Defining success on your terms
The promotion-chasing cycle It's hard to know how to make the best choices for your career growth. We can become wrapped up in chasing the top of the ladder without giving enough thought to whether we really want this. We can be dogged about being rewarded with promotion, without considering if this is the right company for us to grow within. We can idolise becoming part of the management without really evaluating if that will give us the fulfilment we seek.
All too often people prioritise their need for recognition and the short-term hit of success in a new job title, without fully understanding where true fulfilment lies. I've seen many clients get caught up in this cycle because this is the way it's always been. The higher up the ladder you go, the more successful you are, and the happier you are. But what if there are alternatives?
Getting priorities right for career growth
These days there are so many ways in which we can make progress in our careers. The idea of climbing the ladder to management or leadership isn't the only definition of success. In fact, we don't even need to go up to grow. We can zig-zag our way around to make, potentially, even more progress than we'd hoped. But to do this we need to know what kind of success we are seeking first.
There are many different versions of what success can mean to people these days. It's important to acknowledge that this is personal. Don't fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. It's your life and you get to own what successful looks and feels like.
Are you clear on what your priorities are? It's worth spending time really understanding what it is that you want from your work and then revisiting what that means for how you think about career growth priorities. Looking at the whole picture will bring you fresh clarity and will challenge you, to be honest about what you really want.
Pay attention to culture fit
I'm a big fan of staying true to your values. Being a square peg in a round hole is painful for you and not effective for the business. We need to feel aligned with what the company is about, how it works, what it stands for. If we're battling with our fit on a daily basis, we're in a losing game.
So, first thing - your fit with the company. Do you feel proud of the company, the work, its people? If you don't you might want to check in with yourself on whether you are chasing growth in the right place. It's not uncommon for a misfit in values to really get in the way of your progress. If the things that make you wonderful and talented just aren't valued by the business you are in, it's time to ask yourself why. It's not you, it's them. Don't plug away at a place that doesn't value you.
I recently came across this awesome woman, Patty McCord - http://pattymccord.com - who masterminded the progressive work culture at Netflix. She talks about a new idea of job security which is about being in a place that nurtures growth. I loved the concept that the best growth happens when our work-place gives us a safe place to grow, to learn, to point out our blind spots and be honest with feedback and praise. This is growth that happens when companies are grown up about letting their people be involved in their growth too, so they are progressing in ways that matter most to them.
If you're geeky like me about these things, then check out her talking more about this - https://www.reboot.io/episode/76-powerful-way-working-patty-mccord/