This...

For those of you reading this and saying, "But, I can't help it. I'm a worrier." You need help breaking the cycle. Studying Neuro-linguistic Programming can help. Learning to change your thought patterns will help you speed up your ability to take more intelligent risks in your career so you can develop your ability to leverage the Experience + Learn = Grow Model more frequently and effectively. Start by understanding how to capture those thoughts so you can re-write them. Like any skill, you'll need to mindfully practice, but the payoff is worth it!