In a fairly recent 1-1 with my boss, I asked what I needed to do to get to the next level. His answer was to develop a killer instinct. I knew the term, but I never really considered it necessary to succeed. My professional toolbox consists of being a hard worker, a willingness to learn from others, a good listener and having the self-confidence to share my experiences, be persuasive where needed and conciliatory when required.
Months later, I still can’t get this comment out of my head. So, I recently looked up the phrase just to be sure I knew what he meant.
- A ruthless determination to succeed or win; competitive
- A way of behaving in order to achieve an advantage for yourself without considering or worrying if it hurts other people
Well, I’m determined, but I’m certainly not ruthless. I look to achieve great things, but I’m not going to push others down to get there.
Let’s face it. I’m no tough cookie, but, I’m not a doormat either. So, where does that leave me? Is there happy medium?
And then I thought, maybe there is. Why can’t I develop my own brand of killer instinct? Here is what I’ve come up with so far:
- Setting a goal and then work backwards – For instance, I have a goal of losing 25 pounds by the end of the year. It isn’t going to happen overnight. so I’ve broken this down into much smaller and manageable goals of a pound or two a week. This allows me to focus on small victories and not allow myself to be overwhelmed by the big picture.
- Being accountable – When I was looking for a new job a few years ago, I hired a career coach. Every week, we would sit down for a meaningful discussion and he would give me homework for the week. The following week, we would talk about what I worked on, what was stopping me from moving forward and eventually inching towards my goal. Having someone to report to about my progress is essential to my success.
- Putting in the work – No one else is going to do it but me. If I don’t do it, it isn’t going to happen.
- Embrace setbacks – Not every day is going to be perfect. The fact that I tried has to account for something. The past is the past and I’ll keep going until I get where I want to be.
- Keep going – My resilience is much stronger than my need to win. When I fall down, I think about what I can learn from my mistakes and then pick myself back up. I don’t quit.
- Be true to myself – I’m not someone that needs to win at all costs. We are all in this together. I’ll be your mentor, your friend, or your biggest cheerleader for you and I hope you will be for me as well.
What does your brand of “killer instinct” look like?