Ask yourself this; have I achieved all that I want to achieve? Great, then your next move is an easy one: retirement. For the rest of us, that leaves so much more to accomplish in our professional lives. Some of us have a great sense of direction when it comes to our own personal advancement. This does, however, come easy to all of us. Many of us have this daunting sense of helplessness when it comes to planning our careers and our lives. I speak from personal experience when I say that our personal view of success seems so out of reach that it feels impossible to reach.
The problem is that all too often we think of success in terms of one huge leap as opposed to a series of small, attainable steps, that we can more readily take with the right plan. We also think about success as the end result of our efforts resulting in money and assets rather than the journey towards happiness. Success is not the end result; it is the here and now. Success is the overcoming of the challenges we face every day. When you look at things from that perspective, then you realize that success is not only for those who secure masses of wealth. Success is for everyone and looks different for each of us.
So you may ask; how do I achieve my own personal success? The answer is different for everyone but the most important step is realizing what success looks like for you. The rest of the planning grows from there. Picture yourself where you want to be, and the path will reveal itself, roadblocks and all. Yes, I mention roadblocks, because contrary to a lot of noise out there, success is not easy, and it does not happen overnight.
Mapping your success
As I said before, success is a journey comprised of a series of steps. The path look different to everyone, but the steps generally remain the same. Here is what I have found useful in my career path; and though I am not quite where I want to be, I am well on my way, and my personal success is well within reach.
Identifying your success
It is hard to know which way to go if you have no destination in sight. Envision where it is you want to be professionally. I say professionally, because wealth and success are somewhat exclusive of each other. If your goal is wealth, you will tend to do things that will make you money, but will not bring you a sense of intrinsic happiness. If you consider your own happiness, then success looks a little different, highlighting a sense of accomplishment, comfort and taking your own achievements to the next level.
Activate Your Success GPS
I like to use the term Success GPS, because like a GPS, you need to be able to actively redirect yourself when you stray off path. Roadmaps are good, but you tend to find yourself going backwards, just to move forward. You also do not know you’re lost until you are too far down the road. Plan your career moves ahead of time, with contingency plans, in case your steps take you in the wrong direction. There is a wealth of information and resources available in planning your career. Take advantage of everything. Career planners, mentors, internships, and education all work towards your goals.
Auditing Your Efforts
It is important to know that the efforts that you make are positioning yourself better in line with your career goals. Determining what skills your desired career requires early will help you to better answer these questions. The goal here is to stay focused on advancing yourself along your path, knowing that your choices are taking you in the right direction. The question you must ask yourself before every decision should be, does this have benefits towards my career goal?
If you deem college to be your best career path, make sure it will offer you a focused, streamlined approach to preparedness for your goals. Others may be better off with an institution that focuses on niche careers. Independent courses are also another good alternative for those looking to quickly add skills to approach the next step in their advancement.
Apply Your Skills
New skills are integral in advancing your career, but the efforts are futile if you do not implement them in your career. It is not enough just to acquire new skills. Find opportunities to showcase these new skills. If opportunities arise in your current situation, volunteer these skills. It is only when you show what you can do, that people will entrust you with greater responsibilities and a greater stake in the establishment. If the opportunity doesn’t present itself where you are, take the time to showcase it somewhere else, whether it is a volunteer situation or a personal project. It need only be a positive, verifiable representation of these skills being put to use.
Document your progress
Implementing new skills is great, but when you are looking to advance, you need a track record of proven success in using those skills and how the contributed to the benefit of the establishment. You should be able to present, at a moments notice, these accomplishments, either for a promotion or for positioning yourself for a career move. Keep an up-to-date portfolio and have it readily available. Keep a link on a personal business card to your portfolio for self-marketing efforts.
Put Yourself Out There
Taking all of these steps positions you to move up, but you will move nowhere if you do not put it out there that you are available, interested, and qualified for the position that you want. Let’s face it; success does not come to you. You have to find it, hunt it down, and make the kill, and believe me when I say that it will not stand idle. Be ready to make the chase. It will all be worth it when you have the spoils of your hunt.
Play it again, Sam!
Don’t rest on your laurels just yet. Success is always short lived. We as humans are never quite satisfied with what we have or where we are. There is always a next big thing. Get ready to gear up and do it all over again, remembering that success is all about the journey towards new accomplishments.
I hope you find this helpful, and again this is based on my own experience and that which I have personally witnessed. Please feel free to comment and/or share your own stories on striving for personal success!