You can build a better you.
They say it takes 21 days to build a habit, a repetitive set of actions we perform without consciously thinking.
A lot of the habits we try to ingrain are health-related: drink lots of water, go to bed at the same time every night (with the same person), walk 10,000 steps a day. These are all good for us.
But what about career? Are there not some healthy habits we might develop that increase both success and satisfaction?
Yes there are.
- Do Good Work – This simple bromide is oft overlooked and yet as fundamental as breathing. Its amazing how many people insist they are not being recognized with dollars and title when the truth is their work is ordinary at its best. Ordinary is not exceptional. Do good work always. Take the time to get the basics solidly in place, set your ego aside, roll up your sleeves and figure out what makes the engine tick in your field.
- Hang Out with Winners – You can choose your mentors you know. Just as you guide your children to select the right kinds of friends to hang with you too can choose who to associate with. There are whiners on the landscape, complainers and naysayers constantly justifying their lack of career success. Do not sit next to them in the lunchroom. Find positive peers, colleagues, bosses and mentors. Its a lot better to fly with the eagles then walk with the turkeys
- Develop Expertise – No matter how many times you change fields, there will always be both old and new things to learn and thus opportunity for those who exercise mental diligence. Old tech or new, high tech or low, every discipline has room for those willing to dig deeper and deeper. Developing expertise in an area of your field marks you not just as a resource for the knowledge itself, but as someone who will do the work and look past the obvious (and sometimes erroneous) superficial answers. Dig deep: its good for your mental muscles
- Take on Challenges – In the workplace there are those who skate thinly on the surface never embracing the work, and those who recognize challenge and opportunity are but two sides of the same coin. Catch some coin and take on challenges. You will fail sometimes, but you will get smarter every time. And a reputation as someone who embraces challenge will be invaluable for developing your network. Take on challengs and your skillset and network will grow accordingly
- Marry Feedback – Last but never least develop the habit of seeking, qualifying and using feedback. We want to help our workmates, but even in HR most of us are really not comfortable giving feedback. Develop the skill of seeking it and using it in a qualified manner. You will soon realize the benefits of timely and helpful input as providers worry less and less about giving it to you – you've made it safe for them to do so. And that's good for you
There are others habits you can work on, eg., listening more, developing vocabulary, etc., but for a strong lifelong foundation of applicable career development tools start with these. In just 21 days you can build a better you.
And remember to drink lots of water.