For over three decades of senior leadership service in both the public and private sectors, I have observed how people perform in their careers and I have tried to isolate the characteristics that define successful, fulfilled, high-performing people. In my latest book, How to Bring Your Best Self to Work-Strategies for Career Success, I explore how you can take charge of your life and re-charge your career trajectory so that you can exploit your talents and discover your true potential.
It is a fact that many of us underperform in our careers because we undervalue ourselves. In some cases, we may have resorted to “career-drift” where we have lost our way. We may never know how good we can be because we never tried to explore our potential with an open mind and attitude. We can often be our own worst enemy and we may even believe we have little real talent. If this is you, then you are in good company. Albert Einstein once stated: I have no real talent, I am just passionately curious– and he became a world-famous physicist who won the Nobel prize for physics!
I am sure that most of us would like to be the best version of ourselves, and we can be if we resolve to start shaping our future right now-today. It was Abraham Lincoln who correctly declared,” You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today“. It follows from this that we need to resolve to take charge of our lives and believe that we can shape up today so that tomorrow will be better than we ever imagined. You can choose a better future.: It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves-William Shakespeare.
Attitude is the key to self-change. A change in attitude can alter the course of your life. Life is all about choices and you can choose to leave the old self behind, a self that may have been tinged with self-doubt and self-pity, that may have undervalued your real worth, or may have been plagued by procrastination. The old self may not have served you well.
Success, fulfillment and happiness are the by-products of a positive mental attitude, so you need to work at developing attitude awareness. The mind’s default position is towards negativity, and this has to do with the need for our ancestor cave-dwellers to be constantly on the alert for danger. But when you view the world through a positive lens, good things can happen. You are the master of your own ship and you can choose a better future by taking charge of your own life today. A change in attitude can alter the course of your life.
By changing direction and setting new goals you can shape the present and change the future. You can build a better future by opting to make yourself better today. Early in my own career, I realised that focus and purpose were essential for career development. I consulted successful colleagues about how they reacted to setbacks and failures and all were of the view that setbacks or failures were learning opportunities. They have a role in our lives because they can build character and resilience. I realised that my Achilles heel had been my inclination to succumb too readily to setbacks, so I was determined to use them as opportunities to build back better. I adopted a more positive attitude to setbacks by self-examining how I could improve and do better next time.
With the right attitude and positive mindset we can all have a positive influence on the world, and on our present and future career prospects. By valuing yourself and believing in your own real worth you will not allow others to place a value on you. Too often we let this happen because we have under-valued ourselves. It is important to remember that our thoughts shape our attitudes and govern our actions and feelings. As Buddha tells us: What you think you become.
Be aware of the inner voice and choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement. Poor attitudes can be habit-forming and if unchecked, a habitual negative attitude could become part of your personality. None of us were born with a negative mindset, but we may have unwittingly cultivated one. Be self-aware, be vigilant, and banish negativity because a negative mind sees a negative world. Be stronger than your excuses and be better than your fears.
With positivity, belief, conviction and resilience you can alter the course of your life and career. With determination and the right attitude, you can exploit your fullest potential. Complacency achieves nothing: determination delivers. Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you are probably right- Henry Ford.
(Feature photo by Miguel Luis on Unsplash).