In order to have a major breakthrough in your personal or professional life, you need a couple secret ingredients.

That’s no surprise. The order in which these ingredients are applied does surprise most people.

"If confidence is contagious, why haven't I caught it?"

When I talk to Innovation leaders after they’ve nailed a product launch, their enthusiasm is off the charts!

Consumer data and market share is indexing their way – they’re riding a wave of optimism that’s heady and contagious.

But here’s the thing…..they tell me it wasn’t always like this.

They track back to earlier in the process when the executive team, shareholders and the rest of the organization was on their back for results and status reports.

There were moments where they thought the launch might be shelved and worse yet, they’d be hung out to dry and be the scapegoat for the failed launch.

They may have walked into a make or break meeting with the executive team knowing it might be their last meeting.

I’ve heard the pain and friction in their voice but now, on the other side of it, they’re ecstatic.

The same thing happens with your career.

In order to have a major breakthrough and an ever growing challenge, you need a couple secret ingredients.

That’s no surprise, but the order in which these ingredients are applied does surprise most people.

"How do I know it's going to work?"

Cliff Jumping into the Ocean at Sunset, Outdoor Adventure Lifestyle

The base of your breakthrough recipe requires heavy doses of Courage, Commitment & Conviction.

It means employing a “burn the boats” approach when summoning the nerve to confront your boss about your unhappiness.

It means putting yourself out and volunteering for a high-profile project, even if it’s high risk and potential for failure.

It means being willing to walk away from the comforts of you what have now in pursuit of something greater.

Knowing the outcome is NOT a prerequisite for taking massive action – courage and commitment come BEFORE you know whether or not you’ll be successful.

Once you’ve made the commitment to change the trajectory of your career, you’ve lost certainty of what happens next.

That takes guts.

The possibility of your age, gender, skill set, personality and past being rejected all come into play.
Leaving your comfort zone of peers, friends and work environment is now a reality – what replaces that is now unknown.
You don’t know how(or if!) your skills and experience will transfer to a new employer.
You haven’t interviewed much but you’ll have to come across as polished, assertive and confident to the panel.

Commitment & Conviction → Courage →

A funny thing can happen though – once you’ve committed and made a decision, despite your fear, new resources and additional clarity present themselves – fate tends to rear its head in times like this.

You get a fortuitous call from a recruiter or former associate who’s moved into a management role and wants to discuss an opening.

Some people don’t take the recruiter’s call.  “Waste of time”, “Happy where I’m at”, “Will call them when I need them”.

You stretch your comfort zone and have an exploratory coffee date with someone you look up to at another company – they point you in the direction of one of their associates who’s hiring.

Some people turn down the chance to meet a peer – “too busy”, “what’s the point”, “not enough time.”

You introduce yourself to a speaker at an event – that intro leads to another and another, all expanding your network & opening doors that otherwise would never have opened unless you said hi.

Some people stay stiff in the back of the room, missing the opportunity.

These “serendipitous” moments don’t happen at home, binging on Netflix or burying your face on your phone.  You have to summon the courage, despite your fear, and make the first step.


Shot of a young woman enjoying a view from the top of the mountain

"Why can't I always be this confident?"

Unfortunately, that’s why many people STAY stuck – they wait for their confidence to appear and motivation to reveal itself before taking a first step.

This applies whether you’re fresh in the business or well into your career – if you truly crave a breakthrough, fear, uncertainty, rejection, soul searching, and new stressors in your life are all part of the formula.  

There’s no avoiding it.

To help you over the hump, think about other times in your life where you’ve acted courageously in spite of knowing the outcome.  

You came out on the other side accomplishing something you didn’t know or think possible.  

You’ve probably done it multiple times in your life.

Use these memories – the leap of faith, the feeling of satisfaction – Use these as your fuel.

Serial innovators and ground-breaking pioneers all realize RESULTS born out of courageous decisions and action create confidence in themself to pursue even greater heights. 

Successes built on top of one another, but the hard work and courageous actions still come before the results.

They’ve accepted the order in which break through innovation and career acceleration occur, and they accept the friction that occurs at each stage.

What they never lose sight of is the exhilaration of accomplishing what they set out to do.

Bob Pudlock

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