Concept of the road to successYour career is something that you are going to be involved in for a large portion of your life. The better part of your waking hours for most of your week will be spent engrossed in your work, so it is important that you try to make the most out of your job. This starts with understanding your concept of success and working to achieve that definition.

You see, success means different things to different people. I recently had a discussion with a close friend about money-making careers.

“Nothing I desire to do makes money,” she’d said. “Science doesn’t interest me; math is a no; I could care less about law, and I loathe medicine.” My friend went on to say how she couldn’t imagine sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day as an engineer, or doing any kind of IT work, for that matter.” All those fields offer their workers great salaries (especially the higher up you go), yet they meant nothing to my friend. Making good money in a field you despise didn’t equate success to her. As a writer (who freelances for multiple sites for free), I can certainly understand this. My passions may not equate a life of riches either, but the mere fact of being able to call your job your passion is success in my eyes.

Again, success is subjective, but one thing that is true for most people is that we hope to obtain it. Here are some tips for helping you achieve great success in your career:

Don’t Plan, Just Do

Planning your career is one of the fastest ways to put yourself on the wrong track in your career. You should have a clear idea of what you want to do in your life, but not necessarily a  set-in-stone path that you want to take. It is crucial to stay flexible and remain completely open to all of the possibilities that may present themselves to you because they may be far better than anything else that you could have planned.

Climb the Rock Wall

Many people tell professionals to climb the ladder to success. If you truly want to be successful, however, you won’t just limit yourself to going straight up. The world is changing at a speed that is difficult for us to comprehend, which is why it is important that you be ready to look all around you; take in the opportunities; and be ready to scramble toward them. Look at your career like a rock wall: you may be climbing from side to side at times, but you are still heading upwards.

Focus on Now

It is important to have goals and hopes for advancement, but it’s even more important that you keep yourself focused on the job that you have now. If you don’t focus on being the best in your current position, you will never get the opportunity to progress on to the next one.

Ignore the Clock, Watch the Timeline

Everybody has goals of where they want to be when they reach a certain age. For most people, these goals will not be accomplished. What sets the failures apart from those that will be successful is the ability to look beyond these specific goals and not let them bog you down. Don’t let the fact that you didn’t reach a certain level by the time you were a certain age or by the time you had been in the company for a certain length of time discourage you from continuing to work toward the next goal listed on your timeline.

Be a Risk Taker

It can be scary to dive into something unknown and take on challenges that you don’t necessarily feel prepared to fulfill. This is what will push you and open up the world of opportunity. Plus, taking risks can not only benefit your professional life, but your personal life. After drumming up the courage to step out and take a risk concerning your career, you will see that courage drift over into personal areas as well.

Be Yourself

It may be a cliché, but the most important person that you could ever be is you. You aren’t going to convince people to like, trust or advance you because you’re pretending to be someone that you’re not (or need to even be). Instead, be yourself and trust that you can get where you need to be based purely on that.

Besides, companies look for certain qualities when it comes to cultural fit, and these qualities run across a spectrum. They’re varied and diverse, which makes for a better organization. Can you imagine working for a company where every single person looked, dressed, talked and acted the same? Being yourself helps bring those unique qualities to a company that only you can offer.

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