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Let me teach you the best of what I know! My blog posts contain the best insights and lessons-learned from my years as a corporate strategist and product management leader in the high tech software industry as well as what I’ve learned in the past three years of coaching dozens of leaders at top-notch tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and numerous startups.

How to Unlock “God Mode” at Work

god mode

As a kid, I loved cheat codes. With the flick of a few buttons, you could do the impossible. Run through walls. Stomp on the bad guys. Rescue the princess. Explore without worry from marauding bandits. These codes were passed around in school hallways on slips of paper (before the internet folks!). If you were lucky enough to browse a game magazine at the bookstore, you could swipe a few and have the most valued information of the day, at least according to your grade-school peers!

Game Developers would create these codes to test a game to make sure it worked. Of course, nothing stays secret forever. You might think that cheat codes would make games less fun to play, but it actually did the opposite. It made me more curious to start over and play the game for real!

I'm now decades away from being a "gamer." Instead, I've been spending my time researching and thinking about what it is that makes some people so effective at their work, and others mildly so. Sure, there might be asymmetries in innate talent across a population. Yet, there are enough successful people who succeed in spite of their challenges that it leads me to believe that there is more in our control than we think.

In video game parlance, "God Mode" enables capacities of invulnerability (you cannot get hurt) as well as invincibility (others get hurt by your touch). Is there such a concept that would apply to being superhuman at work? I think so. Invulnerability would take the form of not being disturbed by the actions of others. Invincibility would mean being able to produce high quality and valued work, consistently.

The drawback of God Mode as it appears in video games is that it is often fleeting. When it comes to a career, it can be unlocked in a manner that is far more lasting. In fact, it can grow stronger and stronger over time.

If God Mode in games is attributed to superhuman powers, in the real world, we can equate it to skill. More specifically, skills that are correctly applied to achieve concrete results. How do you deftly build up and use your skills? You do it through directed and consistent FOCUS. Bill Gates, Obama, you, me, a future tech mogul who is currently in grade-school; we all have the same time in the day. But, we all get different sorts of work done and create various levels of impact. The difference is not entirely about luck, it's about the cumulative focus we've applied to achieve something we care about.

Focus is ridiculously hard, particularly in a world that is conspiring to steal your attention. It is, however, something that can be trained, like a muscle. Done well, it will be as if you have a "cheat code" to standing out in your career.

It helps to follow these tips:

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Decoding Executive Presence: 3 Way To Improve Yours Today

executive presence

Executive Presence. What the heck is it?

It’s one of the vaguest terms used about excellence at work. Some people seem to have it. Others don’t. For those don’t, the phrase “you lack executive presence” on a formal review can be a death knell for a corporate career. It stalls many middle managers who are looking to break into the executive ranks.

On the flip side, those who have executive presence, seem to have a mysterious quality that propels them forward. Sure, they might do great work as well, but there is capacity they seem to possess that motivates others to follow their leadership (the definition of a leader being one who has followers!) and enables their steady rise up the ranks.

In this blog post, I’ll decode executive presence. It isn’t a magical quality. It is, however, a vague term that if left unexplained will have you avoiding the inner and outer work that is necessary to continue making progress in your career. We can break down executive presence into its fundamental parts, examine them, and use these insights as a tool to zero in the particular behaviors that are present or lacking in your current day to day work.

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7 Ways to Know It’s Time For A New Job

time for new job

Gut-wrenching.

That is the best way to describe a voluntary decision to leave a perfectly good job to pursue something new. I’ve had to go through the painful process of changing jobs many times. It’s not easy, but getting to the point of conviction that it is the right thing to do isn’t impossible either. It helps to know the telltale signs showing you that it’s time to move on to new horizons.

In this post, I’ll share 7 of the ways to know it’s time for a new job. You might face just one of these, or perhaps all 7. Either way, if you are nodding your head in agreement as you read this article, you know the jig is up, and it’s time to plan your exit.

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How to Get a Job You Aren’t Qualified For

get a job you aren't qualified for

Barack Obama. Elon Musk. Bill Gates.

None of them were qualified to do their jobs.

Barack was a young and so-called inexperienced politician when he became the President. Elon is toppling three established and heavy-duty industries after cutting his teeth as a software entrepreneur building…of all things….payment systems. Bill Gates started Microsoft as a college-dropout creating an operating system for the far more experienced and “qualified" executives at IBM.

Me? Well…I’ll share a few stories about my own background to make it clear that I’ve never been overly qualified for the jobs I’ve done.

In fact, the notion that anyone is qualified for the job they do is laughable. By definition, anyone starting out in a career is unqualified. Also, those further along in a career who are continuing to progress and see promotions, are continually feeling challenged.

I vividly recall Mike, one of the Executives I used to work for, giving me a golden piece of advice shortly after my promotion to being a manager (I was in my mid–20’s). When I asked him for advice about leading a new team and feeling out of my league, Mike said, “Ravi, no-one really knows what they are doing! Don’t let them fool you!”

I’ll never forget that advice.

I believe that not only is it POSSIBLE to get a job you aren’t qualified for, I think those are exactly the type of jobs you SHOULD go for. These are the jobs that will stretch you and challenge you. If you are a shoe-in candidate for a job, unless the job responsibilities can grow over time, you will quickly be bored.

This is a counter-intuitive, but comforting notion for those struggling to break into a new field, come back to the workforce after a break or otherwise “punch above their weight” when it comes to getting offers for jobs that are exciting but seem out of their league.

It’s my goal to inspire you in this blog post to aim high when looking for your next job. Not only that, I want to give you practical tips and will help you make it happen.

