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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 August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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