In today’s world, it is very much acceptable (and from some people, expected) to have a good career. Whatever sector you work in, you can sometimes feel like you have hit a dead-end. Whether you are not getting the wage you want, or perhaps you are stuck in a position that you don’t like, or you simply want a change of pace, there are multiple ways via which you can empower yourself and secure the career you truly want. For more information on how to do this, read on!
Have A Growth Mindset
Being in the right mindset can make all the difference in the world when it comes to not only empowering yourself in your professional life, but also in your personal life. People tend to think that work and personal life should be separated – and that is, to a certain extent, true. However, it’s still the same you that does the work, and you definitely cannot ignore that. It’s therefore important to cultivate a positive growth mindset so that you can flourish in both your professional and personal environments.
What is a growth mindset? A growth mindset is simply believing in yourself, in the notion that you can achieve great things if you put your mind to it. Having a fixed mindset is the opposite of this – it’s believing that you cannot do something because of a reason that is unchangeable. For example, say you want to become a successful businessman. If you had a fixed mindset, you would think you would never be able to achieve that because you’re not smart enough, your idea is doomed from the start, etcetera. On the other hand, if you possessed a growth mindset, you would believe that your business idea is worth pursuing and that eventually, through hard work and perseverance, you will make it.
Having a growth mindset is not about blindly believing in yourself and ignoring reality – that is just being foolish. Having a growth mindset involves being aware of the risks but choosing nevertheless to pursue your dreams and aspirations within the constraints of the real world for maximum success. It involves always believing in yourself and in your abilities, whilst also knowing that there are always improvements to be done. A person with a growth mindset takes feedback positively and constructively and always aims to be better in all aspects of their lives, believing that they can eventually reach their dreams no matter what.
Education Is Key
It used to be the case that degrees were the exception, rather than the norm. Opportunities to go to college or university were scarce, and if you managed to secure enough funds to go, you were essentially guaranteed a job right after graduation. As time went on, the number of degrees one could study increased, and the financial barriers for entry were lowered, increasing uptake. Soon, employees began to see a degree as a requirement rather than as a luxury, even for relatively low-skilled jobs.
Many people see higher education as simply another thing they have to do in order to secure a job. And, whilst that may be the case pragmatically speaking, in order to empower yourself, you should have the mindset that education is more than just getting a piece of paper. Education not only allows you to progress personally but also professionally – it opens many doors, leading to increased salaries and opportunities for career acceleration.
For example, if you work as a nurse in healthcare, you may hit a point where pay and opportunities for promotion can stagnate and eventually level off. If you feel comfortable with the level you are at then that is all good, however, if you want to push yourself and reach new heights in your healthcare career, then you might want to consider a post-graduate program in nursing, such as TWU’s comprehensive online nursing program.
Other sectors have similar opportunities for progression, whether that involves certifications or full-blown degrees. The point, however, remains the same – education is the key to success, and the more you have of it the more you are likely to succeed. Of course, one shouldn’t rely fully on their education to land them a good job. Employers are looking for increasingly practical candidates – they want to know that you can walk the walk as well as you can talk the talk. It’s therefore important to strike a balance between practicable skills and academic education – but you should never ignore one over the other.
Always Have Core Values
As you go through life, circumstances and the people around you can change all the time. It’s all too easy to be affected by everything that goes on around you. People sometimes choose to go with the flow of the situation, changing their values as the situation around them changes. Of course, it’s only natural that people change, however, individuals should always have core values – it’s what makes them individuals.
Having different opinions, whether this is in a business environment or otherwise, is a good thing – otherwise, there would be no change, only stagnation, and progress would never be made. Having different core values is what can drive an organization – and therefore the individuals within – forward, onto greater heights and new horizons. It’s therefore important to maintain a steady set of core values – whether it is empathy, progress, competitiveness, etcetera, in order to enhance your contributions to the organization you work with.
Ultimately, coming across as an individual with strong values not only makes you feel better about yourself, but it also means that others will see you as more steadfast and trustworthy. Opportunistic and ‘shifty’ individuals tend to be seen less positively, and if you come across as a strong and independent figure you will end up turning a lot of heads – some of which can take you to opportunities you may have not imagined as being possible beforehand.
