7 things successful people prioritiseBy Richard Crawford , Senior Manager, Culture and Leadership at IAG
As kids, we all had big dreams of what we might be when we grow up. In our younger years, most of us chose occupations with mapped out career paths – anything from a prima ballerina to a doctor, dentist or lawyer. If you followed those dreams, chances are you’ve followed a reasonably clear path so far. For most of us however, our career stories are much less predictable. As little as five years ago, many of our current employment functions were just a sparkle in someone’s eye and five years from now, there will be new roles and functions that are, as yet, entirely foreign to us. To talk of a defined ‘career path’ is now the equivalent of starting your career story with ‘once upon a time’.
This evolutionary process means we must grow and adapt along with the changing business environment. We must strive for continual improvement both personally and professionally. Here are some great tips on staying ahead of the curve to secure a successful professional future.
1. Never stop learning
It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Continuous learning can not only give you a sense of accomplishment but makes you more likely to encounter new opportunities in areas you may never have considered previously – remember many of the jobs of tomorrow haven’t yet been invented!
2. Embrace metamorphosis
Survival of the fittest – it’s another cliché, but it’s no surprise that the person who can adapt the best wins. If your skill set is restricted to a certain task, your contribution is limited. If you can horizontally and vertically integrate, you become irreplaceable. The business environment is constantly evolving - think about this transformation and where you can fit in and add value to not only the business but continue your personal development too.
Always make the most of new opportunities - be the architect of productive change and embrace it rather than fear it. Change can bring new opportunities to move into new roles or broaden your skill set.
3. Encourage and support your peers
Encouraging and nurturing the strengths of your peers will reflect positively on your own career story. Look to build your own strengths by learning from the strengths of others in a positive way rather than trying to build your own value by devaluing others.
In order to understand your own career development plan, sometimes you need to look back at your career history to remember when you were the most energised and passionate. Reflect upon the moments in life that have motivated you and led you to a sense of achievement. Draw upon these moments to understand what inspires you and build from that platform to develop a plan that will work best for you.
5. Decide on your personal direction
The exact direction you choose to take on your career journey will be personal to you and will change over time. At any given moment, your career challenge will be to find and explore the intersection of the answers to three personal and important questions - ‘What is your passion?’, ‘What do people value?’ and ‘What will they pay you to do?’
6. Find a mentor
It is important to find a career mentor. Look for someone whose contribution you value and whom you can trust. A mentor can guide you on your career journey – the way forward may not always be clear and you may often need to step sidewards or backwards to allow you to step forward. A sounding board can help you recognise these opportunities.
7. Create your Success Profile
Document your career and the successes you have had along the way. Take the time to recognise and acknowledge your personal achievements - include areas of interest, community involvement and career history – it sounds like a resume but even if you are not actively looking for a new position, a success profile can help you to define where you have been and where you would like to go in the future.
And a final word - don’t dismiss those big dreams from your childhood – these are the aspirations you made when there were no limitations and no reality checks, chances are these can offer some hints to where your ideal career story will lead you.
About the AuthorRichard Crawford is the Senior Manager, Culture and Leadership at IAG.
Richard has over 30 years experience in organisational and culture development and is passionate about developing leadership qualities at all levels within an organisation that allows its people to thrive.