First off, how do you define “success” in your career? Money? Title? Fame? Achievement? Power? Satisfaction? Or do you see a combination of factors? Each one of these factors drive you in a different direction, so make sure you’re going after the right one. If your career goal is money, your strategy is much different than if it’s satisfaction.
And what about personal “success” as apposed to career success? Is your primary goal meaningful relationships, friends, love, family? How do these factors integrate with your career success? As you can see, the answer isn’t a simple one. I know of several highly successful executives who have a number of ex-spouses.
Maybe a better question is, “What are the strategies for success? Here’s a list of 5 steps for you to consider in thinking about success in your function or career:
VISION: How do you visualize your ultimate goal, both professionally and personally over the next 5,10, or 20 years? How do you envision the future outcome? What will it take to achieve that vision? Are you willing to preserver to attain your vision? Unless and until you can answer these fundamental questions, the road to success will be undefined.
PASSION: The things that you are passionate about are the things most likely to bring you success, if pursued. The reverse is also true. The earlier you can identify your passion the better. You can then create a pathway to your professional and personal goals over a longer period of time.
CONTINUOUS LEARNING AND AN OPEN MIND: Continuing to grow as a professional and individual can only help you over time, whether it be a degree, certification, new language, new friends, and so on. Try to learn something every day, and over time you’ll obtain skills, knowledge or ability to move closer to your vision. Continue to look for better ways of doing things. Approach issues with no preconceived bias to see things clearly.
STRENGTHS, COMFORT ZONE, and RISK: Develop a list of strengths: Those things that you can do better than most. These are your differentiators. Identify the areas that you are highly confident and those areas where you fall short. Reduce your weaknesses and you’ll expand your comfort zone. You can accept a higher level of risk when you’re more prepared.
RELATIONSHIPS and APPRECIATION TO/FOR OTHERS: Maintaining a wide circle of friends and supporters will help you over time. These are the people who know you best and can be there for you when needed, and visa versa. Make a list of “good friends” who are part of your network. Make another list of “others” who can’t be counted on for support. Which list is longer? What does that tell you?
Success isn’t automatic, it’s earned. The steps to “earned success” can be planned and implemented, once you define your vision, strategy and timeline. Without those elements you’re taking a random walk through life, both professionally and personally.
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