If you are unsure what direction to take your life or career in, then you will find no shortage of articles or self-help books to give tips or advice. From TED talks to motivational or inspiring bloggers, as well as family and friends, there will always tend to be a running theme with this kind of thing; it is all about you. In order to have the life and career that you want, then you need to look at yourself and work on you. You will have more success if you can learn to adapt and change the things that are holding you back. What kind of habits do you often fall into, at home and a work, that can undermine your potential?
If you think that change is on the horizon, or want to be doing bigger and better things, then coming up are some suggestions for improvement that can be applied to all people in all walks of life. From corporate careers, to life, and to creative industries.
Create a Strong Foundation
No matter where you are in your life at the moment, from fresh out of college to retiring in 10 years, it is all good. And a solid foundation is a must, to have some key and fundamental steps to help you to progress.
One of the parts of the foundation that you should create for yourself is building up a network of people around you. Let’s be honest first, though, networking can be a little bit cringeworthy, and as so, has developed a bit of a negative reputation. People imagine career-hungry individuals going around to say all of the right things to people, even if they don’t really think it. After all, it’s not what you know but who you know, right? While that can help, you need to be building up some genuine contacts that can help. Keep in touch with old colleagues or nurture relationships with those people that you want to emulate. Be genuine, though; schmoozers need not apply.
That being said, networking alone isn’t going to be enough to help you get to where you want to be. It will help your people skills and to slowly build up people to rely upon. But it isn’t likely to land you an immediate interview with the head of a company or help you to get business proposals left, right, and center. According to US college professor Adam Grant, networking doesn’t need you to be an expert at networking. It needs you to be an expert in something else in particular. So you have to bring something to the table in order to build up a network. From knowing employment law well to having experience writing music, you need something specific that makes you stand out and will help people to keep in touch with you. You might want people to be part of your network, but you want people to want you to be part of theirs too.
To thrive in your job and in life, then staying informed is the way to go. Not only will it help you career to develop, when you’re up to date with the latest goings on, but it will help you to be better as a person. You’ll be more interesting when you’re up to date on current affairs and can offer some debate or insight into what is going on in the world around you, as well as in your chosen career sector.
One way to do this could be to join a local group or a professional organization that meet from time to time. While you can help to raise your profile (see above point of networking), you can also help to get some really valuable skills and experience. Continuing to study can also be a good way to do just this. Not only are you developing your skills or knowledge, but you’ll have the expertise to prove it. So are there some gaps in your knowledge? This can work if you’re moving to a new career field or staying where you are; just think about what you need to brush up on and then go for it.
Another important note to remember is that you are not your career. Although you will spend a lot of time doing your work, it doesn’t have to be all that you do. Have outside interests and different circles of people that you associate with. Author David Heenan talks about how having a ‘parallel life’ alongside your work life, will help you to avoid burnout.