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How to get ahead: A Counter-Intuitive Process

Often clients (people receiving coaching) want to get ahead in life. The definition, for most, can be boiled down to a raw essence: Client’s want access to more resources which they can then disperse as they see fit.

Imagine a lottery winner. Millions in the bank of free, easy spending money. What is first on the list? A new house. Second a new car of course and maybe a new truck to haul all the new motorcycles. With the house and vacation taken care of, how about a vacation. Often lottery winners end up spending so much money they end up broke again (but at least with more toys!)

Now let’s examine some of our successful business owners. There is a scene in the movie “The Company Men” where Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner are having a discussion about why the crew is at home and Kevin Costner is busy doing the work for free. He is doing the work because he can’t afford to pay his crew the overtime but if the job isn’t finished he won’t be able to pay them at all. The motivation for the Kevin Costner character is completely about helping others. What does Kevin Costner get for this effort besides hard-work? He does get a nice house, the privilege of directing the work, and access to good contracts when times are not lean.

Think now to the bosses in your life that you really enjoyed working … how selfless were they? One of my favorites always treated me like the most important person in the room. He never took a call or showed up late to our meetings … or any other person. He existed solely to help all of us succeed. In doing so; his health waned, his family suffered from work-life balance but he was there for anyone any time. I no longer work for him but I can call him today and he will make time for me should I ask. How much does this hero make? Well he is a salary man but let’s just say he makes more than you and I, dear reader, combined per year plus bonus. And he gives completely, unselfishly of himself.

Would you like to get ahead? Find a way to give completely and unselfishly of yourself. People want leaders that will take care of them. People want to understand that if you are giving the tools and the resources to be in control you will use that power to the greatest ability to benefit them. People want to know that you are there … for them! Want some tips

  • Be friend’s to everyone. Let’s not get political but read some of the positive tales of how President Trump treated guests at his hotels when he had no reason to. Be the person that is their and always has time
  • Think first of others in the buffet. Company lunch? Eat Last. Make sure every one else has a plate first
  • At a group event? Be the first to setup and break down the equipment
  • Notice someone getting bullied at work; step in (and yes this happens all the time)
  • Notice a person struggling with skills at work: teach them
  • Notice a superstar stuck in the middle? Elevate him (yes, promote people above you)
  • Work for a large company? Pursue company job listings and actively scour your personal network for great fits. Be the person that helps others get jobs
  • Make time for people that have no immediate value to you

The list goes on. Notice that the entire list is about others and not yourself. Don’t let yourself be exploited and with that one and only condition give nearly unconditionally. Your sacrifices for others are what you have to do to get ahead.

What about you? Do you have any tips for how to get ahead by giving? Comments below:


Ennis Lynch

Ennis Lynch

Ennis Lynch is a Professional Coach Based in South Florida. His primary area of coaching focuses on coaching Software Engineering Leadership. On occasion he does Agile Transformation work as well but prefers coaching at the Team and Individual level vs. the organizational level.


If you have ever wondered: is professional coaching right for you ? Are you a Software Engineering Manager, Director of Engineering, Director of Software Engineering, VP of Engineering, or CTO reach out for a free initial coaching session. Initial coaching sessions are the real deal, no hard-sells, no "here is what you would get if you paid". Individuals that receive a free coaching session will get a normal private professional coaching session of 90 minutes (30 minute onboarding + 60 minute coaching) and it will be up to you to follow-up if you want to continue with help on your journey.


Ennis Lynch

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