Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson are two of the most iconic billionaires in the world. Some people have tried to diminish their achievements by saying they've lived charmed lives. But do your homework and you'll quickly realize they both have dealt with massive setbacks and failures. In fact, given how much they've achieved, it's likely they've dealt with far more negative experiences than the average professional. Which begs the question: How do they pick themselves up and keep going?

Want more success? Learn to "drop the rocks."

As a career coach, I've spent the past 15 years working with people who hate their jobs and feel dissatisfied with their career choices. They all (unknowingly) make the same mistake. They fail to process negative experiences properly. This leads to them attaching heavy emotions to things from their past. These become rocks in their memory, which they then carry with them as they try to move forward and improve. The more unprocessed negative experiences you have, the more rocks in your head -- and the harder it gets to motivate yourself to find career success and satisfaction. When your brain has to spend most of its finite daily energy carrying these rocks, it drains you of the ability to grow. Oprah Winfrey and Richard Branson figured this out early in their careers. When they learned to "drop the rocks," they freed their minds to stay curious and creative. They didn't waste valuable brain energy thinking about failures and setbacks. Instead, they let go of their negative attachment to these experiences, ultimately using them as stepping stones to move forward and find happiness. 

Don't think you're carrying a lot of rocks around? Try this.

One technique I use as a career coach to prove to clients they're carrying too many rocks is to have them write out their career narrative. This is the story you play in your head that explains your career from start to finish. The process of writing down a career narrative is very powerful in that it shows you just how much emotion you still have attached to your past. It helps to isolate the rocks you are lugging around so you can start to process them. How do you know when you've dropped a rock? You will no longer feel a negative emotion when thinking about the experience associated with it. It's called the Experience + Learn = Grow model for success. Only when you get good at turning negative experiences into powerful ones will you be able to catapult your career success!

Published on: Jan 30, 2019
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