IF You Want a Truly Successful Career, Try Doing Just 5% More Than You Did Before
The following article was featured by Young Upstarts on August 30, 2016.
By Michael Alden, author of “5% More: Making Small Changes to Achieve Extraordinary Results“
Why do some people seem so successful at whatever they do in their jobs or their careers? Do they have exceptional talents or knowledge? Do they know the right people or come from a privileged background? The truth is that highly successful people are not any different from you or me. They come from all sorts of backgrounds; have a wide range of educational and personal experiences; and may be talented or just plain average. But what they do have in common is that they understand the concept of “5% More”.
I am the perfect example of someone who has used the principle of 5% More to achieve greater success than I could ever have imagined. Like me, if you put just 5% More effort into any aspect of your life, you will not only achieve your goals, you will surpass them. The thing that holds most people back is that they commit to making big changes too quickly. They move full steam ahead and easily become overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done.
While I was in law school, I took a job in a call center in the basement of a dingy building with no windows. I had just declared bankruptcy, was about to get married, stressed about keeping my grades up, and I needed money badly. Initially, I was just a call center agent who made sales and got paid a commission.
After awhile, I was given the opportunity to become a Team Leader on the sales floor, responsible for roughly a dozen or so other agents. I would be compensated for the extra work by receiving a small override on my team commission. The catch was, if I wasn’t on the phones making my own sales, I wouldn’t be making money for myself. But instead of looking at this as a burden or an added responsibility of having to manage other people, I viewed this as an opportunity to increase my net worth. That’s when I realized that I had to embrace a 5% More mindset. I had to be open to giving 5% More in a way that at first seemed contrary to what I wanted to achieve. I had to open my mind to 5% More. And when I did, it led me to making a whole lot more money.
If you put 5% More effort, time, or commitment into your career, you too will reap huge rewards in the long run. Here are three actions you can take to get started:
Stay 5% longer at work.
Putting in an extra few minutes at work seems minor, but completing an additional task, week after week, can add up quicker than you think.
Increase your results by 5%.
Don’t focus on activities, focus on results. Looking at how to increase your results, even by a small amount, will help you identify and eliminate actions that waste your time.
Spend 5% more time thinking about how to save your company money.
If you can identify a small change that can save your employer thousands of dollars, you will increase your net worth to the company. Discussing that savings during your performance review will help you get a raise.
As you start to embrace a 5% More mindset, you will think of other ways to use it to build your career. Whatever your task is, tell yourself you will just do a bit more. Then depending on your goal, you compound it. Each day or week or month, do 5% More than what you previously did, and continue to build on it. I call this creating micro goals that lead to micro successes that can be compounded and turned into major wins. It’s simple and it’s doable. That’s how people achieve solid, long-lasting success. They do it step-by-step.