Placing a lot of stress and pressure upon yourself to become the next superstar or overnight sensation is a very unrealistic, and ultimately harmful, approach to take. Trying to do something a hundred times faster than is humanely possible can be very harmful both in a professional sense, but also a personal one.
Increased stress and anxiety can cause a wide variety of health problems, such as cardiovascular problems, repeated headaches, ‘brain fog’, etcetera. Over time, constant stress can even lead to an increased risk of cancer. It is therefore very important for your health to pace yourself and take things one day at a time. An idea can be to have a plan for each day laid out, roughly outlining what you want to achieve that day, in order to take pressure off yourself and prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. It’s important to keep these plans realistic and grounded so that you can complete every task with 100% efficiency whilst also preventing yourself from becoming disappointed.
Not only does being unrealistic affect your personal life, but it can have a great impact on your professional life, too. Expecting too much of yourself can not only lead to the aforementioned stress, which can innately reduce your performance, but you might be tempted to cut corners just to get that one extra thing done. This can, over time, lead to the formation of bad habits, eventually leading to you self-sabotaging yourself and your plans. Bad results can lead to bad impressions and a whole domino effect can arise from this where plans may even get ruined, so remember to take it easy and pace yourself as you work through your objectives.
It’s important to always keep in mind that Rome was not built in a day – all the great businessmen and women out there did not create their magnificent enterprises in weeks. Indeed, for many of them, it has taken decades of hard work and dedication.
Never Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Many of us see the act of asking for help as a show of weakness or ignorance. The reasons for why we believe this are numerous and, for the purposes of this, not important. However, what matters is this: asking for help is never a weak thing. In fact, it shows the opposite – it shows that you can assess your strengths and weaknesses and then improve on them. It shows that you have the drive and determination to realize that you have made a mistake (or are lacking in a certain area) and are willing to improve on it to ultimately become a better person.
A fantastic way of embracing this mindset in a professional setting is to get yourself a mentor. A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be your organizational senior – instead, they can even be one of your fellow colleagues or peers. Every time you come across something that you cannot solve yourself, ask them for help – they will come to respect you more for this, and you will be able to build a long-lasting professional bond with them. They might even give you a good recommendation sometime in the future! Furthermore, having a mentor can also serve as a very good reality check, in that if you want to attempt something then it is a good idea to first ask them for their opinion and get some feedback.
Most other people, especially those you work with, realize that admitting to having a particular weakness is in itself a sign of strength, highlighting that you want to become a better individual. A study from Cornell University showed that the rate at which strangers help others was 48% higher than expected by those asking for help. For known peers, the rate of helping was even higher. So, get yourself out there and ask – and, indeed, you shall receive!
Look After Yourself
This is perhaps the most important point out of the whole list. Given how results-focused some companies can be today, very often they can forget that, behind the numbers, there exists an individual. An individual, just like you, with thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs. It is therefore important to look after yourself and to promote self-care in a positive and helpful way.
For example, you should definitely put some time aside for treat days. Whether this involves a nice bath, a tasty meal out, or simply a lazy day about the house, you should set aside some time for the things you, as an individual, want to do. On these days, you should avoid taking any business commitments unless they are urgent. Try to be ‘selfish’, even if just for one day. This can really help you to relieve stress and essentially detox your mind. Not only does this benefit you personally (and improve your overall health), but it also helps to prepare you for another day of work. As you come back to your office or workplace feeling rejuvenated, it is almost assured that you will be performing at your peak performance once again.
Another thing that can help to de-stress you is exercise, which releases endorphins, a chemical in the brain that makes you feel good. If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, even stepping away from work for 10-15 minutes and taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood can help to clear your head. This can also help with your sleep, so if you ever find yourself lying awake at night thinking about your work, taking up some exercise might help with this. Overall, there are multiple ways to empower yourself in your career. Having a growth mindset is a meaningful and overall positive way of enhancing both your professional and personal lives. Pursuing further qualifications can also help you to get a leg up on the competition, allowing you to seek out the job you truly want. Asking for help is also a good idea, as it shows a strong character that is willing to learn from their mistakes, which peers and employers alike always appreciate. Ultimately, you should be aiming to also look after yourself because you should be your number one priority!