You know what it takes to be successful, you understand the challenges that lie ahead and you are confident that your destination is worth all the effort. Not everything is predictable, but as long as you react swiftly and decisively to the challenges that materialize, you can be sure that you will come out the other side.
Only a select few people have this plan in their heads. Everything they do is geared towards their next goal, they mentally tick off all the achievements that bring them that little bit closer and constructively learn from the inevitable setbacks.
Your life is all about the journey, but your career is all about the direction.
I would like to expand on this idea. While many would say that life is about enjoying the present and making the most of the moment, I would argue that this attitude is what causes stagnation in your career.
While you should enjoy that “do or die”presentation to the board, your thoughts should be firmly fixed on what it means for your future. How you influence people in the room, what you say, how you react to their questions - this will all be viewed by the audience in terms of “how could this person contribute to the business in the future” and not “wow, isn’t he or she doing well at the moment.”
It is great if you have this forward-looking attitude, but attitude alone will not be enough. You have to think about where you would like to be, what skills you need to get there and what steps you need to take to make it happen.
It can and should be planned in detail. This is the bit where realism plays a vital role. It is so easy to be overambitious, imagining yourself in a nice house with a couple of posh cars in the drive. Don’t write the cheques that your experience can’t cash. That is the road to frustration.
Look at the career paths of similar people in your industry. Look at the qualifications that they have to support their activity. Think about investing in your education. Make sure that you have the weapons in your armoury to smash any challenges that you may face.
Take on extra responsibilities at work. Volunteer for projects, which expose you to other aspects of the business, work with people who have different backgrounds and be open to learning from them. Let yourself be molded by your experiences, and you will be so much more flexible when the next career challenge comes along.
Lastly, don’t think that you have to be moving forward to progress in your goals. Those who are in charge of their destiny understand that sometimes a sideways move is required. If you are fixed on your destination, the fact that you are moving “somewhere” will often be enough. Never stop moving, and you will get there in the end.
Being in control of your career does not mean dictating everything that happens to you. That is impossible. It simply means having a plan, reacting to any deviations from that plan, and getting back on the right track making sure that you learn and develop along the way.
Alan Anwar is the Managing Director at Datasearch Consulting, a leading executive recruitment firm specialising in the Financial Technology & Data sectors.
You can download their FREE comprehensive guide on “The Complete Guide to Hiring Fintech & Data Talent - 5 Proven Steps to Secure the Best Candidates Possible” here. Alternatively you can view the Datasearch Consulting website or contact them directly on firstname.lastname@example.org for a more detailed discussion.
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