Ever let an opportunity pass you by that in hindsight could have been golden? Shied away from the scary pitch that could well have scored you a promotion? We’ve all felt less than gung-ho in the workplace at some point (Friday afternoons mainly), but blasting out of the blocks and confronting challenges with confidence and enthusiasm can get you places faster than you thought possible. It’s not about being tough as nails and stepping on others to get ahead, Apprentice style; the skill go of go-getting is subtler and far more emotionally intelligent.
We called on Michael Parker, founder of PitchCoach , former Olympian and author of It’s Not What You Say, It’s The Way You Say It to give us a few pointers on harnessing your inner go-getter, and letting her take the floor.
What would you say are the main characteristics of a go-getter?
Hungry, ambitious, risk-taker, competitive, self-belief coupled with people and communication skills.
Some people assume that a go-getter is a personality type. How can everyone become a go-getter, even if you might consider yourself an introvert?
The first five characteristics are shared by extroverts and introverts alike but the latter can learn communication skills that offset shyness, allowing them to get their message across and do this with emotional guns a-blazing. They will need to put themselves through rehearsal until confidence grows, which it will.
On the flip side, how do you ensure that you don't come off as bossy or arrogant?
Make sure you are good at listening. People will listen to you if you listen to them, and you won’t seem bossy or arrogant. A little empathy goes a long way.
Go-getters burst with energy- how can we boost our energy levels at work, especially when faced with challenges? How does a go-getter juggle everything?
Think like an athlete. Adopt a disciplined training regime that balances your use of energy and builds variety. Don’t let pressure of work prevent you doing what doctors recommend, 30 minutes exercise of some kind daily. Don’t face the challenges burning the midnight oil. Like an athlete, rest before the race -even if it’s only an hour or so, doing something relaxing or distracting.
Any tips on staying determined and enthusiastic when things aren't going your way?
Prepare for rejection. It happens to everyone, so don’t wallow in it. Take a break and tackle something different. Talk to people who inspire you.
Are go-getters fearless?
Only fools are without fear! Go-getters however embrace risk, they recognise that all performances and challenges have a degree of risk. Each time they face it, in practice and in rehearsal, the more comfortable they are, the less fearful.
Who are go-getters in history or the public eye that we should look to?
Lena Dunham, acting, writing, producing, changing perceptions; Angelina Jolie, from actress to international charity campaigner; Tracey Emin, from unmade bed to Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy; Karen Brady, from football manager director to the House of Lords. And, in a very special way, Malala Yousafzai.
How can we be go-getters in other areas of our life?