7 Secrets for Success

Business expert Lynne Franks tells how to come out on top

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1. Use the Internet

The Web is an invaluable research tool, especially for job seekers and entrepreneurs. Visit monster.com, where more than 50,000 available jobs are listed and you can elicit career advice from experts. Go to kforce.com for tips about resume writing, interviewing and asking for a raise. If you're an entrepreneur, check out inc.com to learn about writing a business plan and finding financing.

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2. Assess Your Attributes

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Then ask people who know you well -- and who will be honest -- to modify it. Finally, think about how you can use each attribute for your benefit. For example, if you are always restless, consider finding a job that includes travel.

3. Overcome Your Fears

To reach your potential, it's critical that you conquer any fears you might have. Start by forcing yourself to tackle something unrelated to work, something that you've never dared to do. For example, I used to fear going to the movies by myself, but one day I just did it. After accomplishing this challenge, your old phobia will seem silly, like mine did, and you'll have more self-confidence. Use this to face your fears at the office, such as public speaking, one by one.

4. Declutter Your Life

Getting organized will let you free up your mind and gain clarity. In addition to clearing out your desk and files, clean your computer desktop by trashing old emails and documents. To eliminate paper pileup, use an electric organizer. Also organize personal things, like your wallet, makeup bag and clothing closet.

5. Protect Your Sanity

Being stress-free is key for warding off burnout. Try doing at least one physical activity a day. Also, create a quiet space in your home where you can relax; go there for at least five minutes each day.

6. Don't Trust Blindly

Not everyone you work with is necessarily on your side. Be careful whom you rely upon and whom you confide in.

7. Be True to Your Values

Ask yourself: How do I want to live my life? Then think about whether your company allows you to do this. If it doesn't, consider a job change. Lynne Franks is a seasoned PR pro and the author of The Seed Handbook (Putnam; 2000). Log on to www.lynnefranks.com for more career advice.

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