The One Move That Makes for Career Magic

This might shake up your career if you've been trying to climb the ladder with the same old routine.

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Michael Wade
If career advancement is to be compared, as is often the case, to the ascent of a high mountain, many of you are blocked beneath an impossible ledge. You've tried all of the standard tricks and yet no progress has been made. Logic would point to using another approach, but here's a strange fact: Many climbers will simply apply the same technique over and over again in the hope that something will magically change.

In some cases, the argument may be made that, "I'm not the person I was last year or even last week. I'm much more capable, knowledgeable, etc." That may be true, but the one bit of reality that has not changed is the ledge. It may have become more formidable due to erosion caused by your repeated attempts.

Seasoned climbers, of course, won't rule out moving laterally in order to move up. They don't waste time or energy on a route that is not promising, and they scoff at any reliance on magic. There is another factor, however, that can kick in when it comes to careers that is, in a way, almost magical:

Take some time off several times a week for an activity that is seemingly unrelated to career advancement. Exercise is probably the best choice since its benefits include reduced stress and increased confidence. Volunteer work can also take you away from career obsessions while providing needed perspective and meaning.

Here's where the magic comes in: Your strength will be renewed, your senses sharpened, and you will find ways of getting not over but around the ledge. The key is devoting part of your time to pondering something that has nothing to do with your objective.

Michael Wade writes, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.