Those of us in the workforce—from seasoned industry veterans to newbies who are just getting started on their career journeys and everyone in between—have learned a few inescapable facts, regardless of our industry or aspirations. Success is a fickle, tricky, thing, and a lot of variables come into play that helps separate those of us who achieve it from those who futilely chase it.
The truth is everything from your skill set, to your level of ambition, to being in the right place at the right time, to the health of your industry and company all factor into the success equation. And even then, you have to add in a little good old-fashioned luck. Even if you have everything going for you, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to achieve success—let alone hold on to it for the entirety of your professional career. Success, like most things in life, doesn’t come with a guarantee.
That said, there are things you can do to help tip the scales in your favor and help ensure that if success is out there in your orbit, it’ll come and find you. Consider using the following strategies to help you come as close to guaranteeing success in your career journey as possible.
1. Create a clear and realistic path
Each of us is responsible for forging our own career journey. Will yours be a straight line or a confusing maze with lots of illogical dead ends? The truth is, once you have a goal in mind, you have to have realistic steps for getting there—or your chances of being successful are slim. Looking to become a lawyer and take the corporate world by storm? Good luck if you don’t have conquering law school as one of your initial steps. Want to become the world’s greatest teacher? It might not pan out if you don’t get the proper licensure, depending on the state you plan to work in.
I think you see our point. Having a goal is great, but it has to come with a set of logical steps that align with the real world in order for it to be a reachable and achievable thing. The further out you’re able to create this logical path, the better your chances are at achieving success. Sure, some people are able to leap forward blindly and still thrive, but trust us, they’re certainly in the minority. You don’t want to take an unnecessary gamble when a little advanced planning can really help stack the odds in your favor.
2. Predict the future
If you want to best position yourself for career success, do everything you can to read the winds of change in your chosen industry and predict what the needs and requirements are and will be over the long haul. This means building the knowledge and skill set to take you where you want to go—today, tomorrow, and in the future. The people who find success are always at the vanguard of change and keep themselves at the cutting edge to avoid getting rusty and apathetic. The world is changing fast these days, and it’s easier than ever before to become an obsolete dinosaur in our field. Stay sharp, keep focused, and above all keep evolving and growing with the times.
3. Always go above and beyond
One thing that often separates the truly successful from the also-rans of the world is an unceasing desire to go above and beyond at all career phases. Successful individuals never just meet the bare requirements of their positions or seek to simply skate by, they always strive to go a step further to achieve the best possible results, no matter the size or scope of any given project. They’re always working to build an unsurpassed reputation for being the go-to resources at their jobs, and it’s usually never a surprise when they’re rewarded well for their efforts. Which side of the effort coin do you want to be on?
4. Spin failure into gold
It can be argued that every failure in life is a step towards success, and people who eventually achieve their goals have made good use of this powerful notion. Don’t take our word for it—Thomas Edison once remarked, after devoting years to developing a sustainable electric light bulb before achieving success, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Those who earn career success don’t shy away from risk because of the prospect of failure. And if that happens they don’t let it defeat them or become a permanent setback—they learn from their mistakes, move on, and avoid making them in the future. You should consider doing the same as you move forward along your path to career success.
Although there are very few absolutes in life, you can do a lot to ensure that you are