Control The Controllables For Career Success

By Zach Seybert
In November 13, 2018

Everyone wants to be successful in their careers. While the definition of “success” differs from person to person, there is one way to ensure that you will be successful: learn how to control what you can control.

When it comes to work, some things are simply out of your control. For example, you cannot control your coworkers, boss, etc. However, the things that are in your control include your skills, performance and relationships at work. How can you do this? Luckily, Forbes Contributor Shelcy V. Joseph provides a few tips to make sure you are successful in your current, or next, job. To read the full article, click here.

Make Friends At Work

Given the amount of time we spend at the office, you likely spend more hours with your coworkers than you do your own family. Since you are around these people so much, it is only natural to establish some friendships. Having friends at work can make your day go by more quickly and improve your mood at the office, which in turn affects your productivity. Happiness at work is something that many people overlook, but is one of the most important aspects of your career.

It is no secret that many people strive for a healthy work-life balance, and some might try to maintain this balance by separating their personal and professional lives. In order to separate the two, they might avoid getting too close to their coworkers. However, not wanting to create friendships in the office may lead to feelings of isolation which could negatively affect your work performance. Your work friends don’t need to be your lifelong companions (if they are, great!), but having some acquaintances at work is better than being a loner.

Another benefit to workplace friendships is that forging these friendships is not just beneficial for your current career. You never know where your friends will be in a few years. They might be able to serve as a reference and open up the door to future career opportunities.

Let Your Personality Shine

The easiest way to get people to like you is to be yourself. Regardless of the office environment, there will be people who act one way in front of their colleagues and another in front of their supervisor(s). People are typically observant individuals and can see through this façade.

It is important to maintain professionalism at work, so some humor and quirks might be better served for outside the office among different company. Being yourself is the best way to build trust and rapport at work. Trust, although difficult to earn, is fairly easy to lose so have a sense of tact when engaging in certain conversations. Once this trust is earned, especially that of your boss, your chances of career growth will improve.

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Underpromise, Overdeliver

If you want to progress through your career, you must prove your value to your employer. The easiest way to do this is by exceeding expectations. According to Joseph, “If you are promising things by a certain time, make sure it’s on time. Better yet, try to complete it earlier. By going above and beyond to get the job done and do it well, you will not only earn people’s trust, but you will continue to make yourself valuable (almost indispensable) at work.”

Take Ownership Of Your Career

At the end of the day, the person in charge of your career success is the one looking back at you in the mirror – yourself. As William Ernest Henley eloquently states in the last two lines of his poem “Invictus”, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” This certainly rings true for your career.

Mistakes are bound to happen, but being accountable for your actions, both good and bad, is a good quality to have. Instead of pointing the finger and shedding the blame on someone else, think about what could have been done differently to avoid this happening again in the future. Sure, nobody enjoys making mistakes and the repercussions that follow, but the lessons learned from them can actually help you grow as a professional.

Say Yes To New Opportunities

Early on in our careers we are often trying to prove our worth and, as a result, tend to bite off more than we can chew. In fact, a common piece of advice for young career professionals is to learn how to say “no” more. Without this skill it is easy to get burnt out at work, which means your performance and workplace satisfaction are likely to plummet. While we aren’t advocating to say “yes” to everything, figuring out when to say it to can greatly benefit your career.

Challenging the limits of your comfort zone is definitely easier said than done, but that is where true growth opportunities are found. By saying “yes” to new opportunities you can test the limits of your comfort zone and learn new skills that will make you more marketable for future opportunities.

Wrap Up

When it comes to our careers, there are certain things that you can and cannot control. If you worry about the latter you will become overwhelmed and stressed. If you truly want to be successful, it is time to start focusing on things that you CAN control. Start with these five aspects of your career and are sure to experience success.

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Zach is a Digital Content and Marketing Specialist with NexGoal, who specializes in creating career transition and job search preparation content.