An old friend of mine (he’s 35!) handed me a quote this morning. It’s from “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” by Paul Arden.
The best people can be difficult. They are single-minded, they have tunnel vision. That’s what makes them good. They are reluctant to compromise.
They can be intimidating, especially to the young, but if you approach them with an attitude that you want to do something well, they will respond positively.
Because they want to do something well too.
And if you are clear about what you want and strong about getting it, though there may be arguments, they will respect you (if not at the time, afterwards — I didn’t say it was going to be easy).
The chances of you coming away with a superior job is not guaranteed, but it’s greater than if you had worked with Mr. Average Nice Guy.
I have seen many top recent graduates run up against strong directors and VPs who scare them off. To be candid, it’s happened to me, too. But it is true that we’re all here at work to do a job, and most of us want to do the best job possible. Though someone may be focused and strong, there are ways you can work together. Paul’s advice rings true to me.
I’m reminded of something a mentor of mine said last year. She said that the best boss she ever had was the hardest driving jerk she ever knew. He wasn’t fair, either. But he taught her to be tough, to do all her homework, and to be confident in herself. It wasn’t until later that she learned he was harder on her because he knew she could handle it. Today she’s wildly successful in business, a terribly interesting person, and a good friend.
It’s the biggest challenges that truly build our strengths, and it never hurts to be reminded.