How to Be a Star Performer Without Burning Yourself Out!

Tired of receiving countless newsletters and articles that take forever to read? You’ve come to the right place!

Each of my post tells one story, outlines the principle behind it and then reflects on what YOU should do to skyrocket your finance career. All of that in less than two minutes! 

The Story

Andrew was exhausted. The long hours spent at his desk were taking their toll and to top it all, his latest performance review described him as “an average performer” AVERAGE?!

Having received top grades all his life, Andrew worked in banking for two years at a bulge bracket and moved to a prestigious private equity firm a year ago but he was starting to feel like he wasn’t moving along the “path to greatness” anymore. He wasn’t even halfway.

It seemed like Andrew had tried everything – working longer hours to get everything done, delegating work to the other analysts in his team, or focusing on automating the deal process but nothing had worked. Here he was still working like a dog and being seen as “average”.

Deep down, Andrew knew he wasn’t living up to his potential. What would they say about him at his High School Reunion? “You guys remember Andrew? He started great, everyone thought he was going to launch his own fund! I wonder what happened to him…”

The Principle

I have spoken with a LOT of top performers, some of them colleagues, some of them clients, and I want to share their secret with you. Top performers only get to the top by identifying the hard parts of their work and focusing on them.

The hard stuff isn’t hard because it is time consuming – if that was true simply spending 100 busy hours a week in the office would guarantee your success.  Hard work is not the same as busy work.

The hard parts are hard because they are uncomfortable, risky and very few people are willing to pursue them. However, once you have identified the hard parts in your career, focusing on them will become a habit and prioritizing hard work over busy work gets easier with time.

Concentrating on the hard parts will improve your performance in every aspect of your career – networking, trying to land your dream job and it will even help in your personal life.

How to Skyrocket YOUR Finance Career

Want to get promoted?

DON’T be like Andrew, stop running around faster doing more busy work. Find the Stars of the office – the ones that everyone else thinks are good – and start learning from them. Build relationships with senior people like they do, go for risky options and innovative ideas when you pitch something to your team like they do. Walk around and introduce yourself when you start a new project and schedule coffee with people – just like the Star did when they started.

Looking for a job?

STOP applying online to 100 jobs a week and instead call the alumni from your school who works at your target firm. Pitch your story to them and meet up. Make sure you impress them and then apply.

Speak with three or four people in that one company and bring up everything you have learnt from them in your job interview. Research the company’s strategy so you can have a deep conversation about it when you meet the Managing Director in your last round.

Trying to build a solid network?

STOP going to conferences and just standing in line trying to impress one guy with a weak question. Focus on the hard work – follow up and schedule meetings after your conference, call people you met two years ago and haven’t spoken to since. Take 20 minutes every morning to stay in touch with three people – this is hard work, and this is what will take you to the top!

For more coaching help, check resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, killer networking techniques and cutting edge interview preparation sessions.

Nicolas Doumenc

Nicolas Doumenc

Nicolas Doumenc is the founder of 300 Finance Gurus and Associate Editor at Mergers&Inquisitions, reaching an audience of more than 300,000 readers every month.  

His work with 150+ Investment Banking and Corporate Finance professionals helped them land their dream job at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Lazard, Google, Paypal and much more.