For most people, career success is about getting to the top as fast as possible. For others, it’s achieving your strongest professional self and making your fullest contribution. Whichever definition appeals to you it all starts with owning your career. Here are some key steps on how to take responsibility for your career.
Be 100% responsible
Accept that much of whatever happens with your career lies with you. Your manager, mentors and other professional supporters will help, but you must be in the lead. Set and pursue clear goals and the relevant skills sets. Learn from all your experiences and create a support structure to guide you along.
Identify your signature strengths These are your strongest attributes and could be things such as people skills, your open-mindedness or technical ability. Look for roles that allow you to use your strengths so that you live up to your potential and do your best work.
Be willing to pay your dues
Develop a strong work ethic, high standards and the will to take sensible risks. Staying in your comfort zone may disadvantage you. Advancement comes from stepping up and doing what allows you to demonstrate your capability.
Keep adding value to yourself
The higher you rise, the more you’ll need to show what you are worth. Don’t bank on your job title or your status to hold you up. Invest in yourself, learn to lead and expand the depth of your contribution. If you are a leader make sure you leave things and people better than you found them.
Build your resilience
When this happens there’s no use asking ‘why me’ or looking for someone to blame. Accept what you can’t control, learn from your mistakes and get the support you need to bounce back quickly from them.
Don’t just do better, be better Professional success is built on character, a good reputation and competence. Become a person who not only does a great job but is also trustworthy, honest and has integrity. Be committed, resilient, treat people with respect and hold yourself accountable. Good character and behaviour will keep you grounded and increase the chances that whatever success you achieve will be long lasting.
Be intelligently impatient
Think about when it’s good to push yourself forward in order to accelerate your career and when you it’s more appropriate to bide your time.
Now take action: Identify two excuses you need to give up in order to further your career goals.