Career success seems so elusive as we face constant changes in the work environment and economy. Here’s a post I wrote in 2010 to help sort things out and form the basis of a plan.
We assume the answer’s in all those how-to books, so we read them. We go to presentations by celebrated experts, follow bloggers, and invest in webinars. These are all good things to do, but….
No one can tell you how to get the success you want. Why? Because they aren’t you!
We’re all in the same boat. Getting to success is a struggle. So what’s the winning formula?
I can’t tell you that. No one can. We have to figure it out ourselves. No whining or complaining. No funny business or short cuts. And, hardest of all to swallow, no guarantees!
There are some concrete steps you can take to get started or to keep going if you feel stalled. Here goes:
1. Answer this: What do I want my life to look like when I cross the finish line?
Describe what you see in your mind’s eye: your surroundings and location, who’s there and who’s not, and what you do on a typical day. Write it all down and save it. What you describe tells you what you want to achieve, what you’ll be working toward, and how you want it to come together.
2. Then answer: What career work fits me?
The right career feels like lycra: a close (actually intimate) fit that supports you as you move freely in any direction. Lots of people wear burlap instead. They may find success but it comes with a rash. Real success includes work satisfaction, growth, and fair rewards.
3. Can work in that career get me the success I want? If no, now what?
Sometimes the work you love doesn’t pay well or offer advancement. That means you’ll have to add another work component to your success plan.
There is no rule that says all of our income must come from one source, our job. Additional revenue can come from freelance work, side businesses, and on-line services/sales. The internet offers many new paths for adding revenue. It’s time to explore.
4. Visualize the success you want. Pick up on the vibes.
If visualizing didn’t help golfers make tournament winning putts, they wouldn’t pay their sports psychologists to teach them how to do it. Every athlete who wins a championship says the same thing: “I’ve imagined this moment since I was 9.”
Once you focus on the success you want and the career work you love, you’ll find yourself noticing articles in the paper, segments on TV, comments at work, and on-line posts that will move you forward.
5. Write the words that describe the success you want and the paths you’ll explore to get it.
Writing things down makes them real and prevents you from side-stepping the work you need to do. When you explore options, you will stay open to alternatives until you’ve settled on the winning direction.
Anyone can do this. It’s not magic.
I struggle and question just like you. The success I wanted was a life in the country, working for myself, helping others achieve their own career and business goals.
To get this far meant passing through many seemingly unrelated gates. I was a high school English teacher, a social worker, a corporate manager. While I was employed, I made extra income as a practice management consultant for veterinarians, then as a horse breeder and art dealer.
Each path led me to the life that I visualized. My definition and measure of success isn’t yours and yours isn’t mine. We each own the success we seek—that’s the beauty of it.
Don’t let anyone else define success for you. That’s important to becoming business fit. Own your success goals and desires. It’s what’s up your sleeve that matters. Keep looking—there’s a rabbit in there somewhere!
Photo from garethjmsaunders via Flickr