Let's start with "space." Most invincible executives agree that you cannot tie your career to a particular location in this world. Almost all of them have made significant geographic moves in their careers. They do not foreclose opportunities by limiting their careers to a particular city or even country. If the opportunity to advance means you have to pick up and move, then you must do so. In fact, over 80 percent of those invincible executive I interviewed have moved at least twice in their careers, with the average move being over 850 miles away from their previous homes.
You may decide that family stability or the love of a city means that you will never move. I know many people who have made that lifestyle choice, and they are very happy. It is an admirable choice and I commend them for it. But they will never be invincible executives. Geographic flexibility is a prerequisite to professional invincibility. As Doug Bain, the senior vice president and general counsel of Boeing, put it, you cannot limit your career path to a particular location or division of your company if you want to get to the top. "One of the biggest challenges I have is getting people to move geographically. Sometimes the opportunities are elsewhere," he notes, and by insisting that you stay in one place, you "may be losing out on those opportunities."
That is not to say you jump at any opportunity to move. If you work at a company that has 90 percent of its operations in your city, there should be a strong presumption that you will stay in that city because that is where the action is in terms of key people and decisions. However, if a move is likely to advance you professionally, you have to make that move even if there might be adverse social or family consequences.