Success is a subjective word.
It has as many meanings as there are people on the planet.
Depending on who you ask, success can mean having a long and happy marriage, healthy children, robust physical health, academic achievement, overcoming a life obstacle, reaching a mountain peak, or possessing basic personal contentment.
But for those who define success, at least partly, as having a thriving and rewarding career, this article is for you.
The Success Formula
Almost every extremely successful leader, executive and professional I know practices this 10-step formula for building outstanding careers:
1, Get a Mentor
Securing a mentor who becomes your compass and coach – beyond your regular boss – is crucial to building a thriving career.
A strong mentor holds different skills and experiences than you and is seasoned enough to provide ongoing, unbiased and valuable insights toward your professional growth as a leader.
2, Decide How Far You Want to Go
Knowing how ambitious you are at the outset is key.
For instance, if you want to reach the top of the corporate world at the VP, SVP, EVP or even the CEO level, you have targeted what could be a hugely rewarding career.
However, to reach these heights you must be prepared to unleash dedication, passion, hard work, often extremely long hours, continuous improvement and compelling creativity. You need to be a pioneer.
3, Show Up
The most successful people understand how important it is to show up – not just online – but in person, whether at meetings, events or other commitments and make their presence known.
The moment we get too selective about what is worthy of our time we limit our possibilities, our networking potential and our learning opportunities, particularly in the early phases of a career.
4, Be Different
Competition has always been fierce, a fact unlikely to change with the times.
The key is to know how to stand apart from the crowd by knowing and communicating what makes you distinct.
Draft a UVP statement for yourself (Unique Value Proposition) and make it an integral part of your narrative.
Constantly evolve and fine tune this crisp statement to define the rare value you bring to the table.
5, Know When to Turn Your Phone Off
Yes, we are living in the digital world, and yes, we are spending gigantic portions of our lives on our mobile devices.
However, there is still nothing more compelling than someone who is an engaging face-to-face individual who can be personable, completely in-the-moment, attentive, and even charming.
When you are in the presence of people, especially those you need to engage and impress, be in-the-moment and turn your phone off.
6, Strive For Influence, Not Authority
The ability to influence people across organizations and industries, regardless of your position or title, is crucial in today’s world.
Traditional hierarchies are giving way to blurrier work structures and team accountabilities.
This makes it necessary to motivate and influence those above you, below you, and the peers who work across from you, to get things done.
Authority comes and goes in today’s fluid world, but influence lasts. You can take finely honed influence skills with you wherever you go.
7, Be Creative
Being readily equipped to devise fresh, innovative ideas and approaches that help organizations achieve their strategic objectives is at the heart of most high-level career success.
You need to know how to regularly tap into your creative juices and become a go-to professional for ideas that solve problems and move organizations, businesses and initiatives forward.
Have you ever noticed that the brightest person in the room is often the one who talks the least? This is because they are too busy listening.
Most of us like communicating and being heard.
However, excellent communication is by definition a two-way street. Actively listening is usually the first step to interacting successfully with anyone.
We need to constantly remind ourselves that there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth.
9, Be Ethical
Honesty and transparency have never been more critical, particularly in today’s digital and global world.
Beyond the obvious premise of ‘doing the right thing,’ a sound reputation for ethical behaviour can distinguish brands, organizations and individuals in the marketplace.
An unwavering commitment to ethics should be the starting point for all ambitions and career goals, period.
The business and political worlds are littered with fallen leaders who fell short on ethics, and their careers usually paid a heavy price.
10, Believe in Yourself
Throughout every career journey one will encounter helpers and detractors.
Surround yourself with helpers and disengage the detractors who provide no constructive purpose.
In a competitive environment there will occasionally emerge those who seek to knock you off your game and your goals for their own agendas.
Don’t let this happen, and above all, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your goals with the right approach.
Believe in yourself and your objectives.
This article by Andrew Pelletier was also published in the Chicago-based PR blog, Spin Sucks.
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