💡 Invincible Tip - Change Your Environment (Issue #432)
You might be in the wrong place
Boy, talk about the impact of environment!
In 2007, the world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell went busking in a Washington DC Metro as an experiment. He played his Stradivarius, which was handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari and is estimated to be worth $3.5M.
Guess what happened?
In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run -- for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look. (source)
This confirms my belief based on decades of similar experiences in the corporate world:
You can be amazingly talented and still struggle in your career if you’re working in the wrong environment.
A recent call with someone refreshed this issue in my mind. They described two different situations and were a bit baffled by the very different outcomes. In one case, their career had thrived, and they felt like they were on the fast track to greater success. Yet, in the next case, it all went sideways, and they lost complete confidence in themselves.
What had gone wrong?
It’s not a rare occurrence. In fact, I often work with clients who aren’t appreciated by their employers. What I have to remind them is that even the most talented people will fail in an environment that is simply wrong for them. They aren't set up for success.
In some cases, it doesn’t matter how good you are if you’re working for the wrong boss in the wrong company. You simply will not thrive. Like Joshua Bell, you will waste your potential on people who cannot recognize it.
The orca is an apex predator in the ocean. But, place one on dry land and it’s a struggling creature that won’t survive.
The African lion is an apex predator on land. Drop one into the ocean and it wouldn’t last long at all.
Socrates is now considered the father of Western philosophy, but the authorities of his time viewed him as a threat and had him executed for “corrupting the youth of society.”
The Italian scientist Galileo revolutionized our understanding of our solar system, but his theories were controversial at the time and he was considered a heretic.
Mozart was fired as a musician in the court of the prince-archbishop of Salzburg.
Abraham Lincoln was fired from his job as a captain in the army during the 1832 Black Hawk War.
Anna Wintour was fired from her job as a junior fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar.
Jerry Seinfeld was fired from his first job as an actor in the TV sitcom Benson.
Lady Gaga was fired from her first record label.
Madonna was fired from Dunkin' Donuts on her first day at work.
Walt Disney was fired as a cartoonist for the Kansas City Star newspaper because he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas."
As these events show, environment matters more than we think. If people of this caliber were misunderstood, fired, or even put to death, why are we surprised when we don’t fit in with a specific company culture?
I can remember events when people thought I was the most amazing speaker they’d ever heard. I can also think of times when someone in a room viewed me as the biggest idiot they’d ever met.
After many years, I’ve learned to internally calibrate my performance. I can tell when I’ve worked hard and gave something my best effort. I can also tell when my game is “off” and I need to fix some issues.
I have also learned to ignore feedback from terrible bosses, write off negative experiences in toxic company cultures, and move on with my confidence intact. Over time, you learn to recognize the red flags and stay out of situations where you will most likely fail, no matter how hard you try to succeed.
So, the next time you are seeking a new opportunity, take your time to get it right. Don’t be in a rush and ignore the warning signs of a bad situation.
Intentionally select your ideal environment when building an Invincible Career to maximize your odds of success and growth:
Intentionally choose your role.
Intentionally choose your employer.
Intentionally choose your direct manager.
Don’t settle for less. Why wouldn’t you stack the deck in your favor?
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This week’s professional development challenge
⭐ Write Your Elevator Pitch and Intro
You should never let yourself be defined by your employer. You should never limit yourself to your job title, either. Instead, think about how you would aspirationally describe yourself and sell what you can do. What do you want to be known for? What matters the most to you? You’ll receive more career opportunities when you stand out and stand for something. Let your elevator pitch reflect that.
Hi, I’m Larry Cornett, a Personal Coach who can work with you to optimize your career, life, or business. My mission is to help you take complete control of your work and life so you can become a more “Invincible You.” I currently live in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with my wife and a gigantic Great Dane.