Like most people that have achieved some success, I am often asked for advice on how to be successful in a career. Much of my advice would not be very different than things you read in many motivational books … but I like to talk about 4 “buckets” that need to be continually filled as you go through your career.
1. Knowledge. This is fairly obvious and not worth too much discussion. You need to be knowledgeable in your field and have the ability to operate at a strategic level. The ability to talk about current events does not hurt either. You also need to operate efficiently, employing great time management techniques.
2. Attitude. A “glass half full” attitude, looking for the positive in situations and a real enjoyment of life are key to “true” success. It’s not much good making money if you are unhappy!
3. Street Smarts. The ability to work within the rules, adapt to the needs of your organization and still excel. Companies have strategies and plans that you may not necessarily agree with … but to be successful you must embrace them and support them. Don’t gossip, make your boss look good and be professional (leave the personal baggage at home).
4. Energy. This is probably where I differ from some people. I believe that people with energy can make things happen and can positively influence those around them. It’s hard to consistently have energy if you don’t look after yourself, so my advice is to invest in your health. I workout most mornings for about an hour, I don’t let my weight get away from me, I take my vitamins, I try to eat healthy, I don’t drink to excess and I don’t smoke. (I’m not really as boring as that sounds … but maybe that’s another blog 🙂 )
The key to all of these “buckets” is that as you move through your career you need to replenish them. You might be a great technician, but when you take a supervisory role there is a huge learning curve and that “knowledge bucket” needs a lot of work, and there are a whole new set of “street rules” to learn. When you go through a tough personal time your health might suffer so you need to take extra care of yourself, so that you have the energy you need.
Walk Fast and Smile!