In control. Indispensable. Respected. Successful careers are carefully and deliberately built, not born, constructed with key skills that anyone can learn. In my time as a career coach, certain stand-out winning secrets have emerged. Below are 5 of the best kept secrets of highly successful career builders.
Secret 1 - Set realistic goals and follow them through to completion
Pursuing a clear career direction stimulates motivation and provides a sense of purpose behind all those tasks and hours of work. Highly successful career builders know where they want to eventually be, but they have also mapped out clear, achievable goals that correlate to the various steps and skills they need to get to where they want to go. They know that “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and focus on completing the steps directly in front of them. Establishing unachievable goals will only demotivate you and knock your self-confidence. Know the difference between a vision and a goal, breaking down your vision into the many individual goals - skills, experiences, reputation, contacts, qualifications – be sure to set identifiable goals that are achievable, clearly defined and achievable within a realistic time frame.
Secret 2 - Identify what you are good at and recognize your potential
Spend some time thinking about what your current strengths and skills are. Highly successful career builders know what they are good at, and what they need to work on. For many individuals, this is a daunting task – many of us find it difficult to look internally, but persisting has numerous pay-offs. Being able to recall examples of your true potential helps to develop self-confidence, and enable you to think of a wider range of opportunities. And, when times are tough, you can hush your anxieties by dipping into your “bank” of positive experiences to remind yourself of your capabilities.
Secret 3 - Learn to overcome your self-limiting beliefs
Arguable, our biggest barrier to moving forward in life is ourselves! We all have what therapists call an “internal dialogue” and “core-beliefs” programmed into us during the course of our development, and they frequently tell us things like “I am not good enough!”, or “I’ll never be able to do that!”. In his excellent book, The Chimp Paradox, Steve Peters refers to a chimp in our minds, a bonkers animal voice that screams wildly at every threat, and is placated by hiding and bananas! Highly successful career builders have learned to overcome such negative and self-limiting “thinking distortion”, enabling them to take on new challenges and push their limits to discover just what they are capable of achieving.
Secret 4 - Become an expert communicator
Highly successful career builders know the power of effective communication. The ability to productively engage with others enhances relationships with colleagues and improves customer relationships. Good communication creates an environment where things gets done, trust is built and questions safely delivered. But communicating is not just about what we say. It is also about our body language, how we listen and the words we use. Learning and developing these skills will contribute towards your success and earn the respect of others.
Secret 5 - Don’t be afraid to think outside the box
Highly successful career builders challenge the accepted way of doing things. Just because a task has always been done in a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that it is still the best option. Imagine doing the same job, day in, day out for your entire working life! We are creatures of comfort, so change can be a scary prospect. But to develop and grow we need to challenge those aspects of ourselves that we know hold us back, develop new skills and gain new experiences before the rot sets in! The biggest mistake is to stand still and expect the world to deliver success on a silver platter. Face your fears head on and work them through – an attitude like this is respected, revered even, and can often provide light bulb moments where we recognize our true potential.
Highly successful career builders have learned to be clever, methodically building careers over sustained periods of development. And, because they are motivated, they enjoy their jobs and the process of succeeding. And so can you.