If you’re not experiencing the success you desire in your career, what moves do you need to make in order to advance? Like the game of chess, progress toward success requires focused attention, strategy and practice.
Evaluate where you are now… and why. Have you made good or bad choices to get where you are? Are you close to your goal, but not quite there yet or are you way behind?
Decide what is working and what’s not. Are you doing the best with what you have or are you sabotaging yourself with a negative attitude, poor life choices, fear, or a victim mindset? Answering these questions takes courage, but honest answers and a firm grasp of reality are empowering.
Find out what you can do about what’s not working well. Be brave enough to ask people who know you if they see behaviors that might be slowing your success. Ask trusted advisers at work what they would recommend to overcome challenges in your job. A professional coach or counselor could help you gain insight into any negative thoughts that are holding you back and give you tools to move forward. A quick internet search will reveal hundreds of books and resources to help you toward achieving success. The process becomes exciting and encouraging when you can envision what your life and career would be like without the problems you have identified.
Make your move. Study successful people to learn what got them where they are. Prepare for success by acting as if you are successful. This can be reflected in your personal image and professional style of dress as well as thinking about your job from a higher perspective. If you’re in a larger organization, think beyond the scope of your job duties and consider the bigger picture of the company and how you contribute to its success.
Make changes in your attitude, if needed. In order to move toward success, stop grumbling, stop doing just enough to get by and stop seeing your job as “just a paycheck”. Intentionally start cultivating a positive attitude that sees opportunity for personal and professional growth. Make every effort to be a positive influence on people you work with and strive to maintain good relationships.
Let people who can help know what you want, whether it’s greater responsibility, more creativity, more or less people contact, more or less travel, etc. Talk to your supervisor or your human resources representative and let them know that you are interested in moving toward greater success. Look ahead to the next move and ask superiors what it will take to get there.
Identify what a “checkmate” looks like. Success is not one-size-fits-all. For one person, it’s being at the head of an organization. For others, it could be working in an area of great personal interest where the satisfaction comes from helping other people or creating something useful or beautiful. It could be a very simple goal of working more family-friendly hours or working indoors or outdoors instead of your current situation. The beauty of true success is that you can customize it to fit your own drives, desires, talents, values and goals.
There are very few overnight successes. Most successful people have worked long and hard to achieve their goals. Famous actors and musicians have paid their dues in small theaters and local dives before they make it big. Well-known business and coaching gurus and authors have worked and studied for years to achieve recognition and success. Everyday working people grow in their careers by showing up on time, learning skills that prepare them for new responsibilities and demonstrating initiative by accepting challenges with a great attitude. The key to solid success is to behave successfully, consistently and persistently, making wise choices and keeping your eye on the prize. Play the game to win… it’s your move!
If you’re looking for a great resource to help you make your next move in your career and life, let me recommend Dr. John Izzo’s book, Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything.
What about you? What do you think is the most important move toward success? What was the best advice you received (or gave) for true career success?
Live, Work & Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.