By Sunny Simon

Over brunch my friend Cathy related a story about her days as a young waitress in LA. One morning during her shift, a hopeful starving-actor entered the restaurant asking for the least expensive nutritious item on the menu. Cathy served him and upon completing his meal the fellow realized he could not cover the full amount of the tab. My friend waved it off saying she would make up any shortage for him, but the fellow insisted on making up the difference, and he did. For the next 30 minutes during a hectic business surge he happily bussed all of the tables in Cathy’s section.

Upon hearing Cathy’s narrative, my friends and I broke out in smiles. We nodded in agreement. Whether it’s getting the last squeeze out of a flattened tube of toothpaste or stretching your meal budget, if you’re creative about employing some techniques, you can always accomplish your goal. 

It’s worth noting our young actor friend employed a few key strategies. First he asked for advice. In response, Cathy pointed out an entrée. When you’re in need of something as mundane as a menu suggestion, or on the flip side, important career advice, do not be reticent in getting help. Too often fear gets in the way of asking for the assistance required to get to the next level. Remember that the next time you need a boost, or helping hand. Rather than tough it out alone, speak up.

The young man’s goal was getting hired, but he also had a need to fill. Acing his upcoming audition required sustenance. Like our actor, you must map out the tools required to get yourself to the goal line. You’ll never reach your destination on an empty tank, or get that promotion without the requisite skills. Plan ahead then do the work.

Lastly, and what I admired most about our hero, he was prepared to deal with any bumps in the road. We all know there is no such thing as a smooth safe path to achieving an ambitious goal. When you’re trying to move your career forward, don’t get discouraged with a setback, deal with it. Perhaps the actor thought ahead about how he’d address a financial shortage, or maybe it was just a quick reaction. Whatever the case, he found a positive way to resolve the situation.

I urge you to review your annual goals by assessing your needs and planning ahead. Then get creative and stay flexible as you maneuver your way to success.

Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog,