Today I want to talk about growing your career. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re climbing a corporate ladder, now is a great time to be reflecting on your career growth as we approach the end of the year. Too often, we abdicate this! Entrepreneurs simply ignore it and corporate employees tend to rely on their company or the boss to take care of it. They rely on others to take care of their own career growth! The thing is, your career growth is your own responsibility. And your obligation even.
So how do you do this? How do you direct your own career growth? Well, first of all, start with where you want to end up. What do you want long term, midterm and short term. Be specific. Paint a picture in your mind. Once you’ve got that image of where it is you want to be, then take a look at where you are today.
Be honest with yourself. You know where you are, what skills you have and how far along you are to that ideal career. And just be honest. It’s so important. This is for your use. And once you have those two endpoints you then need to find the gap, figure out what is missing from where you want to be and where you today. Once you know the gap, you can then find the roadmap (or development plan if you prefer) for closing that gap.
When you are designing your roadmap, think outside the box. Don’t limit yourself to just thinking about training. That is often how we think about development—we look for training classes and hope that we will get to where we want to be. But training is really just a small part of the overall picture, and not even the most important. When building the roadmap, think about experiences. What is it that you need to accomplish? What is it that you need to go through, live and experience to get there? Remember, very few people learn to swim by reading a book, the best learning is by doing. Think also about connections. Who am I going to need to know to get to that ideal place in my career? Look to the future, picture what your network looks like, and start making those connections now. And finally, think about results. The biggest precursor to career growth is strong results from your current job. Take a look at your job, and determine what results you can deliver that will help you advance. What does the company value? Who are the decision makers in your career, and what results will get you on their radar? Once you know these key result areas, focus on and deliver them.
This is a simple and easy approach to really taking ownership of your career growth. Now is a great time to grab the bull by the horns. What are you going to do in 2021 to fill in a gap?