The world of work, workplace, jobs, and careers continues to not only change at a rapid speed, actually at the moment it is difficult to predict what will be the new normal post-COVID-19. Whether you have a job right now or not, it is hard to plan a career when so much is unknown.
Being an HR professional, I have had the opportunity to build talent strategies and programs, coaching hundreds of professionals, and observed successful and not so successful careers. This article captures what I think will be the powerful ingredients needed to achieve an outstanding career in these uncertain times. My career has benefited immensely from these ingredients, and I want to share them with everyone.
Adopt learning as a life-long habit:
To remain relevant and thrive in this ever-changing world of work, we will need to learn continuously and develop ourselves. We will need a personal learning strategy that allows us to seek new relevant knowledge, make sense of it, and share it with others. Whatever the strategy, it will need to blend into our daily routine seamlessly. Not an added chore or task. This learning is often self-taught, voluntary, and focused on an area that improves your career or life.
Two strategies have worked for me:
A. I read an HR-focused article nearly every day (5-10minutes), and then share with as many connections as I think will benefit from it. (I enjoy reading Harvard Business Review articles as an example, or Linkedin content).
B. After every project, initiative, or role, I pause and reflect on what I learned about myself. It helps me focus on what kind of things I do well and where I need to learn more.
“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something that you attract by the person you become. “ - Jim Rome
Be proactive in shaping your career:
In Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit #1 is Being Proactive. So many people spend so much time thinking about things that they do not control (Circle of Concern – negative energy) – my company is not good, my boss is not a good leader, etc. – and end up spending no time on things they do control regarding their career (Circle of Influence – positive energy) – my learning and development, my performance. Make your circle of influence bigger. Don’t wait for your boss or your company do to something about your career. It’s your career, you take control.
Three things have helped me:
A. I have always tried to prepare myself for whatever is next. I think about it, and I use a development plan to act on it. I leverage my strengths to drive my career progress.
B. I seek feedback from a variety of sources. Receiving feedback tells me where I am right now versus where I want to be.
C. And importantly, I deliver above-average performance.
"I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I must not fail to do the something that I can do." — Helen Keller
Know and Follow your aspiration:
At any given point in time in your career, follow your aspiration. Aspirations may change, yes, but know what you aspire to and pursue it.
Finding your aspiration requires that you do a very honest and thorough self-exploration, and understand what you value, what are your strengths, and what you really enjoy and are energized by. To me, aspiration lies at the intersection of Talent, Passion, and the needs of other people.
What has worked for me:
A. I keep refining my aspiration. I learned not to wait till I have the perfectly worded aspiration, just write something now, work on it, and then it will start to come to you.
B. Once I write my aspiration, then I have an action plan that lists the milestones I need to achieve in the short and long term. Micro wins and macro wins.
C. I share my aspiration with others constantly. This reinforces my aspiration to me and keeps me honest. The magic happens when I see that it lights a spark in someone else.
"It's not the days in your life, but the life in your days that counts." — Brian White
I guarantee you that if you add these three ingredients to your career, success will come to you. If you like this, please like it below and share it. Please also share your comments.