A commitment to excellence is at the core of a long, satisfying, rewarding career.  Spend a couple of minutes thinking about the promises you’ve made concerning your career development.  How would you measure yourself?

Now let’s take a peek into the mind and the actions of Lang Lang the world renowned Chinese, concert pianist:

I think this year the performance, from my understanding, is better than last year somehow…. Every year you learn a lot of things. In one year’s time, you’re actually working with a lot of musicians. Last year, I had the great privilege to work with Herbie Hancock; to work with the great conductor who played in the opening of the London Olympics, Sir Simon Rattle; and also, I met so many great artists from the pop world as well. And watching live shows, live concerts, live operas and so all of those things are actually learning when you’re piano playing and all that actually gives you a different dimension on the keyboard. So for sure, experience, learning experiences and actions certainly help.”*

Wow! How do you match up?

What did we glean from Lang Lang that is transferrable to our own career?

  • He didn’t simply spend time single-mindedly immersed in the world of the concert pianist. Lang Lang consciously and avidly engages in cross-pollination with artists from a wide array of proficiencies. When was the last time you had an exchange with a business person who works and breathes and experiences an entirely different industry from your own?
  • He hangs out with the best and the brightest in the broad arena of his business—music. Spending time with these greats inspires him to improve and expand his performance repertoire and depth. When was the last time you consciously chose to spend time in the presence of and at the feet of other greats in your field?
  • He actively pursued learning experiences. What percentage of your career have you allocated toward development and improvement?
  • Did you notice his expectations surrounding learning? For him, it is not only a key ingredient to success; it is built seamlessly into his schedule. The bottom line is that Lang Lang anticipates and commits to being better next year than he is this year. What about you? What expectations do you have regarding your career performance evolution?

More than just listening to his words, I wish you could have seen his face. Lang Lang was alive with passion, curiosity and excitement. That frame of mind is one I would wish for everyone.


*As heard on the Tavis Smiley, October 10, 2012 PBS Show

Career Advancement Strategies

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