For all those who strive to be successful in their professional lives, whether they work for a corporation or they are an entrepreneur, there are a few things they (or should I say you) definitely need to have in order to achieve and keep their edge.

Having a vision is critical to being able to climb the corporate ladder. Your vision is what will allow you to stay motivated while working toward achieving the goals you've set for yourself. Goal-setting isn't always easy, as there is an art behind it that involves knowing how to set realistic and achievable goals while also managing your time and energy as you spend time completing the necessary actions to meet your milestones along the way that ultimately lead you right into the hands of success.

Knowing your vision and taking action to make it a reality takes more than just yourself. You need a support network that will act not just as cheerleaders to help keep you motivated but also to be the "naysayers" and play devil’s advocate. These elements, when combined, create a recipe for success. In order for you to earn the promotion to the next rung, you need something we call respect. Respect is a two-way street. Not only do you need to hold respect for those to whom you report, but those who report to you and those on the same level must do the same.

Peer respect is important and carries a great deal of weight when it comes time for superiors to make decisions regarding who gets the promotion or opportunity and who doesn't. Mutual peer respect shows your management team that you have the fundamental skills to be a great leader. As you move up in the corporation, the respect you gain from peers turns into the bases for leadership respect and loyalty. When leadership witnesses the peer respect, it increases their own level of respect for you—and with their respect comes their trust. When leadership or management trusts employees, they are more apt to promote you. The higher the level of respect others hold toward you, the easier and faster your support network grows. And, of course, with support comes opportunity.

We all love opportunity when it knocks, but are we all ready to answer when it does? It's easy to say "Yes! Of course, come on in, Opportunity!" But in reality opportunity means increased responsibility—and increased responsibility means increased stress. This is where our professional lives and personal lives begin to overlap. It also explains why when a person thinks she leaves work at work and home at home, she's really only feeling herself. Keeping the edge at work means being motivated to stay healthy in all areas of your life: financially, relationally, spiritually, physically, etc.

Motivation on the personal side of life can come from remembering the achievements you've made or the realization of your dreams. These experiences that affect you carry over into your professional life; you do need to know how to keep the emotional element of your lives separate, though. This is where your support network again plays an important role. Your support network will provide you a safe environment in which to purge your emotions, learn the gift of whatever experience you may just have had, and figure out how to apply it in both your personal and professional lives.

Having mutual respect allows for a more honest communication exchange. Your support network knows when it is time to play Devil's Advocate versus Cheerleader. With the right support network, you are able to manage the emotional element by staying focused on your vision while also keeping motivated during your journey.

To understand what it takes to be at the top and stay there, you need to know what edge you have over everyone else aiming for the same top rung as you. Mutual respect supports upward mobility and earns greater trust, resulting in more opportunities for advancement. Your vision professionally will also depend on the vision you hold for yourself as an individual. Part of your edge is having a clear set of guidelines (mutual respect and boundaries) and aligning yourself with the correct people who inspire and motivate you (your support network). That, in turn, will lead you to achieve all the goals and dreams you hold in life.

Until next time, embrace your inner wisdom.


Author's Bio: 

Karen Kleinwort is a certified professional coach who specializes in life, business and health coaching. Kleinwort also holds a BS in Business Management and an AA in Holistic Health & Fitness Promotion; additionally, she is a Reiki Master and CranioSacral Practitioner. Kleinwort is available for interviews and appearances. You can contact her at or (877) 255-0761.