After you have found your niche and settled on a career in the everyday world, you might find yourself needing a little push to keep yourself at the top of the game. You might have set aside some professional goals to give way to your family's priorities or you might be secure in your job but craving for some excitement like a new project and opportunity for advancement that will give you a promotion or a raise.
Here are some winning strategies to give your career the boost that you are looking for:
1. Go Back to Your Basics
I emphasized the word, your, because this article is all about you—it is your career; your dreams, aspirations, and everyday reality that you are going to be planning about and working hard for.
American musician, artist, and feminist activist Kathleen Hanna most fittingly advised, "Sit down and ask yourself, ‘What is the most important thing to me?’ What grosses me out the most? What makes me the most upset — is it healthcare? Is it so many people being hungry in our culture? Is it sexual abuse? Mix that with doing something you love, something you could keep doing forever and ever. For me, it was ending violence against women, and I mixed it with music. And I’ve had a 25-year career. So that’s my advice: Find something you really care about and mix that with something you love doing.”
So overcome your FOMO (fear of missing out), unplug, and take some quiet time alone in a cafe, a park, or a travel destination to connect with your values, as well as re-discover what inspires you and makes you happy. You may get yourself a nice journal where you can write down your thoughts.
2. Create Your Personal Brand
Remember all the countless SWOT analyses that you conducted with your colleagues as part of your corporate planning exercises?
Now is the time to apply that to your self. List down all your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats around you. From your inventory of strengths, pick the one that makes you unique. It will be your personal brand, the one that will make you stand out.
3. Enrich Your Brand
After you have identified your personal brand, it is now time to enrich it. I offer three simple tips under this strategy: First, find a mentor—I suggest a woman, one who has already surmounted what you are just about to go through. Recall every woman that you have encountered in the past three to five years who inspired you and made you think, Hey, I wanna be like her when I reach this age! She can be that unforgettable speaker in one of the conferences that you have attended, a former boss, the consultant that you worked with for a corporate project, an aunt, a godmother, or your very own mother. She may also be the social media influencer you are following on Twitter who you have yet to meet. Now is the time to send her a tweet or a text and invite your chosen mentor for brunch or coffee.
Second, nurture your passion for learning. Go back to school—take your master's degree or finish your pending thesis. Read books. Sign up for talks, tours, free online classes, magazine subscriptions, and whatever opportunities that would increase your knowledge and build your skills.
Lastly, immerse yourself in the field or sector where your brand will thrive by volunteering your expert skills and services.
4. Neutralize Risks and Turn Your Weaknesses into Strengths
Still, from your personal SWOT analysis, take the time to study what may derail you from pursuing your goals. Own your weaknesses just as you own your strengths, and neutralize risks, if you cannot turn them into opportunities.
5. Purposive Networking
The key to any successful networking initiative is having a clear purpose. Here are some working guidelines in selecting persons and groups that you would like to be associated with:
They should positively motivate you and build you up in accordance with your values. You should never lose yourself in the association.
You can add value to their lives. It's not a one-way street, darling.
If they cannot be your market, their connections can.
6. Innovate, Collaborate, and Communicate
You have gone through items #1 to 5 of this list, now is the time to get something done. Where there is monotony, shake things up with innovation. Get your new contacts on board a project. Most importantly, communicate! Sharing the good news about your latest venture is not boasting; it opens doors for new initiatives and for opportunities to inspire others and pay it forward.
Every turning point in our lives is guided by reflection. Contemplating about your life and the actions you take to move forward is not a passive exercise. It allows you to look deeper and be in a constant state of awe, the inner force that nurtures your zest for life.
Practice these seven winning strategies, give your career a boost and your life, a whole new meaning.