Skyrocket your career by using a simple strategy: being the best you can possibly be at your job
Before you read this, I have a confession to do. I am not a “know it all” guru or a wise old man with half a century of working experience under his hat. I learned everything you’ll read here by observing people I admire navigate through their professional lives and by applying some of the learnings in my own journey. I am writing this post so I can share them with you.
Sadly, most people live their working life stuck in a hamster wheel. They experience no progression, only an endless grind. Most of us start accepting from an early age that this is how life is supposed to be. That fun and work don’t go together.
Some people, however, seem not to be affected by this invisible barrier. They navigate their professional life freely and intentionally. They grow and learn in one year what most take five years to do. They succeed, almost graciously, where others fail miserably.
How can they do all this while playing by the same rules?
Well, here is the hard truth most of the career gurus out there don’t want you to know: The recipe for being successful at work is rather simple. It’s no more than being able to balance common sense, goodwill, and smartness.
Note that I mentioned “simple,” not “effortless.” That’s because the effort isn’t about understanding the principles behind it, but on applying them every single day without letting ego, laziness or mediocrity get the best out of you.
Now, let me share some of these principles with you. Know that only knowing them will change nothing in your life. You have to live them.
Principle 1: Work somewhere or with something that inspires you.
The rationale here is simple: To be great at something you have to be willing to show up consistently every day and put in the work. There are no shortcuts. There is only a booster, and it’s called Passion.
Passion is the fuel that will give you the necessary energy to persevere in your path to achieve mastery. Without it, you will get caught on the daily hurdles and lose sight of your goals. It can only be genuine or non-existent. There is no gray zone. No such thing as being “kind of passionate.” You can’t fake it. At least not for long.
There’s no value on occupying the office with your body if your mind is somewhere else. You get paid to create a positive impact in your organization and, if you are lucky enough, in the world. The number of hours you spend in your chair is irrelevant. If this is all the value you got to offer, then the plant standing in the hall 24 hours per day deserves a better salary and position than you.
Find a craft you’d be glad to spend all your time perfecting. It will allow you not only to be energized to put in the work, but also to enjoy the ride.
Success only matters if you feel happy and fulfilled.
Then, if you haven’t already, join a company that shares the same passions as you. In time, they will notice and reward you for that. If they don’t, get the hell out of there.
Principle 2: Play to win
Mediocrity has no place among winners. And whoever hired you, hired you to win. All working relationships start with mutual trust. Honor this trust by using every neuron in your brain to help your company to achieve its goals.
You have to stay on top of your game. Learning something new every single day is the best way to make sure that you’re better today than you were yesterday.
Play to win, but don’t be over competitive. You don’t need to be better than everyone on everything. Don’t be that dude. Instead, realize that winning doesn’t always need to come with the cost of others losing. Create win-win outcomes and relationships so that you build bridges instead of burning them. Karma is a funny thing.
And this brings us to…
Principle 3: Work well with others
True greatness is contagious. Great people are abundant. Some shady people will try to tell you otherwise, but it’s a trap. If you help your colleagues to achieve their goals, most of them will help you back in a time of need.
Sometimes is necessary to engage in conflicts, but only sometimes. If you fight all the time, you will make people tired of working with you. It’s important not to waste your hard-earned credibility by complaining about everything. If you choose your battles wisely, people will know you are serious when you raise a concern.
Be empathic. Unless you are a robot, you must know that people are emotional, not just rational. Smart people take that into consideration.
At the end of the day, being always right doesn’t matter much if everyone thinks you are an ass. Rather make your colleagues smile. You are on the same team, their success is your success.
Principle 4: Be consistent
Being consistent in your actions requires being loyal to your values. This will allow people to know what to expect from you. If you seed enough positive impressions, I guarantee that you will harvest great opportunities and fast professional growth.
These four principles are rather simple, but not everyone is able to follow them. Work somewhere or with something that inspires you. Play to win. Work well with others. Be consistent. Do this, and I am sure you will find a bright and rewarding journey ahead.
Is there any other principle you applied in your career that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments. I would love to enrich my list.