Your Career Needs Four Engines

To have a career that matters, and to simultaneously leave the world a better place than you found it


By Bruce Kasanoff

Take a look at the 747 above these words. Imagine that you are a passenger on board the plane and that it only has three engines. How comfortable are you about your future?

Many professionals spend years hoping their career will take off, but they head down the runway lacking a critical engine. That’s just as crazy as boarding a 747 that only has three engines.

To have a career that matters, and to simultaneously leave the world a better place than you found it, here are the four engines you need:

Growth mindset: Effort is what drives success, not talent. The longer your time frame, the more that effort matters. The world is filled with talented people who have never amounted to much. Never stop learning, never stop trying, and you are 50% of the way there.

Grit: The biggest achievements – the ones that will make you proud when you describe them to your grandchildren – require long-term focus on an important goal. You need to be able to keep pursuing that goal no matter the obstacles or hardships you endure. Here’s the good news… you can develop (i.e. grow) grit.

Compassion: It’s good to be tenacious and determined, but not okay to forget about the needs of others. Success in any professional or personal capacity requires the ability to care genuinely about others. For example, someone who has true empathy for customers will be far better at meeting their needs than someone who just wants all the money in their wallet.

Clarity: On two levels, this is where it all holds together or falls apart. You need clarity with regards to the first three elements: keeping your goals in mind, pursuing them in a logical manner, and returning to effective strategies again and again. But you also need clarity to enlist the participation of others; if you can’t say what you want, you will never get it.

Invest a month in reading LinkedIn articles, and you will probably amass a list of 1,000 qualities you “absolutely need” to power your career. Here’s the problem: you cannot keep this many qualities in the front of your mind.

But with these four, everything else falls into place.

  • If you have a growth mindset, you can develop new skills.
  • If you have grit, you can use those skills to achieve your objectives.
  • If you have compassion, you won’t become a flawed, self-obsessed human being.
  • If you have clarity, you can educate, inform, motivate and attract professionals from around the world.


I believe so strongly in the power of these elements that I’ve started to deliver workshops that help organizations remind their teams what a positive difference these four engines make.

Now, please fasten your seat belt and get ready for your career to take off. And, yes, dinner will be served.


~Wakenya Canada

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