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Career development lessons from successful leaders

Career development lessons from successful leaders

As you plan the course of your career, who better to turn to for advice than some of the world's most respected business leaders?

Crystalising your career plan is tough business in a noisy world. But sometimes, all it takes is somebody to capture a life lesson in a sentence or two to spark that purpose you know in your heart but have not yet identified.

Against this backdrop, commissioned a project to learn a thing or two from today’s most successful founders – and apply those learnings to their own lives. While the original report carries lessons from 15 successful founders, we've shortlisted a few of our favourites below. 

Buffett Partnership's Warren Buffett: "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently." 

Why it works:
A poor reputation will make your teammates and clients less likely to trust you. If you are perceived as untrustworthy people won‘t want to work with you.

Pro tip:
When facing a difficult situation or a confrontation with a co-worker, practice deep-breathing exercises before you react:
- Step 1: Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose.
- Step 2: Draw your breath fully down to your belly, and hold it for a moment.
- Step 3: Breathe out slowly through your mouth, and repeat the process.

Mary Kay Cosmetics' Mary Kay Ash: "Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve."

Why it works:
If you restrict yourself with negative self-talk you will be less productive and achieve less than you could during your career.

Pro tip:
Shut down your inner critic by following these pro tips:
1. Take pride in your achievements. Write down a list of your skills to reaffirm what you‘re good at.
2. Practice power poses. Stand up straight, square your shoulders, open up your chest and breathe deeply.
3. Visualise your goals. Think of yourself succeeding. What does it look like? How does it make you feel? and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg: "You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have."

Why it works:
You will waste valuable time by waiting for a 100% perfect opportunity, and you will guarantee learning by making 100% of the opportunity given to you.

Pro tip:
Learn something from every opportunity by always asking three simple questions:
1. What went wrong?
2. What went unexpectedly well?
3. What could I do better next time? 

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