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5 ways to make the most of your career

These words from Gandhi are well known: “You must be the change you wish to bring into the world.” Consider putting that into action as part of your career strategy: Decide who you want to be. Practice making choices and behaving like the person you wish to become in your career. What kind of career would you choose if you felt empowered? Visualize the person you want to be, the career you desire and the life you wish to live.

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1. Choose carefully

Think carefully when you choose your career rather than allowing yourself to fall into something. Job postings and industry websites will inform you of the skills, education and experience required for particular jobs. You can learn about a job’s functions, but to be the person you wish to become, you should examine your values and choose a career that matches your passions, core beliefs and life philosophy.

2. Start building today

Your first job following your education serves as a foundational building block. Upon that, you build a career. Rather than going through the motions, performing tasks and meeting goals, seek an understanding of your employer’s operations beyond your desk and your department. Engage in the entire process, even if only through observation. Practice critical and creative thinking. When appropriate, share your ideas with your manager and ask questions to deepen your knowledge. Even if you are a first-year associate, you don’t have time to wait for things to happen; start building your career today.

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3. Manage perfectionism, fear and risk

Striving for perfection can lead to fear of failure. This can hold you back from taking risks. Let go of the need to be perfect, be willing to fail and take risks to succeed. Instead of perfection, set your sights on excellence. Performing your job is the minimum requirement. Don’t stop there. Be courageous and seek additional opportunities to contribute to your team.

4. Decide what you are willing to do to reach your goal

It might be easier to remain secure in your current occupation and situation. The price you are paying for that security, however, is the cost of a missed opportunity. Ask yourself: “Am I committed to my goal enough to make the change now so I can expand my knowledge, accept new challenges and earn more money?” If you want to become the person you wish to be, you must be willing to change and grow.

5. Surround yourself with like-minded people

Now that you know what you want and who you want to be, you’ve committed and taken steps to develop yourself. Like-minded people will help support you and serve as a source of inspiration. In turn, you should help to support your peer group. This will help keep you on track to attain your goal.

The bottom line

Continue to develop yourself professionally, make connections and build valuable experiences as you strive to become the person you wish to be and get the most out of your career. Be bold, creative and courageous as you seek change and pursue meaningful work.

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