I recently wrote a post over on LinkedIn about the power of Mindful Career Ownership. It’s the idea that, as a business-of-one who is fully responsible for my career success, I must create a business plan to hold myself accountable that will also guide me to achieve what I want.
In my experience, a lot of people out there today are on career autopilot – and it’s costing them a happy professional life. For example, take this quick quiz to see if you are guilty of not being mindful enough in your career:
You find yourself pondering your bad luck and how it has held you back from reaching your career goals. You catch yourself saying, “If only this would happen…”or, “If I could just get…,” and other wistful ideas that would solve all your career problems. You get on social media and feel upset when you see colleagues and friends who have more career success than you. Especially because, deep down, you don’t think they’re that smart or deserve the success they have. You’re convinced you have tried everything you can to get ahead and that your situation is stuck. Your hands are tied and there’s nothing else you can do that might make a positive impact on your situation that doesn’t require outside help (i.e. a lucky break, a gift, etc.), which you can’t seem to get anyone to give you.
If you answered “yes” to even one of the above, then you should be focused on Mindful Career Ownership.
7 Secrets To Mindful Career Ownership
To become more mindful, you need to start with a founding principal: you are not an employee. You’re a business-of-one who is in business to sell your unique combination of personality, skills, and abilities to employers. Once you embrace this fundamental shift in how you should view your career, you can start to unlock the secret of Mindful Career Ownership as follows:
1. Know how you save or make money
A good business owner is mindful of the fact that nobody will buy from them unless they create enough value to justify their cost. You need to be able to clearly articulate to employers how you can save or make them enough money to validate the cost of hiring you. Otherwise, you’re at risk of being replaced by someone who can do it better, faster, or cheaper.
2. Always have some “awesome sauce” for your clients
Companies love to get the best bang for their buck. Employees who come with “awesome sauce” are really businesses-of-one who recognize going above-and-beyond to give a little extra can increase your perceived value. Everyone, especially employers, loves to get more than what they paid for.
3. The first day of your new job is also the first day of planning for your next career move
Once you land a job, you don’t put your career development on the back burner. You need to immediately start planning for the next achievement. The more focused you are on moving forward, the more effective your actions will be in your new job. There’s no standing still for a business-of-one. You must always be thinking about how you will grow and create more value going forward. In the words of my entrepreneurial father, “If your business isn’t growing, it’s dying.” The same applies to careers.
If your business isn’t growing, it’s dying.
4. Never put all your business in one basket
Just because you take a full-time job doesn’t mean you should assume it will be there for as long as you want it. As a business-of-one, you should try to diversify yourself by A) networking within your industry on a regular basis with companies that could use your talents. And B) start a hobby career or some freelance work to ensure you could make money in the event of a sudden loss of income. Both of these actions will ensure you can recover from the unexpected job loss.
5. Set big goals, but keep them ‘under wraps’ initially
Your business-of-one should have clearly defined goals that are slightly beyond what you think is possible. You should stretch yourself to achieve more than you think you can. You need to be challenged. That being said, you shouldn’t announce those goals publicly right away. You need time to fine-tune the game plan and to get things going. Once you are on track and the plan is in motion, then you can selectively start to share your goals with key allies. Don’t tell the world. It only opens you up for criticism and negativity from all those people out there that don’t want you to succeed.
Instead, connect with a core group of peers and mentors who will support you in your efforts. While you’re a business-of-one, you cannot run your business alone. Picking strategic partners is a vital part of the road to success.
6. Practice gratitude conditioning daily
Training your brain to recognize all you have accomplished takes practice. You must commit to meditating for at least 15 minutes each day specifically focused on the wonderful things in your life. More importantly, you should use that time to compliment yourself for doing the tough work it takes to succeed. As a business-of-one, you are the employee and the boss. Be a good manager and take time every day to recognize your progress. You must be internally motivated through positive thinking – which can only come from you.
7. Never stop taking calculated risks
As I pointed out in this LinkedIn article, a big part of career success and getting what you want is consistently trying to hit every opportunity (and challenge!) that comes your way. You must swing at many pitches, most of which won’t be down the middle, knowing much of the time you’ll strikeout.
However, eventually you’ll get better and make contact. As the famous pro hockey player, Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Being a successful business-of-one means you keep taking chances so you can experience, learn, and grow from them. Do it enough times and you’ll see the results you are looking for, whereas if you stop trying, you can virtually guarantee you won’t achieve your career goals.
Are You Ready To Be A True Business-Of-One Owner?
Some of you will read this article and never give it a second thought.
Others, might be kind enough to share it with their friends, fans, and followers on social media, but then it will fade from memory.
Only a few of you will take it to heart and recognize that Mindful Career Ownership is no longer an option, but rather, a requirement for finding the career satisfaction and success you want and deserve.
To those cherished few, I offer some final advice: You will not be able to do this alone. You must seek out resources to help you stay accountable. Otherwise, you will not stick with it long enough to form the habits needed to succeed. Don’t be shy. Don’t be embarrassed by your desire to want more for yourself. It’s not selfish or narcissistic to care about building a more meaningful and successful career.
When you do, you’ll be able to do more for others. You’ll become the person you want to be, and that will give you the power to give back and make a difference. Don’t lose your courage. If reading this made sense, get out there and become truly mindful of what it takes to own your career. You’ll be glad you did!
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