Tips for a Successful Career

The other week, I was celebrating a friend’s milestone birthday, and we discussed where we’d been and where we are now. A friend commented to me that when we were first met, she would never have envisioned me doing what I’m doing today – leadership role with an international NGO traveling the globe and a leadership role with a national communications group.

Frankly, I would not have thought it either, but not because I didn’t think I could not do it, but simply because I never know where I’m going to be next year or in five years.

And that’s one of the tips for a successful career as reported by Fortune magazine.

Tip 1 is “Don’t plan your career.” Embracing this philosophy has enabled me to take on new challenges when they presented themselves. I never expected to be a spokesperson for an urban police department. I never planned to work in a global environment. But when the opportunities presented themselves, I grabbed them.

Which leads to another tip, “take risks.” My current and former position both forced me to work outside my comfort zone. The risks were worth it. I’ve learned about crisis management, donor relations, social media and SEO (search engine optimization). Along the way, I’ve studied, researched, learned and grown as an employee and leader.

Juggler with fire

To succeed in life, one needs to juggle well. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Another tip that really resonated with me was don’t balance, but juggle. I work a 10+-hour work day. I’m on several boards. I’m in a book club at work and outside of work. I don’t try for balance but I do juggle. I’ve just had an intense period of travel so I have not read the book club book (I cheated and listened to it instead), and I’ve relied on others at work to keep the pieces moving. It works.

In a few weeks, I’ll slow down and have a quiet period where I can pursue my personal interests, including lots of reading. The weather will be perfect for it.

My favorite tip is “give thanks.” I know I’m fortunate to have an amazing team at work and to serve on boards with individuals who contribute. I spent a few nights writing handwritten thank you notes to each NFPW board member who served with me. It was the least I could do to thank them for their service. When a team member goes above and beyond, I take them to lunch.

What are your tips for success?

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