Learn all the strategies for career success and work-life balance
For some, career success is measured by income or professional growth. For others, it is measured by job satisfaction or work-life balance. We hope the material presented here will help you find out what career success means to you and how you can go about obtaining it.As a next step, you may want to find out what kind of organizational culture can best offer you those possibilities. This may involve either seeking a position with a new employer or becoming even more successful where you currently are. In either case, if you want us to help you realize your career dreams, you are invited to start with our free 30-minute Career Success Consultation.
How to Be Successful
As you will find out later on this page, “how to be successful” can be easier than “how to become successful.” In fact, the state of being successful is the key to becoming successful. But before we get too philosophical, we may want to ask the fundamental question: Successful in what? Successful in business? Successful in relationships? Successful in health and fitness? Successful with finances? Before we can plan for success, we need to figure out what we want to be successful in.
Even though this is a career success website, our focus here is being successful in life. As you can see, the definition of being successful can vary from one person to another, but the definition of its opposite, i.e., being unsuccessful or even being a failure could be a universal one: not achieving our goals. So, what principles contribute to personal and professional success?
How to Succeed in Achieving Your Goals
In 1979, Harvard Business School conducted a study of its MBA students. 84% of the students had set no goals. 13% had stated some goals but had not defined a plan to accomplish them. 3% of the students had written goals and a plan to accomplish them. In a follow-up study 10 years later, the researchers found that the 3% who had set a plan to accomplish their goals were earning 10 times more than the 97% who had no goals.
While this study was focused on earnings, we can apply the same principles to achieving goals in other areas of our lives. But setting goals or even planning for them does not guarantee that we accomplish them. In my own experience, what really helps accomplish goals is to break our goals into quarterly, monthly, and weekly tasks, and then actually schedule them on our calendars. You can find hundreds of great resources on Amazon on how to set goals. But here I want to bring up an important goal prerequisite that can help you avoid a lot of pain and frustration along the way.
Success Tip #1 - Know Yourself
Being successful in life starts with knowing yourself.
There is a lot more to us than our personality profile. But fully understanding our personality traits, most of which are consistent throughout our lives, can be helpful in defining the easiest paths to take to accomplish our goals.
This is especially true when we are trying to find out, What is the best career for me?
Now let me give you an example. If you are an introvert, you may find that jobs where you work alone may be more appealing and rewarding to you. You may be so effective in such a job that you become more successful than you would in a job in which you frequently interact with large groups.
In other words, why should we push a rock up a hill when we can have more fun skiing down that hill? We can make life much easier for ourselves when we learn our strengths and how to fully leverage them than by spending our lives trying to become something we are not.
This short and fun quiz can help you learn more about yourself so you can interview and negotiate better, be more productive, have less stress, lead more effectively, and get promoted faster.
Now let me be the first one to confess that the example I gave earlier may be an over-simplification. Here is why:
There are millions of highly successful introverted CEOs who get in front of boards and successfully sell them on their plans and visions. These successful individuals have mastered the art of leveraging their traits. The ability to develop strategies that demand thoughtful concentration is something many introverts find easy.
No matter what your personality type is and what you have set as your vision for a successful life, the following tip for success can be life changing. With it, you can have not just career success but also personal relationship success and success in every other area of your life.
Success Tip #2- Take Responsibility
You may have heard it at your place of worship, the Landmark Forum, or from your teachers, parents, Brian Tracy, Anthony Robbins, or other influencers in your life.
But hearing this tip is nothing compared to intentionally practicing it. I personally believe this is one of the best tips for success in life.
As Charles R. Swindoll put it, "Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." When we fully buy into this principle, and then something happens to us, rather than asking Why me?, we will ask ourselves How can I …?”
This mindset will force our brain to become eager to explore possibilities and come up with action-oriented solutions that help us excel at living a happy and successful life.
Starting today, look for any opportunity where you can take responsibility for what happens to you. As Tony Robbins recommends, ask yourself, What’s great about this situation?, and then ask yourself, How can this situation help me accomplish …?
In a very short period of time, you will start discovering the unlimited power that comes with this shift in mindset. You will start taking charge and creating possibilities in your life.
Success Tip #3 - How to Be Successful as a Mentee
Many of us may feel that life is too short to try to figure out the solution to challenges that many before us have already faced and overcome.
If you are trying to lose weight, become rich, or get a job at your ideal company, there have been others who have succeeded in achieving similar goals.
You can save yourself a lot of time and effort by learning from them, either by having them as a mentor or coach or by studying their success—even reading their books.
Booker T. Washington said, “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” Most mentors and coaches do what they do because they enjoy and get a lot out of it.
But no matter how successful your mentor or coach is, make sure to approach your relationship as a two-way street. I don’t recommend this because your mentor needs anything from you but because of the powerful psychological impact it will have on you. We will cover this secret in more detail in the following sections.
While the advice about seeking mentors applies to almost all of us, there is a caveat.
We would still be using pigeons for messaging and horses for transportation if it weren’t for those who started to think outside the box, focusing not on what was there but what could be there.
So, a related success tip is to keep your eyes open for potential opportunities for innovation. Learn from mentors and yet be fully alert to the idea that there is always a better way.
Success Tip #4 - Career Success Starts with Being a Giver
This is one of my favorite success tips and strategies. Being a giver is not about money but rather about attention.
President Theodore Roosevelt said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
That’s the kind of giving we are talking about. We can take responsibility to be this kind of a giver even when we are in a tough spot, like being out of job, having a job we hate, or having little or no material resources to give.
(By the way, for those who have a lack of wealth, a great resource on turning your life around is an old but amazing book called The Richest Man in Babylon, which I highly recommend.)
