As a coach working with high-performing clients, I have learned that success is not just about working hard, but also working smart.
It involves having the right mindset, knowing yourself, and developing the necessary skills and experiences to achieve your goals.
In this article, I will share some tips and tricks that I use with my clients which are keys to a successful career.
Understanding your passions and values
The first key to a successful career is understanding your passions and values. It is essential to know what drives you and what you stand for. This knowledge will help you choose a career path that aligns with your interests, strengths, and values. When you do something you are passionate about, it becomes easy to stay motivated and excel in your work.
To understand your passions and values, take some time to reflect on your interests, skills, and experiences. Think about the things that make you happy and fulfilled. You can also seek feedback from people you trust, such as family, friends, or mentors. Once you have identified your passions and values, use them as a guide to choose a career that you will enjoy and find meaningful.
My clients have a workbook which helps them define their passions, values and priorities. It’s a simple but effective exercise that gives them clarity to what they really want in their lives.
Developing a clear career goal
The second key to a successful career is developing a clear career goal. Having a goal gives you direction and purpose, and helps you stay focused and motivated.
Start by asking yourself where you want to be in five or ten years. Then, break down your goal into smaller, achievable steps, and create a plan to reach them.
To develop a clear career goal, research the job market, and identify the skills and qualifications you need for your desired role.
You can also seek advice from professionals in your field or attend career development workshops. Remember, your career goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
After my clients understand their values and priorities, we define how that might change their current trajectory. If a pivot is required, they have confidence in what they are choosing next.
Building a strong professional network
The third key to a successful career is building a strong professional network. Your network can help you access new opportunities, provide guidance and support, and connect you with potential mentors or sponsors. To build your network, attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with people on social media.
When building your network, focus on building relationships, not just connections. Take the time to get to know people and understand their interests and goals. Be genuine and authentic, and offer value to others by sharing your knowledge or resources. Remember, a strong network is built on trust, respect, and mutual benefit.
My clients usually identify someone in their network or organization who has the role they want, and then they set up time to meet with them. It’s a great way to build a relationship but also get information about what the role/level/requirements are really like.
Improving your communication skills
The fourth key to a successful career is improving your communication skills.
Good communication skills are essential in the workplace, and can help you build relationships, resolve conflicts, and convey your ideas effectively.
To improve your communication skills, practice active listening, speak clearly and confidently, and use nonverbal cues effectively.
You can also seek feedback from others and attend communication skills workshops or courses. Remember, effective communication is not just about talking, but also about listening and understanding others.
Part of the work my clients do is around their executive presence, and communication is a big part of that. We discuss where they get tripped up, what’s getting in the way, and how to remove those obstacles. They bring real-life scenarios into our sessions and apply what they’ve learned in real-time.
Gaining relevant experience and skills
The fifth key to a successful career is gaining relevant experience and skills.
To excel in your career, you need to have the necessary knowledge, skills, and experiences to succeed. Look for opportunities to gain experience, such as internships, volunteering, or part-time work.
You can also invest in your personal and professional development by attending training programs, taking online courses, or pursuing further education. Remember, learning is a lifelong process, and the more you invest in your development, the more opportunities you will have to succeed.
My clients are busy people. When they decide they need an additional skillset or other development activity, we brainstorm what they can do to best use their time for the biggest impact.
Embracing a growth mindset
The sixth key to a successful career is embracing a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is a belief that you can improve your abilities and achieve your goals through hard work, dedication, and resilience. When you have a growth mindset, you see challenges and setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as failures.
To embrace a growth mindset, focus on your strengths, take on challenges, and learn from your mistakes. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and use them as motivation to keep going. Remember, success is not a destination, but a journey.
As part of my client’s curriculum, they learn how to take negative behaviors (referred as their Saboteurs) and turn those behaviors positive (get into a Sage mindset). I teach methods which are very easy and can be implemented immediately to practice. With this self-command, my clients have control over their thoughts in a new and effective way.
Overcoming obstacles and setbacks
The seventh key to a successful career is overcoming obstacles and setbacks.
In your career journey, you will encounter challenges and setbacks. How you respond to these challenges will determine your success. To overcome obstacles and setbacks, stay positive, seek support from your network, and learn from your mistakes.
Remember, setbacks are not failures, but opportunities to learn and grow. Use them as a chance to re-evaluate your goals and strategies, and make adjustments where necessary. Stay focused on your long-term career goals, and don’t let temporary setbacks derail your progress.
One of the exercises I give my clients is “Find the gift”. Whenever something happens which does not go to plan, I challenge them to find a positive outcome. While this is not always easy, this exercise helps them take back their power over their thoughts. Though we cannot control every situation, we are always in control of what we THINK about every situation.
Balancing work and life
The eighth key to a successful career is balancing work and life. It is essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout, fatigue, and stress. To achieve work-life balance, set boundaries, prioritize your time, and take time for self-care.
Remember, your career is just one part of your life, and it should not consume all your time and energy. Make time for your hobbies, interests, and relationships, and take care of your physical and mental health.
One of the most exciting outcomes of coaching is when a client has a big realization. Most of the time, the client realizes that with their new skills, they have better boundaries around their time and what is important to them. You cannot have great work life balance without solid boundaries.
Continuing education and personal development
The ninth key to a successful career is continuing education and personal development.
To stay relevant and competitive in your field, you need to keep learning and expanding your skills and knowledge. Attend conferences, workshops, or seminars, read industry publications, and seek feedback from your network.
You can also pursue further education, such as a master’s degree or certification. Remember, the more you invest in your personal and professional development, the more opportunities you will have to advance your career.
An important thing I remind my clients is that not every sense of satisfaction has to come from their work. We are conditioned over our lives to seek work as our “fulfillment”, that if we find what we love, “we never work a day in our life”. What an incredible burden to put on our jobs! While we are certainly worthy of a career we love, for some, work serves a purpose to give them time and resources for other areas of life they value more. That’s perfectly okay.
Sometimes the simplest change a person makes is to reframe how they look at the work they do every day. The role may not change, but their thoughts about it do.
Putting the keys to a successful career into practice
In conclusion, unlocking the keys to a successful career requires a combination of self-awareness, goal-setting, skill-building, and resilience.
By understanding your passions and values, developing a clear career goal, building a strong professional network, improving your communication skills, gaining relevant experience and skills, embracing a growth mindset, overcoming obstacles and setbacks, balancing work and life, and continuing education and personal development, you can achieve your career aspirations and reach your full potential.
So, start putting these tips and tricks into practice today, and take control of your career journey. Remember, success is not a destination, but a journey, and the keys to a successful career are within your reach.