No matter who you are or what type of company you work for, I believe that there are three general rules that you can apply (rather liberally) to get ahead in any organization. These are three laws that I have learned over the years, and have followed habitually with moderate success.
I also want to be clear that the following advice is neither original nor complex; contrarily, it is extremely simple, but inordinately powerful.
Rule #1: Show up. Life is about showing up. Take full advantage of every opportunity you are given, no matter how big or how small the chance seems to be. I promise that you would not believe how far “showing up” will get you. For me personally, no matter which organization I was with, it was always rather disconcerting to see the majority of people doing the bare minimum to get by. Seldom do these types of people see opportunities as pathways to their future. I can tell you countless stories about how I got ahead simply by “showing up.” Is there an upcoming professional development class that your boss told you about? Take it. Are there any leadership opportunities that may involve a substantial amount of work and seemingly no immediate reward? Do it. Is there a guest lecture that is coming to your area? Show up.
Rule #2: Show up, on time. If you have ever worked in any organization I have ever led, you have undoubtedly heard me say that “being early is being on time, being on time is being late, and being late is unacceptable.” Whether you are going to a high-end political fundraiser, a special event, or even something as simple as a college class, get there early. Get there early every single time. One would not believe how many people I have met and relationships I have fostered just by getting somewhere early and taking advantage of the fact that I was one of the first people there. By doing so, you get to know the speaker/professor/leader on a semi-personal level, leading to potential networking opportunities that will drastically increase your contact portfolio.
Rule #3: Show up, on time, and dressed to play. I don’t care what field you work in or what “clients” you serve; be the best dressed every single day. People notice when a person dresses professionally. I personally subscribe to the belief that how serious one dresses is how serious one is about their professional responsibilities. Also, when you are one of the younger members of an organization, dressing up adds to both your perceived level of experience and your level of respect from other co-workers.
So there you have it. I promise you that if you show up, on time, and dressed to play, every single chance you get, you will have so many advantages and opportunities that no one else will have. Your pathway to success starts today, will you take it?