We all know who Jerry Seinfeld is, and more importantly, we know how successful he is. According to TV Guide, his series Seinfeld has netted him north of $400 million in syndication. On top of that, he recently sold Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, his widely successful online show, to Netflix for $100 million.

In other words, if you’re looking for career advice and guidance, look no further than Jerry Seinfeld.

In a Lifehacker article, young comedian Brad Isaac shared the following story about meeting Seinfeld and getting this advice:

“He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day. But his advice was better than that. He had a gem of a leverage technique he used on himself and you can use it to motivate yourself — even when you don’t feel like it.

He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works. He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. ‘After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.’

‘Don’t break the chain,’ he said again for emphasis.”

You may not write jokes for a living, but you can still use this advice to help you move up the ladder faster. How? By setting a long-term goal (preferably something that helps you stand out), and then slowly and steadily working towards it. Start by dedicating 15 minutes a day to do something that is not in your job description. This could be an extra task at the office, helping a colleague, reading industry trade magazines, picking up a new skill, or networking with industry leaders.

If you’re reading this and your first reaction is to think that you don’t have time to add more work, stop right there. How many times have you sat on the train into work and just scrolled Twitter or watched the passing scenery outside the window? How often do you use the latter part of your lunch break to check Facebook? The time is there; you just have to start using it in a way that can benefit your career.

Focus on creating a chain, and then adding to it every day. Soon, not breaking the chain will become an addiction. You’ll love writing that big red X over each date as you accomplish something new, and more importantly, as you get closer to your goal.

So what are you waiting for? “Your only job is to not break the chain.”


Taylor Shold is the Founder of Shold Media Group, a networking group aimed at helping inspire and educate the next generation of young professionals.