Today I want to talk about a few things that have helped me in my career in advertising with the hope that you may be able to apply these lessons to your own budding career. There are a lot of reasons people find success after college, but if you start with these 6 tidbits of knowledge, you’ll find yourself on the right path. Then, the rest if up to you.
Mindset Is Everything
Having the right mindset as you move into the professional world can make a big difference in where you end up. You should get into the mindset that a career and a job are not the same thing, so you should not treat them as interchangeable ideas. The main difference comes down to this: a career is your business – something you take pride in and drives you to do better. A job, on the other hand, is something you do simply to collect a paycheck. So, the first thing I want you to do is to get in the mindset of treating your career as your business and not simply a job you show up to from 9 to 5.
So how do you grow your business? That is where the next 5 tips come into play.
Never Stop Learning
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that education and learning don’t just stop after college. Even Michael Jordan didn’t become Michael Jordan overnight. He spent years training, practicing, and learning from his coaches. Continued education is a must if you want to also be the best at your business. A good starting point is to write down a list of all the things you want to learn in order to excel at what you do. For example: I determined that I needed to develop sales skills so I could successfully deliver new business pitches.
Once you have your list, you can search for “coaches” that align with your new goals – these coaches can take the form of mentors, night classes, or even professional networking organizations. When I determined that I needed help with sales pitches, I hired a sales coach. Your list of education opportunities should never stop growing. As long as you are learning, someone can’t come up behind you to put your career out of business.
You’ve heard the idea that says doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, right? Well, to keep yourself from going crazy, you need to measure what is and isn’t working for your career.
There are plenty of tools out there that let you document what you are doing and allow you to add notes as you begin to see results. Whether you want to use an app like WorkSmart to document your accomplishments, a service like I Done This to track progress over time, or simply keep notes in a journal, just make sure you are keeping tabs on what’s going on in your career.
Manage Your Time
Time management is one of those skills you learn in college that will always serve you well in your career. However, instead of splitting your time between classes, studying, and social outings, you will have to balance multiple projects with different teams as well as your life outside of work.
For me, I used my 20s to grind it out. If someone wanted to meet up or chit-chat during business hours about subjects that didn’t help me drive my business, I asked them to hold off until the weekend or later in the evening. It may be hard work, but from that dedication, you can eventually build a team around so you can afford the luxury time to write posts like this one.
You’ve probably heard of the office water cooler (otherwise known as the place in the office where team members socialize). This area is commonly known as place of gossip and negativity. My advice is to ignore these kinds of places where negative talk is rampant – that negativity will do nothing to help your career. After all, when was the last time you heard of someone giving out pointers on how they became employee of the month around the water cooler?
It is easy to want to compare yourself and your career to other people around you. But remember, everyone finds success at different times and it’s impossible to predict when it might happen. Stay positive and know that your hard work will pay off in time. Your friend may earn more money than you at 26-years-old, but everyone has a different ceiling and you never know when yours will hit.
Differentiate yourself and reap the rewards. Read books, pay attention to the news, learn a new skill. Avoid talking about the weather when meeting new people (everyone talks about the weather, and unless that is your professional field, it’s not going to help you stand out).
When you stand out from the sea of sameness that fills the professional world, you are setting yourself up for success. Creating original ideas, voicing unique perspectives, and breaking the mold are how superstars are made.
While there is no one set formula to create an exceptional career, following even just one of these tips might give you a leg up over someone else. Remember that in the end, don’t just punch the clock every day, but rather set out to create something you care about – that’s how you will find success.