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7 Stepping-stones to Career Growth and Excellence
Achieving excellence in our work is an integral part of feeling genuinely satisfied in life. We want our careers or businesses to blossom, making us financially secure and content with our achievements. Here are seven stepping-stones that lead to career growth and excellence. When used as part of a total action-plan, these stepping-stones can contribute tremendously to the fulfillment that you desire.
1. Make a Commitment to Excellence
A passionate commitment to excellence is a primary step to growth in any endeavor. It is not enough to say we want to be excellent; we must make a commitment.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, business owner, employer, or employee, commit yourself to becoming excellent in your chosen field. When you commit yourself to excellence, you will grow personally as well as professionally.
2. Empower Yourself and Others by Continuing to Learn
A commitment to excellence requires continuous learning. Keep your skills sharpened by reading the latest books and attending seminars, classes, or workshops. Ask for feedback from clients, customers, supervisors, co-workers and employees. Frequently assess yourself and look for key skills that need improvement.
By empowering yourself with knowledge, you will reap the rewards of continued growth and excellent performance. You will also inspire others to seek empowerment, excellence, and growth.
3. Multiply Your Efforts through Networking
Tell many people about the specific ways that you can help to meet their needs. For example, instead of saying, "I sell real estate," you might say, "I help low income families find quality, affordable housing in areas where they've always wanted to live." Tell people what makes your service or product special. However, keep your interactions light-hearted and spontaneous. Ask questions that show your interest in the other individual. Make your personality as well as your service memorable.
Compile a list of people with whom you want to work or do business. Attend seminars or workshops and network at every opportunity. If someone does not need your service, he or she might know someone who does. Keep a supply of business cards with you at all times. When you have built a business relationship with someone or gained a satisfied client, ask for referrals. Personal references will bring a large percentage of your business.
4. Communicate Powerfully
When networking or interacting with co-workers, communicate powerfully by remembering three letters: ALC. These stand for Ask-Listen-Clarify. Ask questions to determine the needs and desires of others. Listen empatheticallynot only to hear, but to understand. Then clarify by rephrasing and repeating back what the other individual said. If necessary, rephrase your question and ask additional questions.
Powerful listening is the key to powerful communication. Pay attention to body language. Listen to non-verbal cues that reveal feelings behind spoken messages, and then clarify. Powerful communication will lead to continued career growth, excellence, and satisfaction.
5. Lead with Empathy
No matter what position you hold currently, you are always leading others through your influence. You influence others with your thoughts and actions even if you are not aware of doing so.
Think of three leaders who you admire. What traits and leadership skills do you admire the most in these leaders? This question will reveal your deepest leadership values. Leading with empathy is leading from your deepest values. These values allow you to focus on the strengths of those you lead; they allow you to lead others in ways you would want them to lead you.
6. Maintain Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Fitness
A healthy body helps to maintain a healthy mind and vice versa. Spiritual strength nourishes both the body and mind. Cultivating our faith in God strengthens our resolve to overcome adversities and focus on outcomes rather than roadblocks.
Follow a sound wellness program, get regular physical checkups, and pray or meditate each day. Schedule a daily time for relaxation. Physical, mental, and spiritual fitness contribute to steady growth and maximum excellence in fulfilling our individual purposes.
7. Serve with Love, Faith, and Gratitude
We receive in this life only that which we first give. That includes our thoughts and attitudes. Fill your thoughts with the spirit of love for those you serve. Communicate your deepest gratitude to customers and clients for their trust in you. Show gratitude in special ways that provide more value than expected.
Trust clients and customers to make decisions that are right for them. If you have faith in those you serve, they will have faith in you.
Take this Challenge Now
Make a list of at least twelve different ways you could implement each of these stepping-stones during the next 12 months. Select seven items, one item from each list of twelve. Then put them into action over the next week.
Continue to implement more of your ideas throughout the coming months. Refer back to your list frequently, and write down the changes that you see taking place. You will see positive changes both personally and professionally.
Career growth and excellence contribute significantly to life satisfaction. They require acting with commitment and integrity. We need to set our standards high and continually acquire new knowledge to grow and perform with excellence. People are essential to success, and we must listen deeply to communicate powerfully. Leading others from our deepest values allows us to lead with empathy.
Growth requires physical, mental, and spiritual strength. Love, faith, and gratitude will provide an integral framework for career growth and excellence. Taking deliberate action to excel and grow today will set the process in motion and bring rewarding results throughout the future.
© Copyright 2005 by Steve Brunkhorst. Steve is a professional life success coach, motivational author, and the editor of Achieve! 60-Second Nuggets of Inspiration, a popular mini-zine bringing great stories, motivational nuggets, and inspiring thoughts to help you achieve more in your career and personal life. Get the next issue by visiting http://www.AchieveEzine.com
Illustration by Kevin Van Aelst for The Chronicle Review - Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription)
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