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Five daily habits to advance your career
Highly successful business people, leaders and entrepreneurs all possess similar qualities. But what are these desirable traits and habits, and can they really further your career? The short answer is yes.
Writing everything down, delegating and outsourcing routine tasks, defining success for the day, committing to ‘thinking time’ in your work week, and practising mindfulness are some of the common behaviours you may have heard of before.
Here are five simple and effective ways to improve yourself, achieve success and keep your career moving forward.
1. Surround yourself with smart people
You are the sum of your parts, and this goes for the company you keep as well. Spend time with intelligent people who challenge and advance your thinking. The ultimate entrepreneur Richard Branson is a big advocate for this, and the famous American industrialist Henry Ford also once said: “I am not the smartest, but I surround myself with competent people.” Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know – and align yourself with people who do.
Actively seek out passionate, successful individuals. Attend workshops or events that are specific to your field and join relevant professional groups. You can reach out to thought leaders or potential mentors through LinkedIn. But be realistic. Choose someone in your industry or function who can take time out of their schedule to meet you. Once you have established contact, it’s easy to suggest a quick coffee. People enjoy offering support and providing advice, provided they are approached in the right manner. By building your own personal community of inspiration, you will put yourself in the box seat to land career opportunities.
2. Picture your success
Numerous studies have proven that mental imagery readies your brain for success and increases your performance in real life. If you can see it, you can make it happen. It might sound far-fetched but there is no denying that it works. Many famous athletes, actors, doctors and business people credit their accomplishments to using visualisation to help manifest their success.
Set aside a few minutes every morning to see yourself in your ideal career. Close your eyes, relax and imagine every single detail as if it were happening now. Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? How are you feeling? What are you wearing? Banish any doubts if they arise and allow yourself to dream big. The more often you do this, the more purpose and direction you will have and the closer you will come to achieving your wildest dreams. Give it a try, it can’t hurt.
3. Hone your skills
It’s as simple as it sounds. Pick one skill to sharpen and make it your sword. Find out what you are good at and invest the time to become great at it. If you can show employers you are an expert in something and can help them corner the market by being their expert, you will move from being simply a decent prospect to a must-have part of any company.
Identify your top three skills and pick one that you want to develop in the next month. Commit to spending anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes a day improving and developing it – think books, podcasts, classes, et cetera – and put it into practice in the real world.
4. Build your brand
What do you find when you Google yourself? Whatever you find is what everyone else sees as well. It’s common practice these days to do online research on potential candidates, colleagues and even prospective partners. Your professional standing will increase significantly when people Google your name and discover your presence in relevant forums for your field. Build your brand by sharing your unique point of view – it will improve your reputation, as well as make you easily discoverable by the people and places you want to work for.
Keep your internet presence up-to-date and relevant. Try some of the following:
- Write your own blog or guest post on an industry blog
- Produce a five minute YouTube video showcasing your strengths (for example a ‘How To’ video)
- Tweet on a daily basis as an industry expert
- Create and update your own professional website
- Develop a podcast
- Write and post relevant articles on LinkedIn
5. Engage with one new person a day (or reconnect with someone)
Relationships are at the core of all success and happiness. People do business with people they like, and you can never have too many friends. When Bill Clinton was 22, he carried around a notebook and wrote down the names and particulars of everyone he met. His genuine interest in people, together with his vision for the future, led to his eventual inauguration as the President of the USA.
Leave your normal social circle and connect with people you’ve never met before. Connect through LinkedIn or email people who already have your dream job. Clearly describe how you can help them and why they should meet you. You would be surprised how many people are more than happy to catch up for a coffee – if you’re buying – and share their knowledge and expertise. Even consider hosting your own events with a colleague or starting your own group. In no time, you will build a far-reaching network of friends, followers, and thought leaders.