October 2019 marked my company’s 10th year in business. That decade came with many lessons, from those I learned as a founder and entrepreneur to those our entire team gained from advising successful professionals across the legal, financial, energy, healthcare and other industries. The latter insights have huge implications for how high achievers get from better to best while still finding work fulfilling (and staying sane).
Here are four of our lessons learned to get what you want out of your career, keep your sanity along the way and be part of the illustrious 8% of people who achieve their goals.
1. If everything is a priority, nothing is.
Do you have a list of 50 priorities? Simple math and logic dictate that only one thing at a time can be considered “first.” Pare down your priorities to those things that really are most important and urgent.
This approach applies both inside and outside the office. For example, I had a client who wanted to prioritize family, but how his time was allocated didn’t reflect that ranking. To help him align his time with where he wanted to focus, I encouraged him to put recurring blocks of time for family activities, such as dinner or soccer games, on his calendar, and then to guard that time. Be vigilant in not allowing less-important things to encroach on the priorities you set for yourself.
Consider the same approach for your workplace priorities. With the ceaseless email and others’ need of your time and expertise, it is easy to get distracted by what is most recent, instead of what is most important. Keep yourself focused by identifying three important things you need to get done each day and focusing on those three things. Everything else can wait.
2. Success without fulfillment doesn’t work.
Success minus fulfillment leads to burnout. In addition to playing to your strengths, it’s critical to identify what you like and value about your work and ensure those preferences become requirements as you progress in your career. If the fulfillment is missing, it’s time to evaluate whether a change in environment, position or outlook could help align your work with your values. Identify what would get you back to feeling engaged professionally, and invest the time to attain it. You deserve it.
3. You are the captain of your career.
In today’s global marketplace, there is constant flux. According to 2018 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median time an employee spends with a company is just 4.2 years. And while the best companies provide comprehensive training and professional development programs, no one can know what will ultimately help you reach your career and personal goals as well as you. Your employer is not the driver of your career, and you cannot wait for them to invest in your professional development. You must define your professional goals and identify what you need to reach them. Make a habit of pausing at least annually to assess your goals and the resources they require, including skills training and the people you should get to know or enlist for support.
The best part about your career is that you are in control of more than you think. Identify what you want, and work for the skills needed to get it. Then (and I cannot stress this enough) ask for it! People rarely open doors for you when you haven’t knocked.
4. Give yourself grace.
A phrase we use a lot in our work is “overachieving with grace.” As high achievers, we all strive for perfection and aim to give 110%. But we are also human, and we will fail. And that’s OK. According to the American Institute of Stress, 61% of people point to work as a chief source of stress. Often that stress comes from this unrelenting push we exert on ourselves to do everything, all at once, perfectly. I encourage you to give yourself some breathing room and let it be OK when something isn’t perfect. Take a breath. Note your true priorities. And let the other tasks get done another day.
I hope you can take these few insights and apply them to set yourself up for your most fulfilling, productive year yet. Stay tuned; I look forward to sharing more lessons learned throughout the year.
by Reposted from Forbes