“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken – Warren Buffett
Mention the word wealth and for many, images of grand homes, fast cars and fat paycheque are the first things that spring to mind. Health, relationships, careers and that ever elusive thing called time are often an after thought; and yet for many it is what we crave more of and spend all of our money on trying to obtain or achieve.
Essentially wealth really is anything that holds value. It is about creating a sense of prosperity and abundance in in the areas of our life that are important to us. A quick Google search reveals that the three key attributes of wealth are utility, scarcity and marketability.
In thinking about our careers, these attributes are not too different. Clarity, demand and transferability are three career attributes that will build value and drive your career forward. Given that we spend up to 70% or our waking time engaged in work related activities – week after week and year after year – it makes sense that we aim to create a high degree of value and reward in what we do.
So how do we use these three attributes to create genuine career wealth?
- Build clarity: Around what you can do (Skills, Knowledge, Experience); what you want to do (Values, Career Anchors) and where you think you best fit (Personality, People, Culture).
- Build demand: Become the expert in what it is that you do and the way in which you do it. Learn how to position yourself as the expert and give people and organisations a reason to want to engage with you.
- Build Transferability: Identify where your skills and capabilities also apply. Remain relevant to the future of your business, your industry, and your networks and become nimble enough to adapt and leverage with the inevitable changes ahead.
As with all successful components of our lives, habits play a key part in seeing us reach our potential. Building high value careers is no different. Below are 10 key habits that I believe underpin truly wealthy, successful and satisfying careers. How many do you practice?
- Conduct Regular Audits: Gaining clarity on the areas highlighted above is not a once off event. Regularly check in and take a close look at where you are and where you want to go. Are your personal values aligning with your goals? Making this a regular habit will help maintain clarity and focus and more importantly make any required changes in a timely manner.
- Value Your Time: Know your own strengths and play to them. Learn to identify the strengths in others and how you can best collaborate to achieve mutually beneficial goals and save time, effort and wasted energy.
- Embrace Learning: Never assume that you know all there is to know about managing your career. Begin by investing time to acquire the right intelligence and know-how that will accelerate your career. Investigate key industry trends and challenges; recent business success stories; know who the key influencers and thought leaders are. Be proactive in educating yourself in what is required from both an industry and individual perspective.
- Position yourself for recognition: This is not about endless self-promotion. Rather it is about building up your portfolio of accomplishments and positioning yourself for more opportunities and achievements. To do this successfully you need to seek feedback and input from your leaders and mentors both from within and outside your organization.
- Become curious: Ask questions – lots of them! Your outcomes and direction are greatly determined by the quality of the questions you ask yourself and those around you. Seeking understanding and not merely responses will help create and open up new opportunities, solutions and pathways.
- Practice Bravery: Low risk is often associated with stability. However continually opting for the low risk options leads to increased vulnerability as it reduces our resilience to deal with sudden and high level change. ‘Playing it safe’ with your career can in fact create higher risk through an inability to cope with the volatility and rate of change which is all to common in the market place today.
- Strengthen your network: Invest in the right relationships and dedicate time and energy to them. Identify your key influencers and thought leaders, and a meaningful pathway of how to approach and engage with them. Build a networking plan that fosters authentic professional relationships where you can also offer valuable contributions.
- Give generously: Acting with generosity requires you to be open. It is not restricted to just opening up our wallets but also our skills, ideas and knowledge. When we actively acknowledge the contributions and needs of others and are generous with providing recognition, time, networks etc. we often find that we are the unexpected beneficiary with increased levels of success and satisfaction.
- Invest in the business of you: Understanding that our capacity to give and give generously is dramatically enhanced when we look after ourselves, is a critical part of our success. Investing in your health, your relationships, your learning and interests is not a nice-to-have it’s a must have!
- Have fun!: Seek out work that you love, with people you love and in environments that you love. You won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face or dispute the level of satisfaction and purpose that results!
As always I would love to hear your thoughts.
Margot – The Career Diplomat