Getting Ready for the Job of a Lifetime


When I was 24 and stationed in Germany, the Secretary of the Air Force came to visit. The base commander selected three Airmen to have breakfast with the Secretary: a captain, a master sergeant, and a senior airman (me).

My Chief then asked what I was going to talk about at the breakfast. The blank stare I gave him must have been a clue that I had no idea.

The recommendation he gave me next would change the way I approached every job thereafter.

“Brainstorm what you would do if you held that job, even for a day. Write down your ideas and don’t stop for several pages. Once you have a few pages of ideas, cross off the ones that’ll get you arrested. Then pick the five ideas that would make the biggest difference. Ask him about those five and see why he isn’t pursuing these difference makers.”

So I did. And it was a great breakfast. Through that list and those top five, I had the chance to see inside the mind of a successful senior leader and, at the same time, expand my perspective.

I’ve used this technique ever since, not for breakfast, but to prepare for new opportunities.

Want to prepare for a promotion (even before you are selected)? Try this technique.

Hired for a new role in the company? Use this brainstorming idea to help prepare you to make the biggest difference possible.

Want an entirely new career or the job of a lifetime? Find your top five and then interview people in those dream roles and occupations.

Our chances in life to make a difference come quickly.

Will you be ready?

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