Chances are you worked extremely hard to get to where you are right now. From making sacrifices to get the education and experience you need to the hours of sleep lost honing your resume to perfection, you’ve poured effort into every step of your journey — and it has paid off in the form of a career-worthy job.
The question, then, is “What’s next?” Do you remain complacent in the success you’ve already obtained, or do you want more? If you fall into the former category, this article isn’t for you. If, however, you are always striving to be the best version of yourself, you may find some inspiration and useful advice below.
Those who have lost their drive have already lost their way. If you wish to grow your success, and subsequently your career, you cannot allow yourself to become complacent. Instead, focus on remaining hungry for more.
This sounds easier than it is. Life can be demanding, responsibilities add up, energy levels are eaten away, and unforeseen circumstances arise to distract you from work. These factors are unavoidable. Those who fight through them and hold on to their passion are those who find success.
The key is to find what motivates you and exploit it. Perhaps you are intrinsically motivated and have everything you need to remain driven within yourself, whether it’s a sense of pride in a job well done or simply a strict, ingrained determination to always be your best. Intrinsic motivation can be a powerful device in furthering your career.
If you tend toward extrinsic motivation, the same principles apply. It may be a monetary goal, the desire for a particular car, or a drive to compile the most extensive collection of rare stamps in the world: Whatever it is, embrace it and use it to keep your passion and energy at high levels.
Develop a Plan
While not all who wander are lost, those who wander at work are essentially treading water. You need to have specific, attainable goals in place, as well as realistic steps to reaching them. Without a vision and plan, you will likely remain stuck — barring divine intervention.
Thankfully, there are more than a few options for developing a plan and laying out a path for your career. It all starts with you, of course, and you should begin by determining exactly what it is that you want. What is your endgame and what are the ideal stops along the way?
Once you have a clear picture of your goals, write them down. Not only does this cement them in your mind, but it gives them a tangibility that can be highly motivating. It also demonstrates that you are serious about your aspirations.
Many companies have career development programs, which can help you both fine-tune your plan and follow it. Even if your company does not have such a program, informing your superiors of your plan is never a bad idea. You may find a mentor and receive valuable guidance.
Whether it’s your favorite video game or your physical appearance, you strategize about the things that matter to you. If you apply that mindset to entertainment and in the gym, why not approach your career the same way? Identify your goals, develop a plan, and take the steps necessary to achieve what you want to achieve.
Maximize Your Productivity
You’ve likely heard the expression, “There’s only so much time in the day” used to emphasize the necessity of prioritization. What do you dedicate your time to throughout the day? The things you’re passionate about, right?
You go home after work and spend time with your family. On the weekends, you take your boat out on the lake (or dream of having a boat). You spend time, effort, thought, and money on what you love, and that’s a good thing!
If growing your career is important to you, shouldn’t you approach it the same way you approach your other passions? Instead of spending 20 minutes on social media during lunch, consider getting ahead on an important assignment or connecting with your office mates. Rather than wasting your commute on the top 40, listen to something related to your career that will motivate and educate you.
In other words: Grab those moments that slip away throughout the day and turn them into something useful. Minutes add up. Hours turn into expertise. Time is your most valuable resource, so allocate yours appropriately to get ahead in your career!
Ben Walker is the founder and CEO of Transcription Outsourcing.