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Managing Your Career

What Army Ranger School Can Teach You About Managing Your Career

Today is a special but bittersweet day. It’s my son’s 23rd birthday and the first birthday I can’t see him or even hear his voice. Why? Because he’s at Army Ranger School trudging through the mountains, starving, and fulfilling a dream.

As a mom, I try not to think about how much weight he’s losing, the fact that he’s not brushing his teeth or has his cell phone handy, and instead I try to focus on how happy he is, how determined he is, and how he is fully in his element. He is absolutely a round peg in a round hole, and I couldn’t be happier or more proud of him.

As an executive career coach, it also makes me think about the similarities between Army Ranger School and managing your career…and, believe me, there are bazillions! The best news is that you don’t have to endure the extreme conditions of Ranger School to learn the lessons.

Here are 3 Things Army Ranger School Can Teach You About Managing Your Career.

Don’t be Discouraged by the Odds

Only 10% of soldiers graduate without repeating one of the grueling stages. 10%! If every Army soldier looked at those odds and decided that the opportunity was doomed to fail so why even bother trying, then our military wouldn’t have any Rangers at all.

The same is true for your career. Do you stop short, self-sabotage, or not even try at all because the chances of success are low? Studies show that women need 100% of all of the requirements and qualifications on a job description before they apply. 100%! A lot of my career coaching for women is focused on belief, confidence, courage, and not being discouraged by the odds…just go for it!

Never Give Up

No one is guaranteed success, but what can separate you from the rest of your competition is how badly you want it and how hard you’re willing to work to get it. You don’t go for that promotion or huge client because you’re guaranteed success. You go for it because you want it, deserve it, and are resilient enough to keep repeating those “grueling stages” until you get it.

If you go straight through Ranger School it should take about 60 days. It took one soldier 243 days to graduate and get his Ranger tab. He kept trying and never gave up. Know what you want badly enough in your career that you will keep trying, keep fighting, keep improving, and keep persevering until you finally get your “tab.”

Surround Yourself with the Best

There is no question that Army Rangers are the best of the best, and a big reason why is that they surround themselves with the very best. There is no bigger team sport than the military and no more important team than your platoon. In order to get through Ranger School you need the help, support, motivation, and commitment from those around you. There can be no weak link.

Take a look around. Are you surrounded by the best of the best? Are you challenged, inspired, and encouraged by the people around you? We are the product of the five people we spend the most time with…so choose wisely.

We may not all want to become Army Rangers (or professional career coaches), but we can all learn valuable career management lessons from them. Happy Birthday to my amazing son…I learn so much from you every day and I love you!




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