Some Rules for Career Success: An Antidote for Career Stagnation!

posted by Dilip on April 23, 2018

“Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.” – Dr. David M. Burns

Now having worked with some 6,500 clients from many countries I’ve tracked the behaviors of those who succeed in their careers. There are some common themes that are shared by all those who have gone on to achieve their goals, many often exceeding them—surprising themselves in the process. So, here is my list of these codified observations—Rules of Success—of those who go on achieve what they set out to conquer (Adapted from 12 Rules for Life: By Jordan B Peterson in the context of my own coaching practice):

  1. Think and act powerful. Stand up straight and radiate confidence.
  2. Don’t assume, ask.
  3. Know what you want and assess how you can get what you want by giving those around you by giving them what they want first. Learn what others want by first understanding their roles, knowing their agendas, and assessing what motivates them. Do not assume that people are motivated by the same factors that you are.
  4. Learn how to communicate well and with purpose. Understand your audience before you decide what means of communication—language usage, tone, metaphors—to be effective in conveying your message. Use your language to inspire others to act in ways that will help you as they benefit from their own actions.
  5. If you cannot manage your boss they cannot manage you. If your boss is managing you, you have lost the battle.
  6. Do not let your peers and associates hijack your agenda. Be vigilant about how they play their games and learn how to leverage their intentions to serve your own agenda. This requires political skill. Do not underestimate political shenanigans in your organization. Politics is an organization’s lifeblood.
  7. Pursue what is purposeful, not what is expedient. Take a long-term view of your career and figure out the right thing to do for yourself and for your organization.
  8. Always be truthful, both to yourself and to those around you.
  9. Growth comes from knowing the truth about yourself and Acknowledging (A) it first, followed by making the Commitment (C) to change, and then following a therapeutic (T) regimen (coaching or mentoring) to making that change. Make ACT your guiding strategy for growing your leadership and your career. About 10% of the clients who come to me to get my guidance for improving their career and life never Acknowledge the truth about themselves and never grow overcome their plight.
  10. Learn about good leadership and learn how to be a good leader. If you are a good leader your followers will only amplify your leadership.
  11. Remember that life and career arcs do not follow a linear progression. Be prepared to face setbacks, defeats (lay-offs, termination), and surprises as you navigate your career with purpose. It is these adversities that forge your learning and your character to be a better leader, so take risks and learn from adversities as you learn what works and what needs working.
  12. Learn how to own and tell your own leadership story (see my blog of April 8).
  13. As you grow give others credit for your success and learn how to be humble, especially when you get to share the spotlight.
  14. Never stop learning.

Good luck!