Tips for Owning Your Career Growth

Having a successful career that takes you where you want to be, challenges you, and gives you a sense of purpose can be within your own hands. I have had some major career successes and major career pitfalls. I am still on a long journey of learning, but here are some of the most helpful tips I’ve learned and accumulated so far while growing my career. I hope you too can benefit from the things I have learned and perhaps you can share a few you have learned with me!

She took ownership of her career &thenShe achieved her dreams , &thenShe became a strong leader, &thenShe

8 Tips for Owning Your Career Growth

1. Trust your gut, but only after you’ve inspected it

Many people say “trust your gut” or your intuition. I am a strong believer in “gut” feelings, but let me also share that I’ve learned the importance of inspecting that gut reaction. I may have a gut reaction about my manager, a not so good one, that may lead me to want to quit my job. However, upon inspection and proper communication, I find that that my manger is experiencing personal problems. Your communication will help them see their actions and can change the toxic behavior in the workplace. Another example is, perhaps I start a new job and my “gut” tells me its off, I feel sick to my stomach there. Upon seeking a therapist, we discover the company has a culture of transparency and confrontation, which we realize is an opportunity for me. This company may actually help me become more transparent and confrontational in a healthy way. Do not judge or try to change your gut reaction towards a co-worker, new role or company, but instead stay curious and make sure you understand it. If you find, after careful inspection, that your gut is really telling you to go for that role, to confront that person, or even quit … then follow it. Make sure to check out my article called “Work-Life Balance and Toxic Work ” to discover red flags for a toxic work.

2. Say “yes” to opportunities

Whether its a networking event, a project you didn’t have on your radar, or something that sounds a little intimidating, go for it, as long as you have the capacity. Saying yes to things that I really wasn’t interested in allowed me to connect to people in the organization and gain new skillsets I never would have.

3. Don’t set your sights on one role or path

Don’t limit your growth by setting your eyes on one job or one career path. Often, corporate politics can get in the way of your development and sometimes timing puts you in the backseat. When that dream role gets filled by someone else, you can be disheartened. I’ve seen corporate policies such as “you must be in this role X amount of years before moving on” get people just under the timing to move into an open role. Staying open minded to other opportunities that may not be on your radar can help you see the light. There are many ways to get where you want to go even if that means horizontal moves.

4. Be a learner

Seek roles and opportunities that allow you to learn new skillsets and learn the business more. The more you learn about all kinds of topics the more invaluable you become. Keep a mindset that everyone you meet has something to teach you and every opportunity can give you a unique skillset if you are creative enough to see it. Keep building your toolbox and seek roles not for titles but for learning.

5. Pursue hobbies and networking outside of working hours

You can be the person who works late nights and weekends to impress your boss, or you can be the person that goes to hiking meetups, alumni events and speaking events that connect you to future potential mentors or employers. Personal hobbies can also transcend into your career growth. Training for a marathon teaches you commitment and goal setting, reading self-help books teach you how to motivate yourself, learning DIY house projects teaches you project management, and so on. Pursuing hobbies gives you a unique perspective to work problems.

6. Participate in work or company events

Get involved in events hosted by your company, from leadership panels, to happy hours, to Halloween dress up. You will get noticed for participating and it will spark conversation. However, make sure you are not letting work events impede on your personal time. Be careful when accepting dinner or happy hour events, as your personal time and family time are just as important for your development.

7. Don’t rush to the top of the ladder

I’ve learned that the metaphorical corporate ladder climbing isn’t really as straight forward as it sounds. More often than not there will be multiple ways to the top (or wherever you want to go), not one vertical step ladder. Also, by rushing to the top, you loose out on the journey of getting there and rediscovering yourself through the process. I think of it as a playground, where one child runs straight to the tallest slide, only to look down and realize he passed the fun monkey bars, and ran right past his best friend on the swings. He ran straight to what he “thought” was the coolest, but if he had slowed down he may have realized playing monkey bars with his friends was where he really wanted to be. Rushing straight to the top with your sights set on one role, can lead you to missing the bigger picture and staying open to new opportunities. You will get to the top eventually if you are committed to getting there, but for now, enjoy the journey and allow yourself to discover other career opportunities.

8. Be proactive in your career growth

Finally, be proactive with your career. Create relationships within HR, find a mentor, seek new opportunities, set up 1-on-1s and interviews with leaders, grab lunch with a co-worker, buy leadership books, attend conferences, seek advice, apply for positions you want, be transparent, and take some risks. Owning your career is in your hands!

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