5 Actions That Create Career Success

Define success.

Close your eyes. What does success look like to you? What does it smell like? What does it taste like? What does it feel like? At what point will you look around yourself and say, “I made it!”

Do you have a clear picture in your mind?

Whether you have a clearly defined vision of what success looks like or whether you feel like success is a nebulous enigma that you’ll only know once you experience it, career success is more than just the next promotion or the next pay raise. It is an active process that require attention and perseverance as defined by these five actions.

1. Have Confidence in Yourself

Easier said than done, right? In reality, psychologists have devoted their lives to studying what constitutes self-confidence and how to cultivate it. At one point, confidence was seen as a function of external reinforcement. It was believed that if you did a good job and got a pat on the back, you achieved higher levels of self-confidence. While feedback is certainly important in the workplace, it is not the root from which confidence stems. In reality, researchers have found that high achievers across industries and varying careers have high levels of self-control and the ability to persist in the face of difficulties. Born of successful problem solving and self-regulation, confidence it not necessarily something we are born with, but it is something we can certainly develop.

2. Embrace and Learn From Change

As frightening as it can be, there are few experiences that will teach us more about ourselves than change. From shifts in organisational structure to job expectations and outcomes, change can bring about new opportunities to learn and grow in your skills and abilities. Once you begin to see change as an essential element to reach the next step in your career rung, it no longer carries the fear it once held.

3. Take a Chance

In economics, the formula for calculating the potential risks and rewards of a decision is measured by a simple ratio.

People often do similar calculations when considering a strategic career move, but it is sometimes skewed by their own negative career experiences. If you tried to achieve a goal, but were stymied by a short-sighted supervisor, you may be less likely to make a second attempt given your past experience. In essence, you decide that the perceived risk is not worth the potential reward. In reality, your supervisor may have not had the time to consider your idea or perhaps the timing was not right. Taking a chance on your career may not yield the outcome you are hoping for every time, but you are guaranteed to miss every shot you did not take.

4. Work to Your Strengths

As you work to achieve career success, it is important to maximise and promote your strengths in the workplace. Since these talents come naturally, you will always enjoy roles that support your use of them. Your enjoyment therefore translates to better performance. Better performance is the natural segue to greater career success. The trick is to correctly identify those strengths and continuously work on developing more.

5. Make it Happen

Career success does not just happen. Never assume it will simply fall into your lap because you want it or someone will happen to notice how hard you work and offer you your dream job. You are your own best promoter when it comes to your achievements and skills. Yet most people are reluctant to market their accomplishments for fear of looking like they are bragging. It is time to move past the reluctance and accept that no one of importance will recognize your efforts if they never see them. Seize opportunities to take credit for work that is truly yours. Market your particular leadership brand to key decision makers. Only then will you begin to see success.

  • Shanelle Moloney is the Managing Director of Moloney Consulting. Shanelle has over 20 years’ HR experience, 15 of which have been serving on senior leadership teams in Australian and Asia Pacific businesses across a range of industries. Shanelle is passionate about the recognition of leadership as a learned skill that requires the right resource investment, and has spent much of her career specialising in this area. Connect with me on LinkedIn.