There is no question about it. Only you are in charge of your own career. Not your boss, not your colleagues, not your family members. It all comes down to you and the overall approach you have towards your career. The decisions you make and the actions you display will ultimately decide your success or failure. How bad do you want it? Are you committed to being that successful manager, that distinct leader, the next best marketing executive or that finance officer you dream about? If you dream of being a successful business executive, then you must be committed to your trade. Commitment leads to career ownership and career ownership leads to success. So how do you get there?
No one will ever fault you for taking the extra steps to accomplish your goals or the goals of your organization. Taking initiative means stepping up to the plate when no one else will and making something great happen. The best colleagues that I have had the pleasure to work with possess an innate ability to see beyond the job description and what they are directed to do, ultimately producing programs, initiatives and results that improve their organization and its business goals in a positive way, without having been told to do so. For those of you in leadership positions, lead by example. Take the initiative to show others that you are just as invested in the organization as they are; that you are not afraid to go the extra mile with them in an effort to achieve a common goal. Competition and the need for quality talent in today’s business world is fierce. If you don’t take the initiative to differentiate yourself among this competition, you will be left behind.
How Committed Are You?
Commitment towards your career is the act of having a true passion for what it is you do, the organization you work for and a fierce desire to better yourself each and every day you show up for work. A great way to establish career commitment and continuous improvement is to set daily goals for yourself. This gives you purpose, drive, ambition and something to reach for on a daily basis. Your daily goals should be actionable and attainable in nature, so that at the end of the day, you feel accomplished and can experience that feeling of success. Whether it is developing one new creative idea or spending extra time listening and learning from those below you or above you, commit to your role and commit to becoming better than you were yesterday. The level of commitment you display towards your job ultimately establishes the impression that those around you have of you and your work ethic. You dream about that big promotion and how life-changing it will be, but are you willing to commit to what it takes to get there? Once there, are you committing yourself to hang on to it?
Whether you are leading a team of 100 or part of a team of 100, your actions speak louder than words. Are you self-aware enough to understand the specific approach you take towards your job and the work ethic you extend has a direct effect on becoming that future leader you inspire to be? Are you self-aware enough to know your strengths and weaknesses, and how your weaknesses will only keep you from succeeding if you don’t seek out the advice and direction of others? Being self-aware is acknowledging that you may not always have the right answers but are willing to do whatever it takes to obtain them and learn from them. It is possessing a true understanding of your job description, your title and your significance within your organization, thus accepting the role and responsibility that come with that. If you think you know the answer to those questions, then show some sense of humility by asking those around you about your work performance or leadership style. Be open to the feedback you receive. While it may feel uncomfortable at the beginning, you are gaining the additional knowledge and the respect of others that will ultimately pave your way towards future success. Self-awareness ultimately determines whether or not those around you will follow you or flee from you.
Ownership Ultimately Leads to Success!
Whether you are just starting out your career in an entry-level position or you are a seasoned executive, taking personal “ownership” of your role will result in huge wins for yourself throughout your career. Taking ownership means being the CEO of your job description and establishing for yourself a personal and specific strategy of how you intend to achieve success in your role. It is about investing time, effort and personal leadership into your specific role, regardless of how big or small it may be within your organization. Ownership shows others that you care about what you do and the results that you produce. It shows others that you seek success for yourself and your career and are setting yourself apart from others. Ownership means delivering continuous improvement within your role, as opposed to being complacent and sticking to the status quo, just because that is what was done in the past.
End Goal in Mind
Achieving career success through commitment and ownership is always having the end goal in mind. Whether they are your personal career goals or the goals of the organization you work for (or both), committing yourself to your job and taking personal ownership of your role will get you that much closer to success. By having the end goal in mind, and taking on the personal investment to get there, you are essentially creating the ultimate career road map.