No one wakes up early one morning and decides then and there they’re going to run 42 kilometres today! Chances are, if you wake up one morning and say, “I’m running 42 kilometres today!” you’ve put in the work and worked with a coach to help you prepare .
Personally, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with running. I used to run half-marathons and 10 kilometre races. I did it with a group and completed a few of them on my own. Now, if I was a serious runner, I would probably have developed an arsenal of tools and strategies to ensure that I completed every race I entered, and to avoid injuries.
Professional athletes and those who love it do this for running, swimming and every other activity they enjoy, yet very few of us do it for our careers.
We leave our careers to chance.
After you’ve decided what career success looks like, there are a few tools that will help you transition successfully from where you are now to where you want to be.
The new year, a new month or the start of a new quarter, often brings with it a desire to do something different, to be better or to work towards something we’ve been struggling to implement.
Whatever your career goals are, here are five strategies you should have in your toolbox to make it a success.
Strategies for career success
- Seek Clarity
In coaching, thinking through a client’s goal often resembles the layers of an onion. We start with one idea but as we peel back the layers, we often end up with a different idea, which resembles their true desire – the outcome they really want to achieve.
Going into this quarter, peel back the layers of your goal. Think about why you want to achieve this goal. How your life might be different if you did achieve it and why now is the right time to work towards it. If you want to read more about how coaching can help you get clear on your goals, read our blog here.
- Work with a Career or Life coach
The ICF (International Coaching Federation) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. Athletes, CEOs and the best coaches in the world work with a coach to help them succeed. A career coach can help you develop self-awareness and confidence. They can also help you understand yourself better so that YOU understand how you impact the people around you. We can grow so much from a place of awareness.
- Immerse yourself
My family used to make fun of me because in my twenties I bought every self help book I could get my hands on. I love all things personal development and psychology – I want to know what makes people tick and I am intrigued by how people who grow up in the same family system can make such different life decisions. So, when I want to understand something, I find all the resources I can on that topic. I read and I watch talks because immersing myself in the topic doesn’t just help me understand it but also helps me get a better understanding of people. Whatever you want to achieve this year, whether it is to step into your first leadership role or to learn to play an instrument, take the time to immerse yourself in books, talks or courses on the topic.
- Develop strong habits
If goals are a guide to success and our actions are the steps we take, then habits are what makes success possible. I’ve read two books this year that talked about habits and setting oneself up for success. The first is Atomic Habits by James Clear. I listened to it and have definitely looked at how I can start with small changes in order to build strong habits. We often rely on motivation to get us to the gym but we need a plan for day four and strong habits for week three when motivation wanes.
The other book I read was the 5AM Club by Robin Sharma. I am a huge Robin Sharma fan and absolutely love his stories. I haven’t gotten to a 04h45 daily wake-up yet and I am not sure if this is what I want to do but I love the extra time in the morning and the ability to get important things like exercise, journaling and meditation out of the way first. I feel more energised and less stressed.
- Protect your time
We all get the same number of hours in a day, yet some people protect their time and others give their time freely. In a meeting recently, there was such a clear distinction between how senior leaders in the business guarded their time versus how employees thought they had to spend their time. Leaders seemed to understand the importance of boundaries and creating space for mental and physical health whereas employees were struggling with setting boundaries and often worked late nights and weekends. Being busy has become a disease and for some it’s become something they hide behind. Organisations have created a culture where being busy – working all hours and being “always on” is celebrated.
Our focus should be on outcomes, not time spent on tasks that keep us busy but makes no difference to our clients and stakeholders. This is something all of us should take responsibility for.
When you tell yourself you don’t have time, think again. I love this talk by Laura Vanderkam – How to gain control of your free time. How we spend our time is a choice.
Do you have any other tools in your toolbox that will help you make this year a success? Share with us in the comments below. If you don’t have any tools, select one of the strategies mentioned above and implement it over the next 30 days.
If you are ready to transition into your first mid-level leadership role, your next step is to schedule a FREE coaching call. Click here to book your call.
About the Author
Selina is a leadership transitions coach based in Cape Town, South Africa. She helps women in technology transition from technical specialist roles to mid-level manager positions using transition coaching strategies.