Updated: Apr 20
Spring has officially sprung in New England, and just like plants that need to be nurtured to thrive and grow, our professional lives also require intentional care and attention. Planting seeds for success in your professional life can help prepare you for future growth opportunities and ensure that you're on the right path to achieving your career goals.
Set Goals - What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years? This is more than a common interview question, it should be something you're thinking about throughout your career. Setting goals provides motivation, focus, a plan, shows your ambition and aligns your next steps towards the end goal. Don't wait for opportunities to come to you, set a goal and small steps towards making it happen! If you have a proactive employer that is employee-centric, be sure they know your career goals and if they want to retain you, they'll support your development. Volunteer for new projects, offer new ideas, and take the initiative to make things happen. Showcase yourself as someone who is a high potential employee!
Take on new challenges - Push yourself out of your comfort zone by taking on new challenges and responsibilities. This will help you develop new skills and demonstrate your value to your employer, making you a prime candidate for future growth opportunities. You may have heard "smooth seas do not make for skillful sailors". We learn the most when things aren't easy and even when we fail. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." New opportunities can be daunting, but they are the start of the biggest learning and development opportunities.
Life-Long Learning - Whether you're just starting out in your career, or you're in the sunset, heading towards retirement, take advantage of every professional development opportunity you can. Highlighting this on your resume will demonstrate your commitment to your career and your craft. Join committees, groups, become a mentor, attend workshops, webinars, conferences, and where possible, if there is an industry association, get certified! Seize every opportunity to learn new skills and stay up-to-date on industry trends. This makes you invaluable to your employer, and the investment in yourself will pay off in the long run. *If you don't have a college degree and you see this as a potential detractor, certifications and continuous learning and development will matter greatly. There are also volunteer opportunities that align with personal & professional development and goal achievement. Highlight these on your resume and your professional social media profile.
Network with intention - What is networking? Networking is all about the connections you make along your career journey. Why do you need a network? Your network is who you will go to for references, to use as a sounding-board, to help make introductions, etc. Building a strong network is key to creating new opportunities and growing your career. Make sure to attend networking events, connect with colleagues on LinkedIn, and reach out to mentors for advice and guidance.
Be Coachable - Feedback is essential for growth, both personally and professionally. Seek out feedback from your colleagues, managers, and mentors to help identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth. Performance reviews can be windows to a view of what you need to improve upon to reach your next goal.
Choose a Positive Attitude - Maintaining a positive attitude can make all the difference in your professional life. Cultivate a growth mindset, stay resilient in the face of challenges, and look for the silver lining in every situation. We may not be able to control everything in our careers, but we can always control our attitude. There's an old adage that still rings true: "90% of success is based on a positive attitude, the other 10% is based on luck or what simply happens to you".
By planting and nurturing the seeds in your professional life, you're planning for a future built on a foundation that will sustain growth towards your future success. Remember, like a garden planted in Spring, the rewards of a bountiful harvest takes time and effort, but with intentional care and patience, you can grow a career that flourishes and blooms.
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