Do you bounce out of bed on Monday morning? Are you regularly presented with opportunities that challenge you to think and grow? Does your salary equal your worth?
If you answered no to any of these questions you could be at risk for career fatigue. Career fatigue is a condition that weakens self-confidence and prevents advancement to new and exciting opportunities. In order to recover from its immobilizing effects you will have to give your career as much attention as you give to your business projects. Once you accept accountability for your success or failure in the workplace opportunities will appear that invigorate and inspire you. These steps will help you progress and thrive throughout your professional life:
1. Build A Strong Network. Start by cultivating relationships with people whom you admire. These are the person who are on or above your level of experience and are either in the same industry or one that complements yours. The best place to meet these people is at professional associations, online networking forums and inside your own organization.
Perhaps you are thinking you don’t have the time to do this. Professional associations are comprised of people who have busy schedules. These people have improved both their professional and personal lives by investing in meaningful activities and relationships. Most associations have early morning meetings and evening events. Yahoo has an extensive directory of business trade organizations Find at least one association that interests you and attend three meetings before deciding whether it is right for you.
2. Nurture Your Network. Neglect your network and it will neglect you. I’ve coached people who have had the good fortune to capture the attention and support of their colleagues and mentors, only to let those relationships slip away once they had reached their goal.
The people who make it to the top fastest understand the value of staying in touch. Good networkers actively seek to assist others in reaching their goals. A link to an article or website can keep you on the radar of someone who has the potential to play an instrumental role in your future. Sharing wins, insights and asking good questions will keep colleagues and mentors in the loop. Whenever logistics allow, meet for lunch or coffee. These measures may lead to your next position or big account.
3. Stay Ahead of the Curve to Stay On Top of Your Game. Regular participation in seminars, workshops and monthly association meetings is a great way to keep abreast of trends that affect your industry and ultimately your career. It can also help you build your network. Now, you might be thinking isn’t that your employer’s responsibility? Or perhaps you are worried about taking the time off. In an ideal world your company would pay for your training, and of course your time is valuable. However, you are doing this for you! You are investing in your career, the fact that your employer benefits from your increased knowledge may be the basis for the next promotion or why a rival organization offers you a better opportunity.
4. Know Your Worth. Whether you are actively seeking new opportunities or are happy in your current position, be aware of your accomplishments. Years ago, my cousin’s husband, Jim introduced me to a wonderful method for doing this. Jim had rapidly advanced from a sales representative to a regional sales director. The secret to his success was a simple composition notebook in which he jotted down ideas, tracked his wins, and anything else that was relevant to advancing his career. Years later, the information he compiled helped me write a killer résumé for him and gave him ammunition to justify a substantial salary increase.
5. Start Planning Now For Your Next Two Positions. Having a career goal is like planning a vacation. You wouldn’t plan a trip without having a destination. Even if you did, you might see some interesting places but chances are you would end up in a place like Alaska with only a bathing suit to keep you warm. Before you accept your next offer ask yourself “what impact will this position have on my long term goals? Will it strengthen my marketability or weaken it?”
According to Stedman Graham “None of us is defined by our circumstances, nor are we defined by how other people perceive us. It is up to each one of us to define ourselves, and that is a life’s work. Each of us has the ability to lead a dynamic life by pursuing our unique goals and dreams. There are no limits to what you can do.” I hope you will make good use of this advice.