Here’s the truth about lessons learned over your career. I can write all of the shortcomings down and provide insights, answers, and solutions to all of them. But are you going to head them?
Because as you read them you’ll say to yourself, “well, I’m working on that”, or “that won’t happen to me because I’m smarter, more emotionally intelligent/I’m better in business”, or whatever it is that you’re telling yourself.
Still, I really wish someone had told me these four things when I was starting out my career, so here you go.
1. Put Down the Measuring Stick
There are a lot of talented people out there. Some that have some special leg up on you, some that are extremely gifted, and some that are just plain lucky.
If you measure yourself up against people as a motivator, you’re going to get mired in self-doubt.
Your motivation shouldn’t be fear.
Your greatness can only come when you’re not looking around at everyone else, but instead, at your own trajectory.
You are on your own journey. When you stop look and see how everyone else is doing, you only slow yourself down. So stop measuring yourself to others, it’s just a detrimental distraction. Instead, focus on your own growth.
2. Begin Anywhere
Who decides where the start is? Not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. Which is why I strongly advise you to begin anywhere.
If you don’t begin, you’ll end up procrastinating. Starting is the hardest part of any project. So don’t paralyze yourself with fear of failure, or the unknown. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out where and how to start.
Take the first step. Begin anywhere, and trust in yourself and the process. Begin anywhere and see where it leads you.
3. Make Your Decisions Quickly
Most decisions should probably be made with around 70% of the information you wish you had.
If you wait for 90%, you’re stalling.
There’s a danger in being overcautious. Because no matter what decision you make, you need to be good at quickly recognizing and correcting bad decisions. If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.
Make your decisions quickly. You can’t calculate every variable. You can’t predict the future. So, act fast and react faster.
4. Become Known
You will become known for doing what you do. If you are lucky enough to know what you want to be known for doing, then start doing that thing immediately.
Nowadays this can be demonstrated with personal branding. When you let yourself become known for in your industry, you acquire influence. When done right, you allow yourself to become an authoritative figure in your space.
Be the go to person for your craft.
Become known for being good at what you’re good at.
Be reliable, and continue to practice and perfect your skill sets so you live up to the reputation you’ve gained.
Building a career is hard. It also special, and rewarding. It’s an artwork. It’s a portfolio of your life in the form of work. So if you’re just starting your career—or if you’ve had it for decades and still appreciate guidance—use these four lessons as reminders of what to do (and what not to do).
I know you got this! Reach out if you need any support.