If It’s to Be…3 Activities for Career Growth

career planning WEB SMLOnce I had a boss whose favorite saying was, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” She was especially fond of saying it when people were complaining about their jobs, the pay, or having success escape them for some unknown reason. As with most all success, it’s mostly always a matter of getting out of our own way. Nowhere is this truer than in our careers. One reason this is the case is that we so often feel we have no control of our careers or events that happen in an organization that seem to affect our careers or at least the next steps. Let’s see how you can get out of your own way and take control of our career.

Know Thyself

How can you set and achieve goals in life if you don’t know who you are, what you enjoy doing, what drives you, or what skills and attributes you have? In other words what type of work does your unique talents lend themselves to best? In addition, what environments suit your productivity levels? Do you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment? Do you enjoy lots of changes? Do you prefer a more subdued workday? Do you enjoy working with innovators? Or do you prefer working around those who prefer the status quo? Do you prefer to work within systems, or do you like to develop new systems?

Many of us simply fall into an industry because we took the first job we could get out of school and have never taken the time to explore what suits our talent set, and even more importantly, what makes us happy. Self-knowledge is the foundation for both leadership and strategic thinking. Remember, you are the one responsible for leading your career into the future and to develop good strategic thinking to achieve those goals. A big bonus to this, sometimes painful journey, is that having this self-knowledge will help you to understand the many opportunities open to you and your set of talents. These opportunities are always more than you can imagine.

Be A Step Above

If you are to be successful at anything, you must avoid the company of gossipers, naysayers, and complainers. These groups will bring you down, you will not bring them up. You are better than that. Not to say that these are “bad people” they just don’t understand that optimistic people are more successful than negative people. Nor is this to say that you shouldn’t keep your ear to the ground. When you hear something that might affect your career, goals, plans, etc. yes, listen, but then find some way to dig down to the facts and truth. While you do not want to be perceived as a Pollyanna, it is best to be collaborative, cooperative, and positive.

The Fact File

As you are no doubt aware, it is best to make your resume results oriented; and using numbers is the best way to do this. Therefore, it is essential to keep a fact file with your achievements in it. You would be amazed at the people I coach who think they haven’t accomplished anything when in reality, they have made significant and important contributions. You see, most say, “I was just doing my job.” However, when I press them, ask enough questions, or ask the same question enough times, we get to the truth of the matter. The truth of the matter might be that they improved customer service by 17%; or increased sales by $1M, or developed a system improving productivity or saving X amount of dollars, time, or waste. Keep your own Fact File. The trick is to

  1. Recognize when you have achieved an accomplishment
  2. Research the facts surrounding this accomplishment
  3. Record the accomplishment and the facts in your Fact File

This needs to be done as close to the event as possible so that facts are still fresh in your mind. As time goes by, and it will, you forget the details or even the entire event. Now you have information that can add to your “Value Proposition”. This information can be used to prove that you can take on a leadership role, deserve a proposition, or if it is time to move on, find a better position.

Remember, you have far more control over your career than you may think and control it you must.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you would like more information about building a better career Let’s Get Started!

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