In part 1 of this post we explored the 2 critical components of your career - focus on fit and get a guide. Today we review 3 more critical components to give you control over your career success! 3. BOUNCE-BACK FROM BLUNDERS

Let’s face it - we all make career mistakes at some point. A project goes poorly. A client gets angry. Your boss gets furious. Mistakes happen. Even the great, incomparable David Letterman, got a few rotten tomatoes chucked at him. In fact, in 1995, David Letterman was invited to host the 67th Academy Awards  and instead of making any adjustments to his casual, irreverent sense of humor, he kept his brand and delivered a signature performance. Critics blasted Letterman because they thought that his approach reduced the prestigiousness of the ceremony and many believed that this performance reduced the ratings of his show.

What can you learn from Letterman’s blunder? Bounce back! David Letterman didn’t let this significant setback affect him too much. Instead of getting down on himself, he chose to make fun of himself and used his poor performance at the Academy Awards as an ongoing gag in his show. The learning here is clear. When life throws you over-ripe tomatoes, make spaghetti sauce. Learn from your blunders and like Letterman, use them to rocket yourself to stardom.


Dave boosted famous people’s platforms by introducing their book, movie, or latest nonprofit in his irreverent and humorous way. People like movie stars, celebrities, and political figures filled the air time of his show.

David Letterman’s platform was huge and what he offered to his viewers was a humorous escape from their everyday lives into the lives of the rich and famous.  Sure his show was successful, because of his unique and magnetizing personality. Everyone wanted to tune in to see what Dave thought about a particular event. But the majority of his show was about other people.

The career tip you can glean from Dave’s example follows the advice of motivational speaker Zig Ziglar who says,”You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” This was true for Letterman and can be true for you.

Ask yourself. Who are the people you can help right now? What are some ways that you can promote them and what they offer? How might doing this enable your own career to propel forward?


Beginning in 1998, a woman suffering from schizophrenia began stalking him. The woman wrought havoc on Letterman’s personal life by breaking into his house, pitching a tent in his tennis court, and stealing his car. Letterman often joked about each of the incidents on his show, but never mentioned the woman by name. Later that year, after the women committed suicide, Letterman, in an interview with the New York Times, expressed compassion for her and her family.

Letterman could have blasted the poor lady and made a spectacle out of her, but instead he treated her with compassion and kindness. The lesson for your career is clear - even if other people do crazy things to you and try to sabotage your professional success, you can treat them with class. As the saying goes, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” What about you? What are some of the blunders you’ve bounced back from? How have you gained success by helping other people become more successful? What are some ways that you can demonstrate kindness and class to troublesome people?