(Don’t let the title fool you, we’ve not gone all spiritual and meditative on you.)
When talking about becoming successful, we often focus on the physical actions we can take to achieve our goals: working harder, developing skills, training, promotions and dressing the part, for example.
However, many believe that if you’re not self-aware, then your aims and successes may always remain out of reach. Being able to accept criticism, self-assess, reflect and then act upon this is a sign of your dedication to succeeding. Growth can rarely take place without change.
So, you may have a glowing CV and you may be able to charm your way through any meeting, but if you aren’t pushing yourself, growing and working on your weaknesses, then you may find yourself stagnating professionally – moving forward all comes down to you.
Are you stuck in a professional rut? Do you want to become a better version of you? Then you may need to look inward.
What do you really want?
It seems like an obvious question – you want to be successful. Simple, right? Well, in truth, it may not be as straightforward as that. It’s a lot easier if you’re pursuing something that will really make you happy, whether that be something you feel passionately about, or a means to the lifestyle you desire.
You may very well be a shoo-in for that promotion but, if you’re not content with your place of work or aren’t using your strongest skills, will you be genuinely happy and as successful as you could be, even if you reach the top? If your heart isn’t in it, it’s very hard to give something your all. Any successful businessperson will tell you that making it takes everything you’ve got.
Before taking any action, set some time aside to think about where you want to go both personally and professionally, what you truly (and realistically) want to do and how you plan to get there. Once you have a path in mind, it’s much easier to find your way.
What is working?
Come on, don’t be shy – self-reflection isn’t the place for modesty! Be honest with yourself and consider the following questions: what are your strengths? What work or tasks do you enjoy? What valuable skills and attributes do you bring to the table? Write them down if you need to.
Being aware of what you’re good at and what you like doing can help you get a better understanding of the type of worker you are, and ascertaining this can help you develop further. Awareness of your strengths can also help you to identify ways of showcasing these more often and improving them even more.
What isn’t working?
This is often something we choose to shy away from. It can be hard to accept our imperfections and weaknesses, but as unpleasant as they may be to explore, doing so is the only way to begin turning these into strengths.
From your point of view, what do you think you could be better at? What sort of tasks do you struggle with? What are your professional and personal weaknesses? It is essential to be as honest with yourself as possible, here – you’re human, you will have faults, but if you ignore them, they will remain with you.
Consider your weak points and how you can push yourself to turn them around – if you work on your weaknesses, they’re much less likely to hold you back in your quest for success.
What do others think?
Have you ever heard of the saying ‘too close to the problem to see the solution’? This can be the case when working on developing professionally. It’s possible that we can be unaware of things we do subconsciously, become stuck in our ways or be completely unable to see ourselves as others see us.
Seeking feedback from managers or colleagues has many benefits, and makes sure that you get an unbiased picture of how you come across in a professional setting.
Not only will this help you identify definite areas for improvement, but it could boost your relationships with your colleagues. If they feel that you can communicate openly, value their opinion and are willing to make changes, they will have a much higher opinion of you.
Similarly, if you approach your manager, they may be able to offer you advice along with their views, they will also see how seriously you take your development.
How will you get there?
You’ve addressed the ‘what’ and now it’s time for the ‘how’. You’ve got your goals in place and you know what you need to work on, so how are you going to achieve this?
Even if it takes a bit of research, or a conversation with a superior at work, it’s essential to know what your options are regarding the next steps in your career path. There may be more than one way to get to where you want to be, so consider all eventualities and have a clear idea of the route you want to take in your mind to help you stay focused.
When it comes to developing your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses, you not only need to consider how you will do this, but how you will measure and monitor your progress. Set yourself little tasks and targets you can tick off as you complete them and get out of your comfort zone!
Success rarely comes easily, but that’s what makes it so satisfying when we finally achieve it. It can also mean so many things to different people, whether that’s netting that promotion or hoping to run the business one day. Whatever your goals, being open and honest with yourself, being self-aware and being proactive in making any necessary changes will definitely send you on your way to being a more successful you.
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