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Mighty Minutes by Christine Comaford-Lynch

Christine’s Mighty Minutes will help OP readers get ahead…

In addition to answering letters submitted to the site, Christine is also sharing her inspirational ‘Mighty Minutes’ with us. These entertaining nuggets of entrepreneurial wisdom will be featured weekly on www.OfficePolitics.com.

Read this week’s Mighty Minute #8: Ow! That’s my foot in the door!

You’re probably wondering what this week’s message is all about, judging by the wacky subject line… Think about it. What would make you say something like “Ow! That’s my foot in there”? Right — when it’s stuck in a door. And that’s exactly what I want to help you do today. Many of us tend to look at a job or opportunity that isn’t quite ideal and think “Oh, that’s beneath me. I can’t take that job.” But don’t discount those opportunities, because they can often be life-changing experiences.

How I got in the door at Microsoft
When I first tried to get a job at Microsoft, I went in the front door like everyone else. And guess what? It didn’t work. They wouldn’t hire me because I didn’t have a high school diploma or a college degree. But as it is with most large corporations, there’s always a side door and a back door.

So I tried them both and eventually landed a temporary contract position as a tester. Now, at Microsoft, being a tester is a very low level position with no glamor. And I was waaaay more qualified for bigger and better things. But I wasn’t worried about that — all I wanted to do was GET MY FOOT IN THE DOOR. I knew that another opportunity would come soon. And it did. Soon after I was hired, Microsoft got in trouble with the IRS because they had hundreds of contractors who, by the IRS definition, looked just like employees in terms of status and the nature of their work. Here was my opportunity! I stood up and offered employment to my fellow contract workers at a rate that undercut the agency that Microsoft wanted us to use. Literally overnight, I hired 35 employees and started my first company. And that same company made me my first million.

But here’s the key — if I hadn’t taken that lowly, ego-crunching testing position I wouldn’t have been in the position to offer a solution to Microsoft’s problem.

Turn Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones

What about you? Are you in a position where you feel you’re surrounded by stumbling blocks? Hey, we all run into those from time to time. Nobody knows that better than me. But stumbling blocks are actually stepping stones. And once you change your perspective and see them in this way, you can use them to your advantage. So this week, make a list of those things which are standing in your way of success. Look them over carefully, then strategize about how you can turn each one of those stumbling blocks into stepping stones. As the Tibetans say “What you focus on, you become.” In other words, don’t focus on the hurdle, focus on your goal!

That’s it for now. Until next time, may all your ventures be MIGHTY!


Read the archive of past Mighty Minutes

christine comaford-lynchChristine Comaford-Lynch is CEO of Mighty Ventures, an innovation accelerator which helps startups and established businesses to gain traction at rapid speed. She has built and sold 5 of her own businesses with an average 700% return on investment, served as a board director or in-the-trenches advisor to 36 startups, and has invested in over 200 startups as a venture capitalist or angel investor. Christine has consulted to the White House (Clinton and Bush), 700 of the Fortune 1000, and hundreds of small businesses. She has repeatedly identified and championed key trends and technologies years before market acceptance. Christine’s popular column on www.BusinessWeek.com/SmallBiz launched in January 2007.

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