To invest properly in your career, you must know yourself extremely well. Knowing yourself requires you to understand the factors that positively inspire you to achieve something substantive and relevant – with passion – every day. For some people this takes a long time to discover. For others, they know themselves well enough to make good career investment decisions. What do you believe are the most important areas for your career investment? What areas have you already invested in and what were the outcomes? What areas are you currently focusing on now?
For those ready to give it serious consideration, here are the five most effective ways to invest in your career:
1. Invest in Your Strengths: Use Them More Frequently
Become increasingly aware of your natural strengths that allow your skill sets and capabilities to thrive and make the commitment to invest in them. For example, if you are a good negotiator, never assume that your technique doesn’t require fine tuning. Take a negotiations class, enhance your abilities and then put them to work more frequently.
To get your mindset in the right place, try this: the next time you are in a meeting, carefully observe your colleagues. Notice the dynamics in the room – and begin to ask yourself: what are other people doing to invest in the betterment of their careers?
The ultimate prize is to find happiness in your career and in your work by fueling your strengths and passion.
2. Invest in Intelligence and Know-How: Apply it More Actively
Never stop learning. This begins by investing your time to acquire the right intelligence and know-how that will accelerate your career advancement. For example, most people want to build their personal brand – yet don’t invest in the process of developing one and thus miss opportunities along the way.
Never assume that you don’t need to get smarter, wiser and more strategic about how to better manage your career. Be proactive. Get to know the goals the industry you are serving desires to achieve and how you can contribute. Build relationships with key thought leaders. Identify the best executive search firms that can support the career path you seek – and get to know what your direct competitors are doing to secure the position(s) you may be targeting.
3. Invest in the Right Relationships: Give Them Time and Attention
Build a personal advisory board who can properly guide your career goals. Identify your circle of influence. Who are they today? Are they guiding you rightly? Are you truly investing in these relationships in ways that are continually helping you move your career in the direction you want it to go?
Invest in how to network the right way. Your networking should be viewed as a professional development boot camp (read about this here). Learn to value your time and how to connect with the right people. Nurture the relationships that matter most. Give them proper time and attention and keep the most meaningful relationships active at all times.
4. Invest in a Career Coach: Sustain Your Momentum
Staying focused can be difficult with so many different responsibilities to manage. This is why most people lose momentum when attempting to advance their careers. Most people start and stop the career management process – finding it difficult to manage their time.
Make career management a new best practice; a process that becomes an embedded part of your daily activities, goals and objectives. If possible, invest in a career coach to increase your commitment levels and hold yourself accountable. Today’s competitive landscape requires you to stay on track by investing in someone that can provide you with the tools and perspective to keep you focused.
5. Invest in Your Family and Personal Life: Create Balance and Strengthen Your Career
Balance is the key to success – in both business and in life. Contribute to the success of your career by investing in work/life balance and dedicating more time and attention to your personal and family life.
My family and personal friends are an essential component to my career success. They help clear my mind and enrich my points of view. Engaging in activities separate from your career allows you to broaden your observations through a different lens and appreciate new types of ideas and ideals that can help shape your thinking and contribute to your professional growth.
Invest the right way and more effectively manage your career. Think of your investment as a personal enrichment process: an investment that is always working for you because it focuses on making you a better person both in and outside of the workplace.
Article taken from Forbes