Is right now really the best time to be selfish? Absolutely! Before I go further, let me define selfishness. It is an interest in making the right connections, getting the right training and advancing in your career.

Just after a meeting with his supervisor, Don called and requested an urgent coaching session. His excitement about developing his skills through taking a technology course was just dashed. Don knows it’s important to continually develop his skills in order remain marketable in a changing economy.

After spending some time researching his customers, he realized that if he received training in a particular technology, his company could increase revenue by adding an additional service. As a result, Don would develop his skill set while finding new ways to add value to the bottom line of his company.

Smart, right? Most certainly!

Why in the world would Don’s supervisor slam the door in his face then? It’s quite simply, really. The way he presented the information did not serve in his best interest.

Here’s how their conversation went: Don walked into Sarah’s (his supervisor) office requesting training which, by the way, cost more than $3000. He said he needed to keep developing his skills and thought this training would help. With a tightening of the budget, the last thing Sarah was focused on is ensuring Don was able advance his skills, so she denied his request.

Don wanted that training for two important reasons: to add a new line of revenue for his company and develop his own skill set. After our session, Don went back to Sarah with data on how this particular skill set would increase revenue for the company. This time he left out the details of his self-interest and got the opportunity.

I can only imagine the perception Sarah had of Don the first time he came into her office demanding training to develop his career – didn’t he know the company was struggling?! Yep, it turns out he did and simply didn’t know how to communicate his full interest.

The more you develop yourself, build business relationships, gain experiences and achieve goals, the better it is for both you and your company. So, to that I say be selfish. Focus on developing yourself and adding value to your organization. Oh, you might also consider helping your friends/colleagues make important connections – you never know where that might take you!

Rock on!


Misti Burmeister – The Bridge Between Generations