Success means different things to different people. What I call success may not be what you call it and vice versa.
So whether success to you means climbing the corporate ladder and shattering the glass ceiling; or doing a job that you can walk away from at the end of the day and not have to think about until you go back the following morning; or having a portfolio career that enables you to earn an income using the different skills that you have, there are some key steps you need to take in order to achieve it.
If you put the following 7 keys into practice, it will help you unlock your career success.
1. Define what success means to you
What does success really mean to you? Is it having lots of money? Is it getting to the most senior position in an organisation? Is it doing work that allows you to have the balance that you want so that you spend quality time with family and friends? Or is it more about doing work that is purposeful and meaningful?
In order to achieve success you need to know what this looks like for you and define what it is. When defining what success means to
you, think about the things that really matter. What are your core values and how does what you want align with them? Your values go to the core of who you are and it is essential that you consider what really matters to you at all stages of your career development.
2. Create the vision
Having defined what success is and isn’t to you, create a vision of what this looks like. Be very clear in your vision and visualise what it is that you are doing. Where do you want to be in 10 years time? What do you want your lifestyle to be like? Where are you working? Who are you working with? What does the building that you work in look like? What are the people like? Be as specific as you can.
Fast forward to your 80th birthday party and you are going to be presented with a lifetime achievement award. In order to prepare your speech, you need to give a snapshot of the highlights of your career and what it was that you ultimately achieved.
What did you achieve? What difference did you make? Who did you work with? What do you want to be remembered for? What is your legacy?
Use your answers to help create your vision. Creating a visual image of what this looks like can be very empowering and also gives you a constant reminder of what you want to achieve.
Creating a vision for your career will enable you to have focus and something to aim for. Not only will this help to keep you motivated, in the event that you face a setback such as job loss, if you are clear about what it is that you want, it will be easier for you to get back on track.
3. Set career goals
In order to achieve your vision, you need a plan as to how you will do this otherwise you may end up working aimlessly and never get there.
Setting goals will enable you to execute your plan and achieve your vision. What do you need to do to make your vision happen? Breaking it down in to small steps will also help to get rid of any overwhelm associated with wondering how you will achieve your big vision.
Make your goals SMART (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time bound). Make them intrinsic rather than extrinsic and you will be more likely to achieve them. Review and evaluate and adjust if necessary along the way.
4. Develop brand you
Refine your personal brand. What is it that you want to be known for? What do people say about you or more importantly, what do you want people to say about you? What differentiates you from everyone else who is doing the same thing as you?
Being clear about your values and what you stand for will help you with this. What is the story behind why you do what you do and how can that be woven in to your personal brand?
Raise your profile and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
5. Become well connected
Broaden your network and become well connected. You never know what doors can be opened by the introductions your contacts can make for you. And don’t just make it all about you, do what you can to help and connect other people too.
You can do this through networking both offline and online. Network both internally and externally. If you want to move in to a different industry, network within that industry.
Make the most of social media, in particular LinkedIn, to develop your professional network.
6. Continuously develop your skills
Become a lifelong learner, constantly developing your skills so that you keep yourself marketable. Challenge yourself frequently to learn something new. Take yourself out of your comfort zone, not only to develop your skills, but also so that you stay confident and don’t get stuck in a rut.
Keeping your skills up to date and ensuring continuous professional and personal development, enables you to remain relevant and allows you to develop and to grow.
7. Get support
Get support that will help you catapult your career success. This could be by way of a coach, to help you be clear about what it is that you really want and what it is that you need to do to get there. A coach will help you to identify and overcome self limiting beliefs and obstacles so that you can confidently pursue what it is that you want. They will challenge you so that you don’t limit yourself by limiting your thinking.
You may also benefit from a mentor, someone who has trod the path before you who can impart their knowledge and experience and help you avoid some of the pitfalls you may otherwise encounter on your own.
Having a sponsor, someone senior in the organisation who can shout out about you, will help you to raise your profile in the organisation and recommend you and put you forward when opportunities arise.
An accountability buddy will hold you to account to make sure that you do the things that you say you are going to do. This could be a colleague that you work with or it could be someone outside the organisation. By pairing up with someone in this way, you can also support them to achieve their goals.
If you want to achieve career success, you have to know what this looks like, what you have to do to achieve it and most importantly, you have to take action.
Carol Stewart, is a Personal Development, Career, Business Coach, UK top 50 Business Adviser and founder of . She works with women who are unhappy at work but are too scared to do anything about it. She helps them to develop the confidence to make a career move and find something that they love. This could be a complete career change, it could be climbing the corporate ladder and smashing through the glass ceiling, or it could even be exiting the corporate environment and setting up their own business.
Carol herself made a significant career change in 2011 when at the age of 44 she left the organisation she had worked in for 28 years, went to university and completed an MSc in Coaching Psychology whilst setting up her own business.
She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Member of the Association for Coaching.
Carol’s free ebook ‘5 Steps to Pursuing Your Passion at Mid-Life – A Guide to Designing a Career You Love’ can be downloaded at http://aboundingsolutions.com/ . This book is suitable for anyone who wants to pursue work that they are passionate about regardless of age.