Secret Rules of Career SuccessLearn how work really works

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What Others Say About the Secret Rules of Career Success

Here are three career coaching clients and what they say about the experience. They're from three different parts of the U.S. and in three entirely different fields. But they all shared a similar problem: they needed to learn the Secret Rules of Career Success.

Outgrowing Your Job

Knowing When To Leave

Bouncing From Job to Job

Discovering Why Things Broke

Alan is a technical recruiter in Manhattan, the most competitive city on America’s East Coast. As he describes, he had been very successful at his job but his performance had kept on sliding even though he worked harder and harder. The problem wasn’t Alan: it was his job.

When I met Forrest four years ago, I was languishing in a job that I had clearly outgrown. Of course, I didn't realize it at the moment. I had no idea how undervalued and underutilized my skills were. I thought for some reason I was simply unfocused, unmotivated or, perhaps, too disorganized. His perceptive eye helped me understand I had clearly stagnated for too long in a position where my capacity to perform had clearly outstripped my responsibilities. He claimed that, no matter how hard I tried, I would fail and ultimately get depressed if I continued to stay in my current position. I had gotten "too big" for my job. Honestly, my first reaction was to disbelieve him — I got somewhat emotional and upset. Hearing the truth, can, at times, unsettle you. His clear-thinking analysis coupled with his persistent, but encouraging tone helped me understand that "fit" is more than cultural, it has to do with doing work that matches your innate capacity and your ability to handle complexity.

In a relatively short time, I began to see and understand that I was operating in an position what was not just one, but several levels below me. The position was challenging at first, but I had reached a point where I didn't enjoy my work at all. If I was evolving into a more complex individual capable of keeping many "variables" in the air, but the job wasn't changing, then, perhaps, what Forrest was suggesting was the key to my career inertia. He made me realize I was thinking too small.

Forrest's coaching got me to a place where I could begin to dream again and clearly see where I needed to begin looking for my next job. Within six month's time, I had found a new position where I was much happier and where my capacities could be more fully utilized.

Forrest has remained a friend and trusted counselor. In fact, in my most recent change in jobs, his ability to boil the situation down to it's bare-bones offered me a vision and a game-plan to take a direction that had proven quite beneficial.

— Alan Farhi, technical recruiter, New York, NY

Russell and I had met through a weblog that he contributed to. He contacted me to discuss some problems he had been having at work. We did an interview to formally gauge his current work capability. It was clear that he needed to leave his current job even though the entrepreneurial opportunities he was creating. He had to trust that he had the ability to make these opportunities a success. He also had to find the courage to leave a position he had held and was comfortable with so he could be successful in these new ventures. By learning some of the basic rules for High Potentials, Russell could step into what he wanted to do, knowing that he had what was needed to make it work. With both Premier Hosting and Cork Joy stable and profitable, Russell is looking to expand, always keeping the Law of the Real Boss in mind.

I have to say I'm a happier man than I was a few years ago, and a large part is due to conversations with you. really appreciate the perspective you've brought to my ... studies for lack of a better term. I'm happier, and my net worth is about to start increasing. I read some inspiring books back a ways, but the rosetta stone to give me a translation to what paths I need to pursue came from talking to you, and getting a handle on organizational theory, the bigness theory, and all that jazz.

- Russell Mann, owner of Premier Hosting and Cork Joy
When I met her, Dawn Wheat was a young painter making her living doing graphics arts around Chicago while developing her art. But something had happened: the work wasn’t coming in as quickly or as easily as it had before. Even doing it to enable her to pursue her art was no longer going to work. By helping her identify that the real problem wasn’t her or her employers, I helped Dawn eliminate paths that weren’t going to work and explore ones that could.

Before I started talking with Forrest, my career was bouncing back and forth between jobs on a monthly basis. In most cases the managers saw potential in me but at the same time were not sure where I fit within their business. I knew that I had to make a drastic change but I didn't know how.

The coaching I got from Forrest helped me see who I was, what type of work I was created to do, while also breaking an old, defeated mindset. This road has not been easy, but it has been worthwhile and necessary. The ideas that Forrest proposed helped me to regain a new sense of confidence, hope for the days to come, and also the courage to reach out and try things that I had too long thought were out of reach.

- Dawn Wheat, painter, Santa Fe, NM

Mary McQueen

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