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A career inventory is often taken at the end of each year. It’s at this point that we pause to assess where we are in our professional development and how to move forward. We may experience a sense of stagnation and cocooning if we don’t experience constant personal and professional improvement. Hence the need to continually transform yourself into the leader you want to be as the CEO of your career.

Whether you work as a banker or a computer systems analyst, there are some fundamental principles that apply to building a successful career.  While different people interpret career growth in different ways, the shape and trajectory of your career graph from the moment you start your first job to where you are currently constitute career growth. The latter are key principles that lay a solid foundation on which to build a successful career that can withstand unexpected changes.

The Commitment

Commitment to career development has been known to steer the course of career growth. Whilst planning around career development is essential for reaching goals, career growth is a lot more than just the sum of workplace accomplishments. It’s a combination of intangible qualities, like tenacity, self-motivation, good listening skills, persuasiveness, sense of humor, and the ability to connect with people. These qualities have enabled a winning formula for anyone wanting career growth.

The Journey

When navigating a career, it’s expected to make numerous compromises and trade-offs along the way to achieve professional fulfillment. This path might lead you to make a lateral shift that enables you to gain new skills, take a pay reduction, change careers, relocate, etc. Despite this, it is advisable to put your all into this very early in your career because the priorities you make time for now are the ones in which you will ultimately attain growth and success.

The Deep waters

You can spend your entire life wading through the shallows if you don’t go into the deep end. Staying in one’s comfort zone suggests that one is career-niched-off, locked in one industry or even one function. In actuality, your career progression can really be hampered by your lane, wheelhouse, and supposed skill set. Personally, I really believe in pushing outside of comfort zone and have had great success in trying new things.

The most valuable learning experiences occur in the deep waters when we think we can’t swim. The deep end is a location for growth if the required assistance is provided. The obstacles you face will help you learn new things about yourself, your job, and life in general.

Have a Strategy

Just as CEOs are tasked with, among other things, driving effective strategy, constant environmental scanning to gain a competitive edge, reorganization, and repositioning, all of which lead to the growth of the business the CEO leads – career professionals must equally manage their career growth and be at the cutting edge through constant evaluation in order to maintain high level of competitiveness.

When people keep up with changes in their fields, their careers flourish. It is also true that every endeavor faces challenges that were previously unanticipated, however in order to develop your skill set, keep up with industry trends, keep an eye on the job market, meet potential mentors, business partners, and clients. Networking is crucial. Over the years, studies have shown that networking offers a solid foundation for a fulfilling career and a safety net in case the unexpected occurs. Through networks, we can interact and connect with a source of business intelligence about your department, business, or industry.

Therefore to enable tangible results of your strategy, make it a priority to meet with yourself at least twice a year for career goal review. This is a hugely important aspect for the majority of young professionals, who, according to findings, have well defined professional objectives but lack experience achieving them.

Raise your emotional intelligence

Knowing oneself is the first step toward growth. Consciously putting effort into discovering one’s self will pay off in many ways. The route to self-awareness calls for work and a commitment to change internally. Step outside your comfort zone by reading books on purpose, listening to blogs, taking online personality assessments, and, if required, contacting a therapist. Your emotional intelligence rises when you have good self-awareness. A lack of self-awareness is said to be the root cause of many leadership issues and unhealthy relationships. As you advance in your career or expand your sphere of influence, it becomes more difficult to undertake honest self-evaluations and to favorably accept feedback from others if this dimension is neglected. Emotional intelligence helps you to become the best version of yourself, improves employee well-being, defuse conflict, reduce team stress and helps you be the best colleague possible.

Taking Stock

As the year comes to a close, keep in mind that no matter where you are in your career, taking stock of the year just passed is critical in order to adjust your sails. Being unsuccessful at something does not imply failure, and it is never too late to become the person you want to be. Although by no means exhaustive, the following indicators should serve as a clear gauge of how far your career has progressed:

•    A sense of purpose and an increased appetite to press towards your ultimate professional goals

•    A promotion or change in scope of work – taking on new responsibilities.

•    Positive change in your financial wellness.

•    Mental transformation supported by a growth mindset.

•    Developing meaningful professional relationships and network.

• Achieving your set career goals incrementally as you move towards your big-picture career vision.

Ipupa Fadeyi is the Founder & Director of IpupaK Grow You Mentorship.

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