But first, a personal story…

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10 Benefits of Coaching Every Professional Should Know About

The benefits of coaching are undeniable.

Research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (commissioned by the International Coach Federation) shows that the vast majority of companies (86%) say they have at least made their money back.

Making your money back isn’t a high enough bar. We can look deeper into the self-reported feedback from clients showing sky-high satisfaction and repeat-customer ratings.

Even more compelling, is research in from three different studies showing that companies that have used professional coaching have seen median returns on investment from 5–7x their initial investments!

So yes, coaching can more than pay or itself. However, beyond the facts and figures, what is really interesting is taking a look at the specific benefits that working with a coach can provide.

There is a reason why business people and innovators like Eric Schmidt, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Fred Wilson (VC) are fans of coaching, and why anyone who achieved success in business, sports, music or the arts; surely has a history of working with a coach.

In this post I’ll outline ten of the key benefits that working with a coach can offer you. I could provide a list of 100 items, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll stick to the top ten!

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How To Get The Most Out Of A Mentor

mentor

Do you have a mentor?

For most of my corporate career, I had at least one, and up to three mentors, at a time.

When I think to the successes I’ve had on the job, I can trace much of it back to the conversations I had with those individuals. I still keep in touch with several of them today, though less frequently, now that I’ve left the corporate workplace for entrepreneurship. That doesn’t mean mentors aren’t needed as an entrepreneur, it just means that I haven’t found them yet!

Finding a good mentor might take some time. It was a few years before I met people who I had strong enough rapport with to make the mentoring relationship last for the long-term.

This post is not about how to find a mentor. Instead, I want to discuss an equally important topic of what to do once you have the mentor relationship started. Too many times I’ve heard from coaching clients (or former co-workers) who either say they have given up on finding a mentor or are stuck in a mentor relationship that isn’t working out.

It’s not enough to find someone to learn from. As the mentee, the onus is on you to drive the relationship, and when it has run its useful course for both parties, end it.

Below I’ll share a few strategies to help your mentorship get off on the right foot, and perhaps even help you get back on track if your mentor meetings aren’t working out.

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Essential Career Advice from Tony Robbins

tony robbins career advice

I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins.

I first remember watching his infomercial when I was a little kid, sneaking downstairs to turn on the TV. We only had 4 channels at the time, and he was always on one of them in the middle of the night!

I went through his Personal Power II audio program (on cassette) in my late teens, and attended my first in-person seminar with him in 2003. I’ve since attended much more, and even founded and organized the Tony Robbins-inspired Seattle PowerGroup for years, a local meet-up group of people committed to personal development. When I stopped organizing that group we had over 200 members!

It seems like every time I’m exposed to and immersed in a Tony Robbins program, I get unstuck and find a way to either make a breakthrough or pivot point in my career. I can’t pin down the specific methods he uses to do so. There are so many strategies he teaches!

If you have a chance to attend one of his programs, notably Date With Destiny, I highly recommend it read my review here. At a minimum, grab one of his books or other products. Apply everything you learn for 30 days. You are guaranteed to see results.

I was inspired to write this blog on the topic of Tony Robbins career advice. I wondered what Tony would say if someone asked him for career guidance?

With a few hours or searching and reading, I found the answer! In this blog post, I’ll highlight Tony’s best career advice as featured in several recent interviews he has conducted on the topic.

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Connecting to People for Career Success

career success

Recently I was in Seattle to visit clients and friends. Over the course of a few days, I made it to nine different spots throughout the city. I rented a car but found Uber and walking to be a far more efficient way to get around.

What I enjoy about cities is the fact that people are everywhere and if you’re open and curious enough you can end up meeting folks who are not only interesting but also people who might lead to business or career opportunities down the road.

I’ll share three examples to demonstrate this from my trip, all of which were serendipitous.

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Eric Schmidt Says: Everybody Needs A Coach

Eric Schmidt recounts the resistance he put up the first time someone recommended he work with a coach. After all, why would a chief executive officer of a world-class company need a coach?:

When I started at Google in late 2001, John Doerr, one of our early investors, called me to say, “Bill works with our companies. He’s good at being a coach and mentor.”

I remember saying, “I don’t really need a coach. I’ve been an experienced CEO for many years. I’m not a kid.” John pushed for it: “Tennis players have coaches, and maybe you need a coach, too.” Bill came over to talk to me, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Once you met Bill, you knew you wanted him to help.

The Bill he is referring to is Bill Campbell, former Apple director, and Intuit CEO. He was often referred to as “coach,” in part due to his background as Columbia University’s football coach and also as his role as confidant, mentor and coach to the Silicon Valley tech elite. Coach Campbell passed away in April 2016.

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3 Keys To Choosing The Best Career For You

Stuck choosing the best career for yourself?

Here is one thing I'm certain of, following your passion is terrible advice.

Do you have a good friend that left a great job to become an artist, life coach or perhaps, teach yoga in a quest to follow their passion? I know several. Sadly, many of them returned to their old careers after struggling to not only get their new career off the ground but discovering the thing they were passionate about wasn’t what they were good at or passionate about after making it their full-time job!

Then there is this whole issue of needing to actually earn a paycheck….

Not only is “follow you passion” bad advice, so are the well-trodden paths of following the money trail (pick the most in demand high paying jobs) or sticking to what you are good at (often reinforced since childhood).

The best way to find a job that doesn’t just become a mediocre career is to find a line of work that fulfills all these three dimensions appropriately well: Passion, Skill, Need.

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