The No. 1 Quality for Career Success

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successThere's nothing like a healthy dose of honesty to keep you in check and remind you about what is important. A recent blog post by Curt Rosengren for U.S. News & Word Report does just that in regards to the key to career success. It's "as easy as putting in a little hard work," Rosengren says.

"Unless you're really lucky, there is no push-button route to a career you love. There are definitely things you can do to ease the way and increase the potential for success (positive thinking and working with intentions among them), but there's no substitute for good old-fashioned hard, focused, persistent work."

Rosengren's logic is seemingly simple, and therefore refreshing. He is not trying to reinvent the wheel here or create some new insights about a topic that is so personal and case-specific. He does not distract or dilute your efforts with a series of steps to follow or a silly mantra to live by, nor does he overwhelm you with so much information that you forget what you are supposed to be doing. There is one simple thing to do, not 10 steps to follow.

Rosengren clearly states that embracing what you are passionate about in your career, will in turn lead to passion in your life. In short, by reminding us of the obvious, he provides the most basic, yet insightful, information.

Even though we all know and understand the many benefits of hard work, it is still important that we are reminded of this -- frequently. Such reminders are useful in learning many life lessons. For example, children may know that they are loved by their parents and secure in their home, but it never hurts for them to hear the words "I love you."


Words to live by

Summarizing his viewpoint on the No. 1 quality for career success, Rosengren offers a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:

"There is no way to success in art but to take off your coat, grind paint, and work like a digger on the railroad, all day and every day."

And there is a quote from Ernest Hemingway's that says it even more simply:

"Work every day. No matter what has happened the day or night before, get up and bite on the nail."


Real examples of success

Still struggling to believe that something as simple as hard work can be your key to career success? Look to the many real-life examples around you.

In a recent interview with Robert Wittman, a former FBI agent an art detective and New York Times bestselling author, I asked him what made him want to write his memoir 'Pricessless' and what he hoped his readers would learn from reading his book. He had this to say:

"I try to make it come through that I am nothing special, and that if you want to make it happen, these types of jobs are out there. You just have to keep trying hard and keep working and you can get these jobs."

Another example of what can happen when you work hard and follow your career passion is Linden Wolbert, professional mermaid. Yes, you read that correctly. A real, live woman who is capable of swimming for long periods underwater found her ideal career because of hard work and her desire to be in the water.

In our exclusive interview with Wolbert, she recounts how she moved across the country to complete her film and science degree and was then hired as residence director at Emerson College's L.A. campus. "I was on-call 24 hours a day for the students and worked in an office from 9 to 5 during the week. I did underwater film shoots on the side and dived whenever possible. It became clear that I should leave my job when all I did was think about being underwater, or my next dive," Wolbert says.

D.L., a 25-year old corporate sales executive in Washington, D.C., was sick and tired of cold calls, micro managers in pinstripe suits and pounding the pavement to drum up business for her staffing agency employer. She wanted more and was not happy at work. As her company moved to downsize, D.L. took the initiative to set out on her own to become a writer. With no projects or job prospects lined up, D.L. lived off her savings and waited tables at night until she built up her freelance career, which she is still growing almost 10 years later.

"I decided I'd rather be poor and doing something that made me happy, than financially secure and miserable in high heels. My heart wasn't in sales; and in that respect I became my own worst enemy at work because I essentially sabotaged myself and my career mindset," she recalls.


The benefits of hard work

So whatever your career passion is, go after it and pursue it. You have to remember that it is never too late to do what you love, and doing what you love is what will ultimately bring you success and happiness -- whether it is running an antique store, decorating cookies or teaching prisoners to read. Sometimes you just have to wait longer and look harder to find that perfect marriage of career and passion that really makes your heart sing.

In the meantime, a little hard work goes a long way.

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