A Lyft exec says it's nearly impossible to recover from the 'kiss of death' in a career

Strelka Institute/FlickrA successful career requires constant learning.
  • Lyft CFO Brian Roberts said coasting in your career is the “kiss of death” that can be impossible to recover from in an interview with Forbes.
  • No matter how successful you become, he said you can never afford to stop learning and growing.
  • The harder you work, the luckier you will get, Roberts said.

No matter how high you get on the ladder of success, there’s always room to grow.

That’s true whether you’re an entry-level worker or an executive at a $US15 billion company, like Lyft CFO Brian Roberts.

In an interview with Forbes, Roberts said it can be impossible to recover once you start coasting in your career, something he calls the “kiss of death.”

“You have one career. You can never afford to stop learning – I always want to be growing, today even more so,” Roberts told Forbes contributor Zack Friedman. “Never coast in your career. That is the kiss of death. It’s nearly impossible to recover.”

He continued: “When opportunities emerged in my career, I was picked because management knew I was ready to assume bigger leadership roles. Change is the natural state of business, so be ready.”

Roberts seems to be making the most of his current position. Since becoming Lyft’s CFO in 2014, he’s helped the company grow 5,000% and has helped raise more than $US5 billion in capital.

As he climbed the ladder at companies like Lyft, Walmart, and Microsoft, Roberts said he was presented with increasingly better opportunities – and it wasn’t just luck.

“I joke that I’d rather be lucky than smart, and I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I caught some lucky breaks along the way,” Roberts said. “But I’d also say the harder I worked, the luckier I got. I strongly believe that folks need to push and challenge themselves to be ready to do more.”

Roberts is far from the only successful person who claims to be a lifelong learner. Author and TED speaker Simon Sinek told Business Insider in 2016 that the best leaders are “students of leadership” and “tend to think, ‘I could do better.'” Similarly, the Harvard Business Review wrote that good leaders are in “perpetual beta mode” and navigate changes in society “by being receptive and able to learn.”

But you don’t need to be in the C-suite to learn new skills.Check out some of our favourite books and online courses to learn new business skills at any stage of your career.

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