Don’t Have an Accidental Career

Other than your closest relationship that you choose to have in your life, the career choices you make will have just as much of an impact on the life you live.

It will impact your outlook on nearly everything. Your happiness. Your generosity. Your health. It will also determine how long you live.

That’s some pretty serious stuff.

So as I provide guidance to the people I work with I always suggest that they “search for the role that you want and don’t just take the one that you get”.

Here are a few additional thoughts that I have inventoried over the years. Not just from the most successful people but interestingly enough some of the happiest.

Luck and work.

Luck is certainly a component of success, but only if it is surrounded by massive amounts of hard work over long periods of time.

Intelligence does matter.

There are super smart people in your area of expertise. Although they are not much smarter than you, they were just more committed to doing what you wouldn’t do and they did it for a longer period of time. Don’t make excuses.

“Search for the role that you want and don’t just take the one that you get.”

Keep a quarterly log of what you have learned and what you have accomplished.

If a career is worth having, it is worth recording. Take a few hours every quarter and record all the projects you have worked on, the lessons you have learned and the goals for the upcoming quarter that you would like to achieve. This serves a few purposes.

It comes in handy when you have to update your resume and it will be a great review to remind yourself and your potential future employer what you have accomplished.

You will want it for yourself to review later in life and relive some of the great times. Also possibly to share with your children, friends or family later in life and let those close to you have a peek at all the accomplishments and lessons learned and possibly those to pass on to future overachievers.

Either you control you or someone else does. There is no in between.

You are going to be in a less than desirable situation numerous times in your career. You will never panic as long as you understand that you are always in control of what happens to you. When shit goes sideways sometimes it may take a day or two to get your arms around it, but your future is always in your hands. All winners know this.

Outwork everyone.

Elon Musk said…“Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour work weeks and you’re putting in 100 hour work weeks, then even if you’re doing the same thing you know that… you will achieve in 4 months what it takes them a year to achieve.”

I am not subscribing to this literally but you get the point. More focused work can overcome most things.

“When shit goes sideways sometimes it may take a day or two to get your arms around it, but your future is always in your hands. All winners know this.”

Network all the time.

Not just when you need it. That’s not networking, that’s desperation. Everyone can smell it. Stay active with colleagues, ex-coworkers, past supervisors and special interest groups that are plugged into your specialty.

Always be pushing but also be patient.

Very few things of massive worth occur overnight. Certainly push towards your goals with intention. Always ask “how” can I get “there” and what do I need to do. Deliberate pursuit is different than rushing. Learn the lessons along the way and never kid yourself.