On your marks. Get set. Hold up a second. Before you go sprinting toward your career goals, fueled by drive and ambition, consider the advice of Sesha Dhanyamraju. In an enlightening U.S. News & World Reports piece titled “Tips to Help You Take the Long View on Your Career,” the CEO and managing partner of Digital Risk LLC tells writer Miriam Salpeter why careers are like marathons, not sprints. He also shares 5 excellent tips for pacing yourself and finding success. Good luck!
1. Know Thyself — Before you can truly begin your climb up the ladder, you must have a good sense of your strengths and weaknesses, Dhanyamraju says. You should also determine what types of challenges have historically tripped you up and brought about your greatest successes. After that, set goals for the next quarter, six months, three years, and five years and ask yourself how you’re taking steps toward meeting those goals.
2. Determine What You Lack –If, Dhanyamraju says, you’ve been working in your field a long time, there’s a good possibility you’re “missing some key competencies that less-experienced professionals in your industry take for granted.” Dhanyamraju suggests thinking about how skills you’ve recently learned might help you serve your company, family, and community.
3. Align Your Goals With Your Company’s — The more your vision overlaps with the company’s, the better. As Dhanyamraju says, you should “align yourself to helping make the organization’s stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees [and] community, successful.” By doing so, you’ll be able to strive for personal goals without alienating others. One way to accomplish this: volunteer to lighten your supervisor’s workload and tackle some problems that have been nagging him or her. You’ll seem like “a hero,” Dhanyamraju says, and you just might move yourself forward in the process.
4. Just Say “No” (When Applicable) — There’s a tendency among many ambitious workers to take on whatever assignments the higher-ups dish out, but as Dhanyamraju says, it’s OK to say “no” — especially when you don’t have time for a new project, or when said task doesn’t quite jibe with your career plans. “It enhances your credibility and, in many cases, your boss may be able to take conflicting priorities from your to-do list,” Dhanyamraju says.
5. Find Happiness Outside the Office — Because you’re thinking long-term and not trying to achieve all of your goals in the next six months, you’ll need to maintain a proper work-life balance and develop hobbies and interests that will nourish your soul for years to come. Recharge those batteries, in other words, and make sure you’ve got a great network of friends and family members to help you through the rough times.