by Brenda A. White
Your personal success begins with you. You will encounter successes, challenges, and opportunities in the process, but the success of your life ultimately begins and ends with you.
Why did your organization hire you? What have you done lately to bring value? What have you done that is remarkable? Do you know what’s expected of you? Knowing the answers to these questions at any given moment could potentially keep you ready for increase, promotion, or maybe a great performance review. Let me throw in this little disclaimer: please understand an organization’s obligation is to pay you for the work you did the previous two weeks. Although they might give merit increases, profit sharing, bonuses, and equity, you might not be in line to get any of them even with excellent performance. It could depend on a number of things. Maybe I’ll cover that in another post at a later date.
Here are 15 things that have been successful for me and kept me focused in my career:
1. Know the expectations, know the goals, know the results. Just stay in the know.
2. Be intentional – seek to understand the business, even the business outside of your department. Meet new people, the power of relationships is magical.
3. Reach out to help someone else - Serve those around you – Be generous with your resources, don’t always be the one asking for help, provide it also. Figure out how to serve and help other people. You might establish your brand as the expert on a particular revenue generating task.
4. Know your gifts and talents – Don’t make your degrees your only shoe in. What makes you amazing? Because you really are amazing. Know what that is. If you can’t figure it out, ask a trusted person what they think it is. Remember, you are amazing.
5. Become comfortable with your presentation skills. Tell your own story, always. Sell yourself. Always have the latest successful thing you did on the front of the brain. When a manager asks you, what have you been up to? Or how’s it going? Please have more to say than “I’m just keeping busy.” You bring so much more than that! Also, work on the presentation skills of speaking in front of a group of people.
6. Manage your emotions – your emotional intelligence, stay positive, have a pleasing personality, demonstrate grace under pressure, defuse conflict, find ways to relieve stress. You’ll experience healthier relationships. If you need coffee before you get started, get it before you get to the office. If you still come across difficult people, figure out a way around them, but don’t step on them.
7. Seek knowledge, education, and information, and use wisdom to apply it.
8. Read or listen to at least one great book per month. Create your own library physically and electronically. If you don’t have that “miscellaneous books” line item in your budget, check them out from your local library. Some libraries will allow you to download (borrow) books for free on your phone or tablet.
9. Subscribe and listen to informational on-demand radio programs in your area of interest – podcasts, magazines, and blogs. Create an email address specifically for this type stuff, since most subscriptions require one. I use YouTube, iTunes, Flipboard to listen to and read areas I want to learn more information.
10. Attend at least one seminar per year. Ask your company to budget for it. (Even if your company doesn’t pay for it, invest in yourself) and go with the intent to learn at least one great idea to implement. Try to make at least one connection to stay in touch once or twice a year, even if it’s sharing information, like an article that you read and you think they’d find in interesting. Meeting too many people at a conference and not making genuine connections will stress you out and you probably won’t keep in touch anyway. Oh, but when you do make the right connections, it’s indeed magical.
11. Take at least two courses in your areas of interest. – Information improves and changes fast. So explore ones that can give you skills that you need. You can find some for free. Sometimes free or low cost like www.Udemy.com, www.creativelive.com, or others.
12. Stay in good health and good appearance. Success is not just about making money.
13. Use your vacation days to rejuvenate, recharge. Every vacation day doesn’t have to be actually going somewhere or doing something. Mental health days are important.
14. Get a mentor. Mentors can help guide you on your journey. I prefer genuine mentor/mentee relationships, but some organizations have programs where they will assign mentors. If you have not found one or assigned one, ask for one or seek your own. Remember, this is your career; you should ultimately make all decisions regarding your career, based on what you hear/gain from others. Note: Your manager is not your mentor.
15. If your current organization is not working for you, find one that does. You have a whole world out there to explore. There’s no sense in wasting their time and yours.
What steps will you take to perform better this year?