Tuesday Tip: What is Career Success?
Today at lunch time, I was in my favorite support group meeting. One of our topics centered on worry and fear about the future and what could go wrong. Several of us are self-employed and we agreed that even when the worst feared "wrong" occurs, 95% of the time it's not even close to how serious we portrayed it in our minds.
So, why do we drive ourselves crazy with that fear? Does that fear keep us from being fully engaged on our work and life path? Does it create a barrier to success? Bill Cosby said: "In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure."
So, that leads me to the next question to ponder. What does success mean? It's different for all of us you know. I've sat with thousands of individuals who are working on their career goals. Each one defines success differently.
When I first decided to work as a career counselor, over 18 years ago, I created my mission statement. It was how I defined success for myself. That mission was to "help people create the greatest work of art that is their life". A couple of years later, I realized that one aspect of my mission had changed. The work wasn't to create it - that was already a done deal. People are born, I believe, with innate talents. They have natures that lead them to do work in a field that suits them. So, my mission is "guiding people to discover the greatest work of art that is their life." I help people uncover what at some level they already know about themselves and set that knowledge into action.
A colleague of mine, Monica Loncich, who works in the HR field, recently sent me a story that describes what career success means to her. It's a lovely story and I'd like to share it with you:
~ "My parents immigrated to the US in the early 60’s, intending to someday return to their country after achieving some measure of financial stability. Both of my parents worked hard, using their skills in a variety of jobs to support our family of nine. My sisters and I excelled in school, and built lasting friendships. It became apparent over the course of many years that my family had built a good life and were in the US to stay permanently. I embraced the values my family taught me – the value of learning and receiving a good education; diligence and working hard and extending a hand to help others. As I progressed in my career, these values have helped me to develop many positive relationships in the various companies where I have worked. Many former co-workers are now good friends. Success for me is the choice I have made many, many times to treat others as the life travelers and companions that we are. I am reminded that every person’s choices and decisions affect my life as mine touches theirs. Success is the reward of continuing to learn from other people and to know that I have influenced and positively impacted a number of those who have traveled the road of life alongside me."
Monica truly has thought about and embraced her definition of career success. She is living it through the work she loves in the human resource field and beyond.
So, think about how you'd like to define your career success. There isn't a right or wrong answer. Your definition of success might involve making a certain income level, having a positive impact on the environment, helping others, etc. Then, in order to achieve that success, it's simply doing what you do best and not letting worry and fear get in the way.