How to Create and Work Towards Your Career
by Erin Suess
“What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential
ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and
be a member of the team”-Benjamin F. Fairless
Are you satisfied in your career work? If so what is it that makes you happy? If you are not satisfied
what do you think is the cause of your discontent? Are there any professional development steps
you are taking or would like to take in order to create the change you are looking for? Are there
opportunities that exist within your organization that would help give you the satisfaction you are
The above questions are reflection inquiries to help generate some ideas regarding how you feel
about your current work environment or situation. If you are looking for a change either in your
current work environment or in a completely different field below are some steps you can take to
help create the vision you desire and work toward that vision.
First and foremost, identify what you want. Is it a promotion, more responsibility, a different position
within your company, more money, a new job in a different career field, to improve your skills, to
better your relationships at work etc? Whatever your thoughts are you will need to make it concrete
and clarify what EXACTLY it is you want. Write it down, journal about it, and ponder some questions
• What do I want in my life?
• What is it to have a full, rich life?
• What is it to live in alignment with my values?
• What makes me happy or brings joy to my life?
Now, once you figure out what it is you want you must be specific in identifying your goals. For
example, if you want to better your skills in the workplace what type of skills are you going to focus
on: communication, leadership, teambuilding etc? Then let’s say you choose to work on your
communication skills. You will want to break it down even further; what type of communication
skills are you looking to improve? Is it speaking or writing? What steps are you going to take to
improve these goals? List your goals. If you are looking to improve your speaking skills some
goals may consist of:
• Volunteer to speak at the next team meeting
• Join an organization to help improve communication skills (such as toastmasters)
• Practice speaking in front of others or role play conversations you may encounter in larger
groups (relevant topics)
• Find a mentor to help evaluate your speaking abilities
• Volunteer for projects that may incorporate speaking in front of large groups
Now that you have set specific goals you must set specific timeframes in accomplishing your
goals. For example, some goals may require completion dates by the end of the month such as
April 30th. Other goals such as acquiring more education or training may require longer
timeframes (months, years). Either way, long-term and short-term goals will need specific dates
and timelines for completing certain tasks. Be sure to choose realistic dates taking into
consideration other things going on in your life. You want to have challenging goals to shoot for but
you do not want goals so lofty that it is impossible to reach.
Another key ingredient in working toward your vision is to surround yourself with supportive people
and environments. Make people aware of your goals and ask them to help keep you on track.
Choose people who you know will push you a little bit further than you would do on your own. If you
are trying to improve your communication skills make sure you notify your boss and in return
he/she may look for opportunities to help better your skills.
A supportive environment is another important tool in creating success. Be sure you have the
opportunity to physically get into a space that allows you to practice your speaking. Reserve a
conference room, appoint a quiet room at home that is designated solely for this purpose, and be
sure you have access to other environments that allow you practice your communication skills.
Another point to mention regarding environments is to not always think of them as being physical.
Many times environments can be a feeling in the atmosphere instead of an actual physical space.
So be sure you have a supportive atmosphere where you can take risks in order to better your
Last but certainly not least, make sure you celebrate your successes along the way. It is important
to take time out to recognize your progress and mark your achievement of certain milestones. Have
fun and reward yourself as well as your supporters. Not only will you find this motivating but it will
also give you an opportunity to reflect on all that you have accomplished. Celebrating your success
will give you the energy you need to continue on your path of achieving great things!
All in all, there are several steps to take in creating success achievements. To only visualize your
achievements will not bring you the results you hoped for. It is vital to create your vision AND take
the necessary steps such as setting goals, establishing deadlines, creating supportive
environments and celebrating your successes to design the live you want.
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