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Published on March 11, 2019

The Only Way a Short Term Career Goal Will Lead You to Your Dream Job

The Only Way a Short Term Career Goal Will Lead You to Your Dream Job

Ask the question “Do you want to score your dream job, one where you build your career on something which you are passionate about and get paid your true worth?”

And I’m betting just about anyone will respond with a boisterous “You bet, I’m in!”

Where the rubber meets the road, however, is finding out exactly how to make that happen — to make short term career goals that lead to your dream job.

So what should this short term goal about?

Step 1: Playing to Your Strengths

Most career advice you’ll come across is quite terrible. Pass out cards. Develop a LinkedIn profile. Use high-quality resume paper. Get referral letters.

That nonsense stops right here, right now.

When it comes to landing your dream job, you cannot afford to be casual or cavalier. A successful approach demands that you be intentional and actively manage your choices in such a way that…

You place yourself where you can make the greatest contribution.

You learn to develop yourself and embrace both self-reliance and initiative.

You remain flexible, adaptive and mentally alive during your pursuit.

You have to learn how and when to change what you do, how you do it and when you do it. Simply put, you must know your core strengths so that you know where you belong!

Step 2: Strengthening Your Core Goals

A dream job means spending time doing the things that you love to do and are great at. This brings you increased energy, increased confidence, and the ability to create more value for others, which will lead to more productive and rewarding relationships.

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Each of us is completely unique and if ever we are to give a gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our Core Strengths.

Fewer things are sadder than watching a person with potential waste away in work that makes little use of their Core Strengths. Work can be one of your greatest sources of success and fulfillment. Yet, too often, the opposite is true.

To achieve success with fulfillment, it is critical that your dream job taps your Core Strengths and pays you for what you naturally love to do.

For the great majority of people, to know their strengths was irrelevant only a few decades ago. One was born into a job and into a line of work. The farmer’s son became a farmer. If he was not good at being a farmer, he failed.

The artisan’s son was similarly going to be an artisan, and so on. But today the game has changed, we all have choices as to the work we do. Which means we therefore have to know our strengths so that we can know where we belong.

There is only one way to find out:

The After-Action Review

The after-action review is your feedback analysis as well as the best resource you’ll ever have for landing the job of your dreams. Allow me to explain how it works:

Whenever you make a key decision, and whenever you engage in a key action or project, you must determine and document what you expect will happen.

And overtime, you then analyze and review back from actual results to intended expectations. Several action conclusions follow from the after-action review.

1. Concentrate on your strengths.

Place yourself where your strengths can produce consistent performance and results.

2. Work on improving your strengths.

The feedback gained from the after-action review rapidly shows you where you need to improve skills or where you must acquire new knowledge.

It will show you where skills and knowledge are no longer adequate and have to be updated. It will also show the gaps in your knowledge.

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3. Identify the areas where intellectual arrogance causes disabling ignorance.

The feedback and information gained from the after action review soon identifies the areas where intellectual arrogance causes disabling ignorance.

Far too many people —and especially people with high knowledge in one area—are contemptuous of knowledge in other areas or believe that being “bright” is a substitute for knowing.

4. Waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence.

Remember, concentration should always be on areas of high competence and high skill.

It takes far more energy and far more work to improve from incompetence to low mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence and then to preeminence.

And yet most people—and equally most teachers and most organizations—tend to concentrate on improving weaknesses. Don’t bother because if you invest your time working on your weaknesses, all you end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses.

Your energy and resources—and time—should instead go into making yourself into a superstar performer. Focus on making your strengths productive, dominate and profitable, as you cannot build on weakness.

To achieve superior results, you must use all of the available strengths – the strengths of associates, the strengths of your superior, and your own strengths. These strengths are the true opportunities…the highest and best use of your time.

Step 3: Your Core Strengths Will Set You Free

Your Core Strengths comprise of four foundational pillars. They represent the guiding principles on which your ability to maximize your performance is based and which your dream job is built upon.

Use the following acronym to uncover your Core Strengths:

Confidence

Core Strengths provide an indomitable feeling of confidence in your ability to produce and deliver quality, and consistent results. You possess the internal faith and belief that you can and will be successful.

In what areas are you most confident in your abilities to succeed?

Optimism

Core Strengths are saturated with an attitude of optimism. Optimism is a general disposition to expect the best possible outcome in a given situation. It is the belief that your future will contain outcomes, which you desire.

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Optimists are people who believe that through positive action in their communities, business and personal life that they can create a better tomorrow.

In what areas of your life are you most optimistic about creating greater value?

Relaxation

Core Strengths operate best in a relaxed state. The word relaxed has a lot to do with being unaffected, easy, spontaneous and operating in flow.

Once you can tap your Core Strengths, you will enjoy a mental state of quietness, calmness, serenity, and happiness. Time will pass quickly, and you work will feel more like play.

In what areas do you enjoy the greatest state of relaxation and a wonderful sense of flow?

Enthusiasm

Core Strengths are driven by boundless enthusiasm. It’s an inspiring zeal that delivers inspiring results as nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.

Your passion, desire and hunger about being involved in something of importance will unleash your Core Strengths.

In what areas are you the most enthusiastic and passionate?

Few things are professionally more fulfilling than doing work that you are extremely good at, turned-on about and fully invested in.

It’s an incredible feeling when what you’re good at and excited about enables you to make a contribution that truly adds value. The result is meaningful success.

Deep down we all want to be involved in work that matters, that has meaning, that is memorable, and if we’re really lucky, work that changes the world. Compelling work stimulates an emotional investment in everyone. They’re the things from which legends and legacies are made.

Be mindful…if the project you’re working on now is not fueling a powerful emotional investment…you should transform it, reframe it, and redefine it until you fall in love with it.

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Bonus: Teamwork Makes Your Dream Job Work

It means that you can focus on your Core Strengths by finding a team to support you.

Some of the best examples of people focusing on their Core Strengths are in the field of sports and entertainment.

In these industries, structures are set up to ensure that top performers can focus on what they do best — performing and strengthening their core.

For example, a professional golfer has a whole team of people around him or her who provide the support they need to focus on staying at the top of their game.

They don’t carry the clubs, nor do they manage their travel schedule. A professional golfer plays golf — period!

Learn to delegate the things at which you are incompetent, competent, and good, to people who possess their own Core Strengths in these areas.

Surrounded by people working in their own Core Strengths, you can focus on what you do best and enjoy the most.

Final Thoughts

You cannot and will not ever overcome the weaknesses with which each of us is abundantly endowed. But you can make them irrelevant.

That’s why your challenge in landing your dream job is to strengthen your core skill sets and use them as a building block and launch pad for delivering a superior performance.

You must make deliberate choices and set clear goals to structure work to enable your strengths and to make your weaknesses inconsequential.

Weaknesses will always present, but to focus on them is to focus on what cannot be done.

Focusing on strength leads to a focus on performance and driving superior results…and at the end of the day your dream job will help you to deliver a life-time of results.

More Resources About Career Success

Featured photo credit: Jonathan Farber via unsplash.com

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Gary Ryan Blair

Growth Hacking Aficionado I Creator of 100 Day Challenge

The Only Way a Short Term Career Goal Will Lead You to Your Dream Job

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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