If you want to be successful in your career over the long term, you should first focus on how to be successful in your current occupation. Sometimes that means going back to the basics and focusing on a few key principles that have stood the test of time. By adopting these principles, you can increase your chances of being a standout at work and in life.
1. Work Hard. All of the other tips are useless unless you are committed to working hard. Always give your best effort. Treat every day as if it's the most important day of your life, be thorough and be prepared to go above and beyond what's asked of you. Instead of hoping to become successful, make success happen. Successful people are anything but lazy.
2. Have Discipline. If you are the type of person who needs 8 hours of sleep every night, make sure you get it. If you know you really shouldn't hang out with your friends tonight because tomorrow is an important day at the office, then don't. True discipline is having the inner strength to consistently make the best choices in the many small decisions you're faced with every day. At work, be sure to stay on tasks, maintain deadlines and be responsible. It may sound simple, but it's easy to get distracted by co-workers, emails and Facebook. Create a routine that you can manage and allows you to be a stellar employee.
3. Have a Positive Attitude. Instead of complaining about your workload or the people you work with, look at each problem as an opportunity to learn problem solving skills. Even if you don't like your co-workers on a personal level, remember that you are all there to get a job done and complaining about them will not help anyone, including yourself. It's also hard to advance at your job when your boss thinks of you as the person who is always complaining.
4. Be Understanding. When dealing with supervisors, co-workers or customers, conflicts can arise and it can be frustrating when you feel like you have a point of view that isn't being listened to. Fight the urge to be understood and instead be the one who is doing the understanding. You will find this helps to build good relationships with those around you, and you can head off problems before they start. People are much more likely to try to understand you if you take the time to listen to and acknowledge their needs. Supervisors are also more likely to consider you for a promotion or raise if you are seen as a good listener and problem solver.
5. Be Proactive. This means that instead of always reacting to problems, make sure those problems never occur. If you see something that might be a problem, instead of hoping for the best, take steps to head it off before it becomes a big issue. Most of the time, it's easier to be proactive than to deal with something that has already become a problem. Employers also like employees who think ahead and who come up with good ideas. If you know that certain tasks will need to be done, don't sit at your desk and wait for someone to assign the task to you. Instead, jump in and come up with an action plan that you can share with your supervisor before he or she approaches you to do the task. An employee who can anticipate and meet a supervisor's needs is invaluable.
These are lessons learned from experience and from many successful individuals, in life and at work. If you observe any successful person you know, you will likely see that person applying these core principles in their work life. By applying them yourself, you can join the club and become a highly productive employee who is firmly on track to achieve amazing career success.