How to Forge the Career of Your Dreams

It’s a sad fact that most people in our great nation aren’t happy in their job. In fact, a 2017 report by Gallup posits that just 14 per cent of people in Australia (15 per cent worldwide) are actively engaged in their work.

So, what can we do to take ownership of our career and forge a role that we are passionate about?

The WarriorU Podcast recently hosted Executive Coach of 15 years, Greg Layton, to discuss his extensive experience creating profitable and progressive businesses through leadership transformation.

A happy offshoot of his chat with WarriorU hosts, Bram Connolly and Trent Burnard? These five tips for taking charge of your own career opportunities, development and progression:

1. Become an intrapreneur

First things first: taking charge of your career doesn’t mean becoming an entrepreneur. In fact, Greg believes the majority of people aren’t well suited to the pressures and challenges of establishing their own business.

‘It’s really challenging out there and it’s very lonely,’ he says. ‘Almost everyone underestimates how hard it is to start and run their own business….but they also underestimate how much more they could be doing where they are.’

Greg’s advice? Look for pay rises and promotions where you’re currently employed. Then, earn the right to take the opportunities that hard work creates.

‘Think about your career as a professional services team of one and your boss as your number one customer. Blow their mind away with how good you are at solving the problems of the business,’ says Greg.

‘If you turn up every day and say: ‘I love my job and I’m going to do a great job’; you seek mastery and you do the best you can, you’re going to get all of those things that you could only dream about if you went externally.’

2. Identify your ideal role

Taking charge of your career means knowing what you want. Having a clear vision of the job of your dreams is the first step to realising it. ‘Your ideal role should be a combination of what you’re good at, what you love doing, and a customer that’s going to pay for it,’ says Greg.

So, do the internal work and external research. Then, reverse engineer the path to get there. What are the credentials, networks, experience and personality traits you need to seal your ideal role?

‘Stack yourself up against the competition. Take a look on LinkedIn and find out who is in that role now and what their experience looks like. Call them up and ask: ‘how did you get that role?’,’ says Greg.

‘Do the research on how to get there – that’s mastery!’

3. Establish who ‘owns’ your career

Who is the person you need to build a relationship with in order to take the next step toward your dream role? Your boss? Someone in Human Resources? Hint: it could be yourself, particularly if you’re feeling undervalued and underappreciated in your current position.

‘Career ownership proceeds career victory. Whoever is in charge of your next development course, that’s who is in charge of your career,’ says Greg.

‘If there isn’t anything on the agenda, then nobody is ownership of your career. This doesn’t mean you leave the organisation – this means you take charge of your own development and you make decisions about your career direction.’

4. Create a high-performance lifestyle

Particularly useful if you’re leading a team, Greg’s high performance framework is all about optimising your potential, to get you to where you want to go – faster.

‘The performance lifestyle goes like this: you prepare for something and then you perform it, and then you recover and then you review,’ he says.

While most companies, leaders and people get the preparation and performance steps right, many overlook the recovery and review phases.

‘If you don’t recover, you burn out and can’t make good decisions. If you don’t review, you’re still in your growth,’ says Greg.

In short: taking the time to log off and log out can help rather than hinder your progress. Prioritise sleep, nutrition and exercise, so you can get back to your best on Monday.

While you’re at it, ensure you set monthly, quarterly and annual reviews of your career performance to confirm you’re consistently improving and tracking toward your goals.

5. Enhance your resilience

Mental toughness is key to climbing the corporate ladder, particularly if you’re working within a company that’s still in its growth stage. One way to enhance resilience is by identifying the daily situations that trigger any distress – be it an email from your boss or colleague, running a particular meeting or finding the right nook to each lunch.

Then, work out why you feel that way. Is it because you lack control of the situation? Is it because you don’t have a good relationship with someone? Is it because another person is acting in a way that directly conflicts with your values?

‘Understanding why something enrages you can be really valuable because, a lot of the time, the things we get most annoyed at are the things we are most passionate about,’ says Greg.

‘Once you understand why it makes you feel that way, create a mantra for the situation – a saying that will put you back into a positive mind frame – and an action that will set you back on the right path.’

Mantras can include typical sayings such as ‘one day at a time’ or ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’.  An action might be taking three deep breaths when you see an email hit your inbox or setting a meeting to calmly discuss your concerns with management.

Are you wanting to take your career to the next level? WarriorU’s parent company, Hindsight Leadership, can help you develop the necessary skills to be a better leader, build resilience and forge the career you’ve only ever dreamed of. Contact the friendly Hindsight Leadership team today.

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