Want to Get Ahead? Take 5. Learn to Be Quiet.
Seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? When we want an opportunity or a raise, we need to ask for it. If we’re being mistreated, we need to speak out. When we see wrong being done, we need call attention to it.

So how can being quiet help us get ahead? Crack this case and reap the benefits!

Size up the situation

The workplace is a din of noise. Everyone’s tuned into to multiple channels at the same time:

Engaging in live conversation

Texting and taking cell phone calls

Checking email on mobile devices

We believe that staying “in the know” is essential to success, so we’ve become gourmands of information in a buffet without limits.

When everyone around you is gobbling up and spitting out the details, tidbits, and finds, you’ve now given yourself a career edge.

Ideas and innovation move careers. S/he, who can put the pieces together to solve problems and create something unique, earns the reward.

Quiet is your ally.

You don’t miss things when your mind is quiet, you discover them.

Quiet is a lot of things, particularly the absence of noise, turmoil, agitation, and trouble. What we need for our careers is internal quiet.

When everyone else keeps their thinking fragmented, swatting at bits and pieces of disjointed communication, you need to use quiet to intensify your focus. Zone into your internal strategist and set out to make your mark.

Putting quiet to work

Quiet is a powerful tool when you use it effectively, so:

1. Listen and ask — We learn from what we hear, so it’s up to us to be quiet and listen to what others have to say. That’s where the insights are. The better you listen and the more you ask, the more you learn. When we’re quiet, others will talk.

2. Listen to yourself — We spend an amazing amount of time talking to ourselves instead of staying quiet within. It’s better to listen to our inner voice than to think over it. When we quiet our minds, give our subconscious a chance to reveal its insights, it will deliver powerful aha moments. Skeptical? Just try it.

3. Remove distractions — Learn to be alone with yourself. Distractions get in the way of your internal listening. If you’re scoffing at this, think of the last time you sat alone with no one around and nothing to distract you. If you can’t remember that’s a message to you. If you do remember and the experience was uncomfortable, you need to figure out why.

4. Stop forcing thoughts — Self-imposed pressure to come up with new ideas and solutions often becomes internal noise that blocks the quiet you need. If you have to come up with an idea, pronto, do something unrelated to your job: go work out, read a novel, take a walk, or take a shower where many good ideas are revealed!

5. Pick up on vibes — Vibes pierce the quiet. It’s what happens in the spaces between the noise. We get vibes about people, risk, and opportunity. Even when we’re in the thick of things, a quiet mind gathers up those vibes and triggers our next move. When we’re distracted, we miss those vibes or misread them, so it’s in our best interest to stay tuned in.

Quiet practice

We’ve been conditioned to run a fast pace. We’ve come to believe that the faster we run the more success we’ll have. Just look at the movers and shakers where you work. Some may have “arrived” by running over people, but most had their wits about them and showcased their focused, clear-headed, and centered way of getting the job done.

So we need to practice internal quiet. Career success is, in large measure, about differentiating ourselves from others, by standing out through the way we achieve essential outcomes. Not only does learning to harness quiet help you to get ahead, it also helps you the manage stress. Now shush….