Successful People Who Love Their Work: The 4 Damaging Moves They Avoid
Being a researcher at heart, I love to explore key trends that reflect the deepest challenges professionals face. And if I can, I like to distill down to the bare essentials the vital lessons that successful professionals and career changers have gleaned from their respective journeys. People who have built amazing careers and work-lives of significance that they love, and who find their livelihoods immensely rewarding both emotionally and financially — have a lot to teach us.
Those lessons include how to avoid the four most limiting actions that so often lead to unfulfilling or even disastrous job and career moves. Successful professionals avoid these four moves:
- Doing something “scary” that conventional society expects of you (like asking for a big promotion, or taking a more senior “desk job” because it’s the “responsible” path) vs.
- Doing the one brave thing that thrills and scares you to expect of yourself
Do the latter and your career moves will keep pointing you in the right direction.
The most profoundly impactful, productive and inspiring contributors and professionals have braved up in a big way, and continually pursue what they authentically believe is their own highest peak, not someone else’s. They don’t worry about conventional thinking and “brules.” They go for what thrills their hearts, minds and spirits.
Tip: Identify the three most thrilling and juicy directions, then research thoroughly what it would take to assume the professional identity required of these directions. Don’t leave one stone unturned. Research, shadow, intern, volunteer, contribute, run a project – try it on in every way possible, like a suit of clothes. Understand deeply what these directions would mean and demand of you. Then choose the one that fits the best with who you are and what you value, need and desire.
- Are they thrilled with what they’re personally doing?
- Can they offer advice that isn’t just about how they did it, but that will help you (with your unique style) become the best version of yourself?
- Can they get behind what you’re trying to do, even if they have fears and judgments about it?
- Do you feel they know and respect the real you (not just the public facade you present)?
Many family members and friends are threatened by a huge shake-up in the status quo. They may be intimated by or even jealous of what you’re trying to do, and so they offer advice (subconsciously) aimed to keep you playing smaller than you dream to.
Tip: Find five mentors who are doing what you dream to do, whom you admire, not only for what they’re doing, but how they’re doing it. Ask if you can connect with them and learn more about their trajectories, and what they did that was bold and scary, to get there. Look at the “power gaps” they’ve overcome. But don’t reach out to a total stranger – follow these key steps to finding the right kind of mentors, advocates and sponsors who are already in your sphere. If you have no one in your immediate world who fits that bill, expand your horizons and grow your community.