How To Focus On Career Advancement

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be -Ralph Waldo Emerson.

A person  with a career is different from a person with a job. The latter works for an employer and is paid for that work. A careerist is a person who has an occupation for a significant period , with one or more entities, with opportunities for progressive achievement. This also suggests that constant growth, education, training, work experience and more are integral to career advancement.

People with careers tend to be guided by a vision and they are motivated by ambition. While others are happy to get paid for doing a job, the career-orientated person is always planning for future growth by envisioning a particular career path leading to ongoing career advancement. Such persons envision where they would like to be in perhaps five years time and are seeking to have some control over their career trajectory. They are determined to succeed.

Career advancement requires careful planning. If you do not have a vision underpinned by your career goals and strategy you will just drift along and never exploit your full potential. Know what you want and plan to get there. Don’t let circumstances define you or other persons confine you. Know your mind, live in the present and plan your future.

Your mindset matters because your thinking determines your future. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right – Henry Ford. Self-belief is crucial and during my own working career I knew that I must always to believe in myself if I wanted others to believe in me.  If you really do put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price – Anonymous .

Self-belief is related to self-esteem and you can protect both if you have genuine self-awareness and the willpower and determination to manage your own career advancement. You should bury your self-doubt and nurture your self-confidence because when you are in control of your mind you will achieve far more. The first and best victory is to conquer oneself- Plato. To get ahead you must get out of your comfort zone; you must show flexibility and adaptability; you must know what you want and you must have goals which are inspiring, believable and actionable.

Goals should be like magnets which pull you to your desired career destination. Their purpose is to provide focus and must set out the direction you want to go. The more powerful they are the better; they must really stretch you. You must stay true to your career goals with an unwavering focus. At the start of each week you should review your goals and set out the actions you need to take to realise those goals. Goals are steps to success; they should be challenging, measurable, time-framed and few in number.

Thinking big, knowing your vision and setting out goals to achieve your career vision is the easier of two tasks. The tougher  task is working on your mindset, attitude, commitment and self-discipline. He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened – Lao Tzu.

While you need to play to your strengths you must also know what are your weaknesses and bad habits as these are the trip wires which will undermine your grand  career strategy. You are strong when you know your weaknesses so build on your strength and work on your weaknesses.

Your biggest weakness may lie in giving up too easily when challenges seem insurmountable. Anticipate roadblocks but also review how you have previously  responded to setbacks. Are you in control of your emotions?Are you working on your resilience? What could cause you to lose your drive?

(Photo by Ian Schneider, Unsplash)

Athletes who wants to succeed know that they must practice hard and eliminate any perceived weaknesses if they are to win. Simply put, your career plan will only succeed if you can successfully prepare yourself  and plan for roadblocks or failures – Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom – Aristotle.

Your attitude to failure may need to change. You must accept there will be roadblocks and how you respond to them will inform your potential for future success. Your thinking will determine your future and your mindset will define your level of future success. Successful people think big and think positive things about themselves. Change your attitude and you change your life.

Successful people can manage setbacks because of their unwavering determination to  succeed. They know that most success stories were pre-dated by failures. They know that failure is a stepping stone to achieving the success they are seeking. In similar fashion you should never wilt in the face of setback or failure; rather, learn from failure and become a  better person. Winners have willpower to match their determination to succeed. Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts -Winston Churchill.

Staying true to purpose is crucial for career advancement. Make the commitment , have the plan, decide on a daily and weekly routine and avoid distractions. Be productive , don’t make excuses and make sure your work creates value. Knowing what you want, having career goals and actions with reasonable deadlines  with the willpower to keep going and you have much of the ingredients for career success.

But there is more to successful career advancement than goals, actions and timelines. You must be conscious of how your boss and work colleagues view you. If you are a true careerist you will know that going that extra mile is important because it makes you stand out from the crowd. By doing more you enhance your value. Show that you are a smart finisher as well as an ambitious achiever.

Show that you work hard but also work smart. Arriving early for work shows you have discipline, commitment and the right mindset. You need to appear better than average so that you show you can be the game changer  your organisation  seeks. Gamechangers are always productive,  innovative and flexible; they initiate or embrace new initiatives; they learn new skills by working outside their comfort zones. They are open to change and they  have the motivation to succeed and advance their careers.

Accountability is crucial in any work environment. As well as being accountable to your boss you need to be accountable to yourself. To stand out professionally you must ensure that your mission statement fires your motivational engine each day. This should clearly set out what you are aiming for; it could relate to your commitment to work hard, to never quit, to try  again following failure,to respect yourself and others.  You must review your achievements regularly and be sure to reward yourself for any steps you have taken to advance your career.

While playing to your strengths you will also need to improve your weaknesses. Work on creating and implementing a self-improvement plan.  You must always seek to improve your skills and make lifelong learning a key element of your professional career. Through self-improvement you will grow as a person and learn to easily adapt to change.

Professional flexibility will assist you when you need to change your perspective. Practice flexibility and reach outside your comfort zone. Stay innovative by adapting to new technology and new ideas.If there is no learning there is no improvement. New skills are  assets in your arsenal which will give you more firepower and ensure you stay up to date.

(Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky, Unsplash)

You will stand apart by being a creator or innovator. Try to be ahead of your game in terms of new knowledge and trends. Spend time each week undertaking some research which could make you the “go to” person for new ideas and innovation.

If you create added value you get noticed. Volunteer for a responsible role in a project as this will show you are committed to the advancement of your organisation. By willingly assisting and supporting others you will  show you have initiative and leadership skills. It also shows that you are a team player. These are attributes which any organisation will want to see when considering persons for promotion or assignment to other responsibilities.

What is often neglected by ambitious people is self-care. Minding your physical and emotional wellbeing should always be your first priority. Some projects or work schedules may be challenging but how you respond is what matters. You have to remain in control of your best self and poor emotional or physical condition will mean your resilience will be compromised. You should devise an age appropriate exercise regime and stick to it. Take breaks from work and find a hobby or other interests.

In the classic movie The Wizard Of Oz we meet the Scarecrow who had no brain, the Tin Man who had no heart and the Lion who had no courage. But to achieve your career goals you will need to work smart, to work with passion and have the courage to stay the course. Try always to be in charge of yourself and your circumstances. Chart your course in a systematic way and remember that hard work is the foundation of all success.  There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure- Colin Powell.

Finally, fostering good relationships with your management, peers and colleagues is a career goal in itself. Good working relationships are critical for successful career advancement. At the foundation of all good relationships are the values of trust and respect. You should never be too busy to care for others. When you show your appreciation of others you build trust and respect. Encouragement achieves far more than criticism. Opportunities arise when you help others. In a working environment you cannot be but a team player. Working together is success.

Mindset matters because your thinking determines your future. Strategy matters because you need a career plan. Positivity matters because it promotes self-belief. You can control your thoughts and you can control your actions. Take action that will bring your career to where you want to go, not keep it where it is now. Dreams work if you work. I believe in change because I believe in you – Barack Obama.

(Feature photo by Ian Stauffer, Unsplash)














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