By Caroline Castrillon – Forbes
Do you feel unfulfilled in your career? Maybe you’ve gone down a path for years that just doesn’t feel like the right fit. Take time out to reflect on what really matters to you. Then consider these ten ways to set yourself up for career success:
1. Take risks
As J.K. Rowling shared at a Harvard commencement address, “It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.” Taking risks is the key to career success. Ask yourself, do you want to survive or also thrive? What career would you pursue if you knew you couldn’t fail? That’s the path that you’re meant to take.
2. Play the long game
Many people these days expect immediate rewards. They want to become an influencer on YouTube or Instagram and become an overnight success. The reality is that most successful people got there by playing the long game. They understand that it takes hard work to get to the top. Even Jeff Bezos will attest to the fact that “all overnight success takes about ten years.”
3. Compete with yourself
No matter who you are or where you are in your career, there will always be someone out there who seems to have more money or a better job. The secret to career success isn’t about comparing yourself to others but rather competing against yourself. It’s about striving for progress, not perfection. Are you further along in your career than you were yesterday? Do you feel more fulfilled? If you can answer yes to these questions, be grateful and continue down your current path.
4. Listen to your intuition
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant,” according to Albert Einstein. “We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” I’ve spoken to many entrepreneurs who have built multimillion-dollar businesses from the ground up. Without exception, one key factor that has contributed to their success is listening to that inner voice. Once you relax your mind and access your deeper consciousness, the answers are already there waiting for you.
5. Take small steps instead of giant leaps
Dream big but start small. Let’s say your goal has always been to write a book. Yet, you haven’t done any writing in years. It won’t be easy to go from zero to Stephen King’s status. To experience career success, map out the small action steps that will get you closer to that lofty goal.
It could look something like this:
- Start writing in a journal
- Enroll in a writing workshop to hone your skills
- Create a website and your own blog
- Begin pitching articles to publications
- Commit to working on your book for an hour a day
- Talk to authors about how they got published
By breaking down your big goal into small chunks, the process will seem more manageable and less daunting.
6. Create achievable goals
Setting realistic expectations will help you to achieve even the most ambitious dreams. Let’s say you aspire to become a professional tennis player. But you haven’t touched a racket in ten years, and you’re almost at the age that pro tennis players retire. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make this dream a reality. Instead, use SMART criteria (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) to ensure that your goals are clear and obtainable.
7. Align your career to your strengths and values
Is your number one priority spending time with family? In that case, you may not be satisfied with a job that requires you to travel 80% of the time. Do you hate confrontation? Then a career in the legal profession might not be the right fit. Make a list of your values and prioritize them as you investigate different career options.
8. Ask for help
It’s almost impossible to achieve career success without asking for help. Solicit friends, family, and co-workers to learn more about how they view you. What do they think your strengths and weaknesses are? What do people compliment you on? This exercise may uncover natural gifts that you never even considered. Enlist the help of a coach or mentor. Having an outside perspective could help to bring hidden talents to the forefront.
9. Put fear in the backseat
Imagine driving down the road with “fear” sitting in the passenger seat. Fear keeps yelling out things like, “You’re driving too fast!” “Where are you going stupid, that’s the wrong way!”, or “Don’t take that street, you’re going to get in an accident!” That’s your inner critic making his appearance. He usually rears his ugly head just when you’re about to embark on something big—like a career change. What you need to do is stop the car, put fear in the backseat and tell him, “I’ve got this.” Fear never goes away but you can let him know who’s boss.
10. Choose a career based on more than just money
Money is essential, of course. But it shouldn’t be the sole reason for choosing a career. If you spend your life chasing money alone, it’s going to be challenging to find real career satisfaction. Consider other factors like your strengths, what you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what legacy you want to leave behind.
When you think about career success, remember, the time will pass anyway. Spend it creating the life you want, not living the life you don’t.