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Have a Fun and Amazing Career in 9 Easy Steps

Have a Fun and Amazing Career in 9 Easy Steps

When you think about how much time you spend at work, it can be staggering: 45-plus years, at least 11,250 work days, and over 90,000 hours make up an average career. It’s absolutely vital that you love what you do. Have a fun and amazing career by following these 9 easy steps.

1. Do what you love.

Easier said than done, but the best way to have a fun and amazing career is to do what you love. While playing video games or surfing Facebook might not pay the bills, you can focus on a career that offers you the opportunity to do things you love everyday. Finding that spark, that something special that gets you to jump out of bed and happily go to work is the difference between a boring job and an exciting career.

You’ll never love everything about your job. But if you base your career on things you love, you can make any job a fun, exciting career.

2. Love what you do.

Every child picks a career that he or she thinks is the most fun, interesting, or intriguing. The reasons vary significantly. Why a fireman? Because they drive a big truck. Why a police officer? Because they wear a badge. Why a princess? Because the dress is so pretty.

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As we grow up, these reasons seem, well, childish. But there’s something important to learn from your four-year-old self. There’s something special, interesting, and unique about your chosen career. Find it. Or maybe remember what drew you to it. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and find the great aspects of what we do and remember why we did it in the first place.

Whether you spent four years of college honing your skills for a particular career or simply responded to a want ad from the newspaper, remember the reasons you chose what you do and do more of those things. And if that’s impossible? Find a place where you can flourish. When you find and focus on the things you love, you’ll have a much more fun and amazing career.

3. Laugh. Find the positives in the chaos.

In nearly every workplace there are people who love and hate what they are doing. It’s the same job, same people, same space, but drastically different levels of happiness. The difference? Often times it’s the ability to laugh and find the humor in your daily duties. Find reasons to laugh at work. When things undoubtably go wrong, find the positives. A happy, healthy culture can be established by how you deal with problems. Take them seriously. Learn from them. But take the time to laugh.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remember those 90,000 hours from before? When you spend that much time doing anything there’s going to be problems. How you react to those problems will be a huge factor in loving your career and having fun at work. Find the positives and learn to let the small things go.

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Just like tiny cracks in a dam, the small things can add up to disaster. Fix the problems that can be fixed and forget the problems that don’t matter. An amazing career needs a great foundation and relies on everyone to do their part.

5. Love your co-workers… or at least find common ground.

The idea is simple. The people you spend time with matter. If you have the power, hire great people. If you don’t, make a conscious effort to get along with the people who work along side you. You may have different styles, beliefs, and values. Find the common ground and focus on those things. Come together through the work. Stay positive and stay out of the mud-slinging that creeps into the workplace.

Bad relationships with your co-workers can quickly derail any career. By focusing on creating and maintaining real, honest relationships with your co-workers and finding where you have common ground, you can limit stress and have an amazing career.

6. Take chances.

Complacency is the enemy of innovation. Never be afraid to go against the grain and take a chance, but don’t make change for change sake. Prepare, research, and understand your decision. Spend the time to ensure you’ve looked at each angle and come to a decision that you will not regret. And then boldly, confidently take the chance. When your decisions are rooted in self-awareness, you can be bold, take chances, and not regret your decisions. Serve the world in a big way and you will reap the benefits as well.

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7. Think big. No, bigger. Now develop a plan to get there.

You have, within you, the ability to do great things. Find ways to un-tap your potential by thinking big. Develop your goals for your career and shoot high. Make goals that seem out of your reach. And then develop a plan to make them happen. Big dreams are accomplished every day. The key is breaking down this big, hairy, audacious goal into bite-sized chunks that you can accomplish.

When you have a road-map to your end-goal, it makes the daily grind to get there much more fun. Instead of slogging through another day at the office, you are building towards your end goal. If you stay on the path, and regularly redefine your goals to keep things fresh, you can truly have an amazing career.

8. Choose your battles wisely.

Be strong in your opinions. But be humble and wise when delivering them. Think about what you believe, understand your views, and develop keen understanding of what you find important and what you are willing to compromise. By planning ahead and challenging your own views, you can choose which battles to fight, and which to concede. Compromise is a vital ability to a successful, amazing career, but so too is standing your ground. By planning ahead, you can make the right decision and understand your positions.

9. Be the best.

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest. Be the best. When you’re the best at what you do, a rewarding career will follow. Take time to hone your craft. Be diligent. Seek the help you need to be the best. Doors will open when you’re the best at your craft and an amazing, fun career will follow.

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You’re career will be a long, winding road, with numerous peaks and valleys. You have the ability to have a fun and amazing career. Go out and make it happen.

Featured photo credit: paul bica via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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