When we mentally commit to being a giver, not only do we generate an enormous amount of good will. We also are sending a signal to our brains that we are able to do good and make things happen.
This formula goes back to where we started this article. Rather than waiting to become successful, we start feeling rich and successful at a deep level. By being in that state, we will avoid being in a state of helplessness.
But this is more than just about our inner game. As president George Herbert Walker Bush (the senior) said, “Goodwill begets goodwill.” Goodwill gains us fans and supporters, which helps us become successful.
People may try to help a needy person out of the goodness of their heart. However, the one they will enlist for more responsibility, growth, and promotion is the one who demonstrates a hunger for contributing more to their cause.
Maya Angelou wrote, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Make people feel great as often as possible, and watch your success soar!
But in order to make people feel great, as well as accomplish anything else we want in life, we need to learn to communicate—first and foremost to ourselves and then to others.
Success Tip #5 - How to Be Successful by Mastering Your Inner Game
We can be the most knowledgeable and educated person in our field and yet have a hard time getting out of bed, let alone finding the job we will love!
We come across many career coaching clients who say, “I need a new career” or “I need your help to find the best career for me.” Yet all they need is the right fuel in their engine.
I want to share with you Henry Ford’s best secret: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
The inner game is what we tell ourselves. What we tell ourselves becomes our belief, our internal feedback that can override the real world in front of us. It can be the most effective or the most destructive force in our journey on how to be successful.
Human beings decide to act or not according to the dictate of this internal belief. Sadly, most of us are totally unaware that not only does this go on in our own minds, but it also has a negative impact on the people around us.
I will go as far as saying that until we get our inner game right, nothing else will work for us or work as effortlessly as it could if we mastered what we told ourselves. In fact, we will go as far as sabotaging the best things the universe can bring us, if they are not in accordance with our internal beliefs.
I have found this to be the most important part of working with our coaching clients: starting with making them aware that this phenomenon is even there. And then we give them the opportunity to re-write the script from one that holds them back to one that propels them forward.
If you want to try on your own to alter your inner game, let me leave you with one piece of advice: While self-talk and positive visualization can be immensely helpful, what will start to make the fastest impact is seeing results from your actions.Creating small victories that you can build on is the best way to start reshaping your inner game.
Success Tip #6 - Excel in Career and Life by Mastering Communication
Except for those of us who are the sole inhabitant of a desert island, getting things done and making things happen demand communication with other people. This communication can take place face to face, on a website, or through email.
While the purpose of communication might be what we would like to accomplish, the content of it cannot be solely dictated by what we want to say. Most of our communication needs to focus on the goals and needs of others, what success is for them.
In addition to our own Career Advancement coaching program, I highly recommend Dr. Steven Covey’s principles of empathic communication. These both present key tools for achieving your success through communication.
Mastering that level of communication is like opening a magical door straight to the hearts of people you are trying to reach.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the word “communication” implies what we say to others and misses the part about what we need to hear.
The magic in successful communication and motivating others to help us toward accomplishing our goals lies in the openness to hear.When we are open to hearing, we learn not only to withstand even the harshest words of criticism but also to decode them for the real pleas for connection and understanding that they are. In so doing, we reach a level of spiritual strength that makes our messages to others irresistible.
Success Tip #7 - Excel at Managing Expectations
Have you ever been surprised during a performance review session or by client feedback? Did you then realize with chagrin that you could have had them in the palm of your hand had you had a better understanding of their issues and expectations earlier?
Take responsibility! Don’t leave your career success to chance and stressing about the prospect of hearing bad news. Instead, take proactive steps to map your goals and objectives to those of your boss, your direct reports, clients, and even the members of your family!
You want to make sure that the opportunity to measure your performance is on their calendar—that they fully understand the value of committing and keeping those dates.
And by the way, rather than waiting a whole year to hear a piece of bad news, you’ll do best by living life on 12-week sprints. This gives yourself and others a chance to communicate with you on a timely basis and giving you a chance to continuously exceed the expectations you hear.
As human beings, we have a remarkable ability to achieve anything—as long as we are told what we need to achieve.As you will learn in our Career Advancement coaching program, rather than limiting yourself to achieving what you are told, you can proactively shape your mutual goals with others. Then you can give others the satisfaction of setting expectations that you have helped them formulate. How much faster you can succeed in achieving your goals this way!
Success Tip #8 - Cut Social Media and Email Addiction
While we can continue to cover many more of the best strategies to be successful, I would like to end with raising the alarm on one of the most hideous enemies that can get in the way of how to be successful.
All technologies are invented with a positive intention, and we should definitely leverage them for our career success. But the addiction to social media and unscheduled email can be a major enemy of our career success.
For many of our executive coaching clients, we use a time logging tool that accurately captures the amount of time they effectively work each day.
Typically, the frightening discovery we make is that unplanned distractions, including the beeps of email arrival, cut their effectiveness to less than two hours per day!
According to the data we have collected, in many instances, people need more time to refocus on what they were trying to accomplish than they can afford to spend on a task.
Can you imagine how managing these distracting forces can enhance your career success, even if you are working at a place you hate?
Even if you don’t hate your workplace, working at something that you are not passionate about is not our wish for you either.
That’s why we welcome you to schedule yourself for a free, 30-minute Career Success Consultation—or contact us by phone between 8 and 6:30 to set it up.Our Career Advancement coaching programs are designed to help you set ambitious goals you can easily accomplish so you can live a more fulfilling life.
If you are uncertain of which package is the best fit for your goal:
Some of the Packages that Include Career Success Coaching