Ever look around and wonder how the people you know, got to where they are? I know you have. We all do this. We especially wonder about the people who have driven us crazy, right? Or perhaps a boss or your boss’ boss…how did they get there?
Career development is a little mysterious but also quite simple, like cooking. We start with a basic recipe: Relevant skills and strong personal development, like good listening, writing, speaking and presenting, a good sense of humor, and the ability to get the job done – and done well. Then add a bit of luck – being in the right place at the right time. Or friends and colleagues who become a good network and offer job referrals, and can be counted on to compare and share stories and ideas. If we’re talking a really fine recipe, we’d add a solid, strong mentor who offers guidance and well-timed introductions. Now we’re looking at one excellent career.
But wait…there’s also the important ingredient of risk-taking, of asking for more opportunity – holding your hand up, for the chance to do something no one is doing (yet), that needs to be done. There’s that bit about stretching into the work that you don’t know so much about, when you can see it will take you in a valuable direction – even if you don’t know exactly where it will lead.
Add a healthy dose of trust and optimism. Trust that somehow the next leap will land you close enough to what you want, that you’re willing to have a conversation with someone who might just be the person who becomes the bridge to that next opportunity. Or maybe it’s five or ten people with whom you need to speak, before the vision of that opportunity begins to take real shape.
And then there’s the learning and refreshing of our perspective, that’s critical to modern career life. Careers in this century take a lot of updating of information. One way or another, we need to update ourselves to stay current. Reading, taking classes, staying on top of new ways of communicating or presenting, are required to keep that career path humming along.
Tired? Burned out? We need to care for ourselves like a soufflé…a good recipe can go bad if we don’t pay attention to where we are. Take time off to cool down, slow up, and check the recipe for a good life…the recipe that’s just right for you.
Have you missed any of these steps? Just remember that they all take time to do, so plan your time accordingly and look ahead. There will be another opportunity; be ready for it.
Look for the recipe, now.