Let’s get real right now. You are probably reading this because you aren’t as happy as you could be with your career. You made mistakes last year that you regret. Oh, I’ve been there, plenty of times. Just last month I can think of 5 mistakes I would like to take back.
This year could be the most amazing year ever if you can put a few systems in place. The hard part is not just taking action, but growing your career so your actions create a domino effect that creates more freedom, happiness, and increased income over this year.
I wrote this post because I had a conversation with a friend. He told me he had so much bad luck last year that he just lost his motivation. Luck plays a role in every career, but good luck only happens when you put yourself in the right spots.
Let’s look at what you need to do to make sure you grow your career in the right direction this year:
1. Believe in your talents.
You have talents that others wish they had too. You are where you are in life because of your ability to leverage these talents. Don’t let one bad day or month stop you from believing in yourself. Take the time to remember the good results you’ve been able to accomplish because of your hard work and talent. Reflecting on the positive aspects of your talents will help you remember why people need your help.
2. Celebrate more.
Too often we finish a difficult project and don’t take the time to celebrate our hard work. You need to take more time to celebrate when you work hard on a project. You deserve the reward. You’ll be reinforcing this positive behavior as well as giving yourself a stress relief break that you could use to recharge your internal battery.
3. Give help when you can.
Improving your career and getting better results for your company (or if your own your own business, your clients) requires a team effort. You can’t do it alone. So remember to give back to people who’ve helped you over the past year. Write them a thank you note, offer to help them with a project, or just jump in and assist if you see they could use your help. This is a great way to build stronger relationships.
4. Recharge your battery.
You only have so much energy to use on high level work. No one can go and go and go. You need to recharge that beautiful brain and body that needs your love. Next time you hit an energy wall don’t power through. Take that time to recharge. Go for a short walk, call a friend, or grab a refreshing drink. Use that time to reset yourself and bring your focus back to doing the work that will grow your career.
5. Appreciate what you have. (AKA gratitude)
You have a finite amount of waking time each day. You can focus on the good or bad. When you appreciate what is good about your life you release endorphins that make you happier. Give this a quick try. Try thinking about 3 things you are grateful for. How does it make you feel? Now try thinking about 3 things that make you miserable. How do you feel? See how this affects your attitude? Your mindset truly does matter.
6. Say yes to challenges that help you grow.
You have the same three options that we all do. You can choose growth, maintaining, or shrinking. It’s really your choice. The only option that I believe is viable is growth. Think about your favorite band. They didn’t settle for that one hit and ride it out. They kept trying to improve on their music. This is the mindset that you need to bring to your career. As long as you know where your comfort level is and how to push slightly past it then you are growing. You may take more of a Turtle approach like me, or you may be more like Tim Ferriss who takes a rabbit approach. Both are good. Both lean toward growth, just at their own pace.
7. Say “no” to tasks that don’t excite you.
Your time is important. You can say “yes” to projects that just don’t light you up inside or you can learn to say “no” to projects that don’t excite you. It is that simple. Really. You just have to learn how to say “no” so people don’t get upset. This is where the gray area comes into play. Instead of just saying “no” try giving the person an alternative solution. You can suggest someone else who is better suited for the particular task, which can make you look good if they deliver great results. If you take this approach, be sure that you follow by offering yourself for a task that suits your strengths. Or you can change how the project is being done so you can leverage more of you strengths, which can help you get even better results.
8. Know that you can make a BIG difference in people’s lives.
You are here on this earth not to just get by. You are here to thrive. You are here to make an impact on others. Don’t believe that you can’t make a difference. If you start to believe this then you’ll start to pull back from helping others. There are an infinite amount of ways you can help others while also growing your career. I believe in win-win scenarios and if you can help people who you admire while also building your network then they win and so do you. That’s a career domino effect that creates layers that you can build upon.
9. Ask for help when you are struggling.
We all struggle at times. We all have our doubts, but the people that we surround ourselves with can truly make a difference. When you need help, you need to learn to reach out to these people. Find someone who can point out a fresh perspective, or someone who sees something inside of you that’s hidden deep. Go to these people when you are in pain and be clear about how you need help. You just need to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.
10. Visualize where you want to take your career, break it down, and start doing it.
This last one is maybe the most important for most of you. You must understand your “why” before you can take action in your career. If you are wishy-washy you won’t get stuff done. You have to live your core values and know how each task and project helps you grow stronger if chosen well. I struggled to put together a guide that encapsulates my beliefs. I resisted for years because I was afraid. When I finally let go and visualized how my guide would make people’s lives better, the actions became much easier. I focused on my purpose instead of my fears. I stopped trying to motivate myself, and instead I focused on helping people who mattered to me. By helping others find meaning and happiness in their work, I was also able to find meaning in mine.
I’m not perfect and neither is this list.
What advice would you add to help others be able to make this the best year ever? (Just leave a comment and let’s help each other grow.)
* I’m curious to how you feel about your career and how I can help make it better. If you have 5 minutes I would really appreciate it if you filled out this quick survey. Thanks!