What is the best way to have a great career? Many define career success as having a good job that pays well so they can enjoy some of the finer things while putting plenty aside for retirement. It would also include a nice home, great relationships, a strong marriage, and children for many.
Of course, how each person defines such a career varies, but that description suffices for many. The question is, how do you go about building a career you can enjoy?
The quick and easy way
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a quick and easy way to achieve greater heights in your career? Many promise immediate success or shortcuts through their books, programs, and websites, but how much of it works?
I have heard from far too many that they wasted money, time, and energy on such things to make me skeptical of the many “quick success” schemes.
Did you know the world’s greatest book of wisdom, Proverbs, containing the words of Solomon, the wisest man of all time, warned of such schemes nearly 3,000 years ago?
“Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.” Solomon (990–931 BC)
If you feel tempted to find a quick and easy way to career success, be sure to have a backup plan! Make sure this plan is more than just building a successful career. It should include living a fulfilling life as well.
The best road to a great career
The best way to build a great career is to create a plan for what you want to accomplish. You do have a career plan, don’t you? If not, you have come to the right place. Let’s start by reading some advice from the old Colonel himself:
“ The easy way is efficacious and speedy — the hard way arduous and long. But as the clock ticks, the easy way becomes harder and thehard way becomes easier.
And as the calendar records the years, it becomes increasingly evident that the easy way rests hazardously upon shifting sands, whereasthe hard way builds solidly a foundation of confidence that cannot be swept away.” Colonel Harland David Sanders (1890–1980)
While you can chase your get-rich-quick schemes, it would behoove you to plan for the long haul. Figure it this way: You will work much of your life anyway, so why not make it work for you?
How can you best pursue a great career? Start with the basics. Let’s look at your vision and the best way to think and act in the years to come.
Easily create your vision
Determine what your ultimate career looks like. Make the picture as clear as you can. Envision how you see your career ending. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Where will I live?
- What will I do, and what position will I hold?
- What will make my job fulfilling?
- What will my lifestyle be like?
- What will my life be like outside of work?
- Who will be with me?
- How do I want my health to be?
- What kind of traveling will I do?
- What things will I enjoy doing?
Include anything else that comes to mind. Don’t rush this process. Take your time to think it through until you are clear on what you see.
The main thing about each of these questions is to get as detailed as you can, writing them down. Dream a little. If you are married, dream with your spouse. When you determine what you want, imagine something more. Dream big!
How to be
How can you think and act to fulfill your vision now and in the future? Be as specific as possible. Consider the following actions and behaviors to ensure you achieve what you want along the way:
- Be respectful, always.
- Work with integrity.
- Show up and follow through every time without fail.
- Provide as much value as you can at work and home.
- Always appreciate what you do and those around you to keep a proper attitude.
- Stay on top of your game through continual learning.
- Help others when you can.
- Create a financial plan including a specific amount you will save each month and where it will be invested (in dollars, not percent).
- Be mindful of personal expenses. Be disciplined. Pay yourself first (saving and investing) while practicing delayed gratification on those items you desire emotionally.
What else would you add to this list?
If you can live with each of the above items, you will drastically increase your chance of having a great career.
Visualize your workdays, months, and years as clearly as you can. Dream about how you will spend your time and successes along the way. And again, don’t be afraid to aim high and dream big.
If you are married, bring your spouse into your plan. Their input will be invaluable, and their support will be crucial.
There is an old saying that goes something like this:
When you start taking something (or someone) for granted, you start losing it (or them.)
Don’t take your career or anything else you value for granted. Approach your work and life with the intent of being in it for the duration. It is only common sense that when you plan and intend to have a wonderful career and life, your chance of achieving it increases dramatically.
When it comes to your career, remember the wisdom stated by the 26th president of the United States:
“Nothing worth having comes easy.”Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919)
Also, remember what the 45th president of the United States said:
“Nothing is easy, but who wants nothing?” Donald Trump (1946-present)
And don’t forget what Colonel Sanders said about “the hard way [becoming] easier” and how you can solidly build “a foundation of confidence that cannot be swept away.”
Remember, you are in this life for the long haul, so use your time and talents wisely. By committing to a solid plan and putting forth consistent effort, you will achieve it!
You can always hope for that quick success while working toward having a great career, but as I said earlier, don’t forget to put that backup plan firmly in place first!