A Fool-proof way to Guarantee a Mediocre Career…
Eighteen years ago I was stuck in a career rut. I had made rapid progress in my early working life, got great promotions and always seemed to be the guy going places. Then the wheels began to fall off. It happened slowly and bit by bit. Almost imperceptibly. I didn’t even realise it was happening. But it was and I fell from being a fast-rising star to a plodder in the space of two years. Gone were the promotions and the involvement in exciting new projects. They were replaced by side-ways jobs offers and scant attention from my bosses.
What I didn’t realise at the time that it was my entire fault. I had gone from a fast moving, engaged and excited team player always willing to challenge the status quo to someone who felt that they had “earned their stripes” and could slow down without losing any of my current status. It didn’t work. Other colleagues who were more motivated than me started getting the good gigs that I had always gotten in the past. I resented it and blamed the bosses for their dumb decisions. Looking back I cringe at my naivety.
What tripped me up back then was a (too) low care factor and a low activity level. The combination of these factors is death in a career or a business. It can manifest itself into a sense of entitlement of what you believe is owed to you. Here’s the newsflash – nothing is. And you’ll end up bitter, unmotivated and unhappy if you persist in thinking that.
So what can you do to guard against this happening?
Firstly understand that there are really no short-cuts in anything worthwhile. Short cuts, while seemingly attractive, are mostly distractions and they rarely work. Focus instead on finding the most direct path to getting something done, even if it is really hard. Solving the really hard problems is usually where the most value gets created. It is also where the best people focus their efforts.
Secondly, it’s important to recognise that business is a long game and reputations and trust are built progressively over time. It never happens quickly. Conversely one poor action can sometimes be enough to undo many years of hard-won respectability. Or as in my case subconsciously deciding to “coast” and live on past glories can put the brakes on your career.
And lastly, start (really) giving a damn. Not going through the motions. Deliver what you promise. Innovate. Challenge the status quo. Work smarter (and harder, if necessary). Move fast. Be nice. And leave behind any negative behaviours that are getting in your way.
If you have a low care factor and/or a low activity level you will have a mediocre career (or business). That’s 100% guaranteed. However by choosing to increase the intensity of both you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of achieving something worthwhile. Trust me – it works…
Article by The Bull
Image sourced from behance.net
P.S. Thank you to everyone who has helped Streat in their current campaign. If you missed it Streat was featured on Poh’s Kitchen last week. Here’s the link. It was a wonderful episode of Streat’s efforts to stop youth homelessness.
There’s still time to buy a great cookbook, coffee or many other great offers. If you can help out (even in a small way) it would be greatly appreciated.