It’s ironic that I carried around a preview copy of Ken Coleman’s book “The Proximity Principle” with me for about three months before finally carving out the time to read it.
The book arrived just days after I returned to The Sealy News last April and I’ve been so busy trying to get my feet on the ground that I just kept pushing it off to do later. That was my mistake.
Fortunately, I was smart enough to keep it in close proximity as a reminder that I needed to read it. Last weekend I got sick and suddenly had time to do just that. I didn’t just read it, I devoured it. I attacked it with a yellow highlighter and noted things both old and new to my way of thinking. It got me thinking about old things in new ways and opened my eyes to a world of possibilities.
The tagline to Coleman’s book is “The proven strategy that will lead to the career you love.” On that note, this isn’t a self-help book for job-seekers. This is a book for people wanting to advance their careers into meaningful work that they love. If you’re looking for help building a resume, getting an interview, and getting your foot in the door, this book can help but marginally. If you want to pursue your dreams and do work that you are passionate and excited about, than this is the book you’ve been waiting for.
It doesn’t matter what profession you are in, “The Proximity Principle” can help. As the word proximity implies, it’s about being close to the people, places, and things that are important to you and getting where you want to be.
The book is divided into three parts: People, places, and practices. All three are vital to getting anyone where they want to go vocationally. The people include the professors/teachers, the professionals, the mentors, the peers, and the producers. You need all these people to teach you what you need to know, to help you hone your skills, to encourage you along your way, to give you a hand up, and finally to give you a chance to shine.
The places include starting where you are at and finding places to learn, practice, perform, and grow. The practices include building a web of connections, making those connections count, and seizing the moment. It’s about adopting a proximity mind-set.
Basically what I’ve done here is give a skeletal outline of the chapters. It’s the meat and the fat that hangs on the skeleton that make this book worth reading. Seeing how Coleman is a protégé of Dave Ramsey (and if you don’t know Dave, you need to look him up) and Ramsey is a protégé of the late Zig Ziglar, there is an incredible lineage of character, integrity, practices and principles that are fundamentally sound both in career and life within these pages.
This is a step-by-step book about pursuing your passion. More importantly, it’s about being the kind of person deserving of that level of accomplishment. The underlying principles are not about using people on the ladder to success but being the kind of person who helps others on their climb. In this book, Coleman quotes a lot of famous and not-so-famous people about keys to career success. None is more apropos than the keystone quote by Ziglar: “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
The importance of people is to appreciate and respect what they bring to the table. It’s been said that the secret to getting a job is not so much what you know but who you know. The thing is, you never know who you need to know in order to make those connections. If you treat everyone like they’re the most important person in the world, the connections will be made.
It’s also important to know that in order to get where you want to go that you must first start where you are at. You must be willing to learn, study, provide assistance, and work hard at the small steps toward your goal. Nobody starts at the top. People like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos each started in their garage. Dave Ramsey started in his living room, but it’s the same idea. None of these industry leaders began by walking into a corporate office and saying “here I am, hire me!”
They all worked with and for people who knew more than they did and they eventually moved to places where they needed to be. All of them, however, started at home. The point is you can too. The only person keeping you where you are at is you.
I already feel like I’ve given away too much information about Coleman’s wonderful book. There is just so much to it that you really need to read it for yourself. If you have a desire to advance your career or climb higher or be better than you ever imagined, this book can get you on your way.
The book only took a few hours to read but the lessons will last a lifetime. Look for the book on Amazon.com or at DaveRamsey.com or KenColeman.com.