How to Go From Coffee Fetcher to Corner Office Exec

There are many real-life stories of people going from the mail room to the executive suite. Though there are plenty of people who start in the simplest of jobs, through patience and hard work, they rise to the top — sometimes quickly.

Take Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti, for example. While he may run one of the fastest growing casual dining restaurants in the United States, he began his professional career working at a hot dog cart.

The buzzy brand isn’t the only company with a success story, though. Here’s a true story to really inspire you. My former agency, Blue Fountain Media, grew from a website design company to a midsize digital marketing agency. The leader of the marketing department started out as an intern.

He came on board and ensured that I would trust him by proving he was reliable, loved what he did, was easy to work with and would help his teammates — and he did it all in a very short period of time.

Ultimately, the best way to move up the professional ladder is to show people that you’re up to the task, whatever that might be. When people see they can rely on you, and you get things done when you’re supposed to, they will continue to lean on you more and more, making you indispensable (or darn close to it).

Related: I Went From Entry-Level to Leader in My Field in Just 10 Years. Here’s How I Did It.

So, to help you go from the faithful intern or trusty mail room organizer to a corner office executive a bit faster, here are some tips that will accelerate the entire process.

Have a professional attitude at work.

Starting out your first job or internship with a positive mindset is arguably the soundest piece of advice anyone can receive, regardless of her industry or role. Research suggests that a positive mindset increases the opportunity for positive results, both professionally and personally.

Barbara Fredrickson, a social psychologist and researcher in human emotions, sees a positive mindset as important as the food we eat (really).

“I think of positive emotions as nutrients. In the same way that we need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to be healthy, we need a variety of positive emotions in our daily experience to help us become more resourceful versions of ourselves,” Fredrickson told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National.

The Blue Fountain Media employee I mentioned above exhibited several qualities that made him a great professional fit:

  1. He would come to work early in the morning, and he would listen throughout the day to learn.
  2. He wouldn’t gossip.
  3. He would read about the industry a lot.
  4. He was good-natured and very respectful to everyone in the office.
  5. He never complained and had a very professional manner.

These very basic qualities are what managers want to see in each and every employee.

Related: The Unglamorous First Jobs of Successful People Such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos (Infographic)

Embrace the hard work, day in and day out.

There are usually two sides to this argument. One, you work “smarter” and optimize your time to get more work done using principles like the 80/20 rule, or tactics deployed through strategies used in books like Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Work Week. Two, you work more hours. There’s no right answer, but it’s important to realize that in both cases you’re going to have to work hard.

Getting comfortable with hard work isn’t an exact science, and the way in which you motivate yourself to put in the tough hours, day in and day out, is an individual…