Everyone’s career path is unique. Your ultimate destination may be defined, vague, or largely unknown — and that’s OK. As a business professional, you are your very own trailblazer. Your timeline to success is never guaranteed, but the decisions you make today will set the precedent for your career years into the future.
This article includes 5 tactics you can use in order to move forward on your respective career path with more clarity, to achieve a greater output, and to become the best version of yourself in the process.
Listen to those who have gone before
The old adage of working hard versus working smart will always be a relevant one. Working the smart way may not always be simple. However, listening to predecessors who have charted their own paths leading to desired outcomes can provide clarity and significant value.
Mentors can provide remarkable influence and clarity through suggestions and instruction based on real experiences. In a way, a mentor can act as a cheat code of sorts, empowering their student mentees to avoid pitfalls and unnecessary obstacles that can hinder career progression. Through listening and understanding the value of those who came before you, you can move forward by working very smart indeed.
Seek to be you
As early as preschool or elementary education, children are taught to embrace their unique values and characteristics. As Oscar Wilde perfectly stated, “Be you, everyone else is already taken.”
Through this lens, it’s important to acknowledge and accept that your path will be different from others. No two paths are the same, and because of that, you will have your own unique perspective and value. You will also have your own mountaintop to climb, which is something you should focus on rather than trying to follow others’ paths to theirs.
Seek passion over money
It may be easy to set a course with the hopes of chasing the almighty dollar. Don’t do it. Seek your passion first. Author Colin Wright once said “Chase your passions and the money will come. Chase money and you may never find your passions.” Your unique professional value will never be fully realized if money is the driving force behind your efforts.
True leadership and impact are never born from mediocre output and effort. Regardless of industry — be it technology, manufacturing, marketing, food, finance, or beyond — there are too many professionals nowadays who are willing to work on auto-pilot. We’ve all seen them; those content to skate by doing just enough to maintain employment, those who are at work but engaged on their phone far too often, or those who spend too much of their energy cutting down others with negativity. Instead, seek excellence. Raise your game. Go the extra mile. Your unique career path will look average with an average approach.
As you blaze your career path, you may feel overwhelmed at times. You will feel unprepared, you will feel lost, and you will likely feel defeated at times. We offer a simple suggestion to help combat these challenges: kindness.
Practicing kindness along your journey will help it feel more meaningful with each step. Studies have shown that giving compliments can make us even happier than receiving them. Organizations and workplaces are benefited significantly through those who seek to practice outward mindsets, which, in turn, influence cultures. Can you think of somebody whose example of kindness impacted your career? Of course you can. There’s no reason why you cannot bring kindness to your work environment and not make a difference. You’ll likely enjoy it.
Regardless of how your own career path has taken shape up to this point, you can change course for the better. Whether that’s through the adoption of any or all of the aforementioned tactics, by engaging with a mentor who can point you in the right direction, or both, you are the master of your destiny and reach desired outcomes through your efforts, starting today.