How often do you hear someone say “I’m going to be (or am at present) great at my job”, yet when you begin to peel back the onion we learn the difference between being great professionally in the spoken word is often VERY different than being great in action and execution.
Why is this? For starters, it’s easy to say we want to be great in our career, achieving success along the way. Make lots of money, have the prestigious title, corner office and be free in all sense of the word.
What isn’t so easy or talked about enough is what it actually takes to be successful in a career. It’s also worth noting that success can be very different from one person to the next.
Behind the scenes, successful careers always have three things in common:
1. failure and set backs
2. strong work ethic
The reason why there is a discrepancy between the ‘talk and action’ paradigm to a successful career is it just isn’t easy to be successful. If it was easy to be great in your career, reaching monumental levels, everyone would do it. Yet, the reality is not everyone is interested in putting in that kind of work ethic or commitment, regardless of what their mouths may say.
Of the three commonalities which make up a successful career the one I’ve found to be most influential is #3: SUPPORT. Most people who have reached success in their career will tell you they didn’t do it alone; what is common is to hear these people talk about others who have influenced them, guided them and been a shoulder to cry on during the hard times.
Want to become unstoppable in your career? Get a MENTOR!
No matter where you are in your career having a mentor is highly advisable as it can be the difference between you navigating the waters of a successful career versus drowning in the murky depths of the rat race. Mentors aren’t just strategic career advisers, they’re the professional voice of reason whispering notes of encouragement, big picture perspective and even accountability.
Mentors provide highly valuable insight and support to professionals of all ages, such as:
1. Business savvy
2. External perspective
3. Confidant (listener/ sounding board)
5. Comfort zone demolishers
Key Take Away: Mentors have the ability to guide you through the peaks and valleys of your career while providing you with insight that will help make important career-based decisions.
Action Item: Put together a list of the attributes you would like to get help with in your professional career and the ideal type of person that could help you with it. Check out www.micromentor.org for access to thousands of professionals interested in getting connected with you to help guide you on your professional journey. Micromentor is a non-profit organization that acts like an online dating service paring people who are interested in mentoring with people who need a mentor. I’ve been connected with a mentor now for almost 3 years and it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my professional career.
About the Author
Travis Smith is the founder and managing director of Square-1 Engineering, a life sciences consulting firm, providing end to end technical project services to companies which design, develop and or manufacture products in Southern California. He successfully served the life sciences marketplace in SoCal for over 15 years specializing in engineering services, consulting, project outsourcing and leadership development. In 2019 he was recognized as a ‘40 Under 40’ honoree by the Greater Irvine Chamber of Commerce as a top leader in Orange County, CA.