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What is success? It’s a funny word - one whose definition varies, both from personal and company perspectives. It can also be a frustrating goal, as there’s not one sure-fire way to achieve it. However, there are some ways you can lead yourself to being successful in the workplace. One way to guarantee success is by being hands-on in the workplace. By stepping up and handling tasks on your own, you allow yourself to be in full control of the outcome.
This month we delve into the “how-to’s” of being successful and standing out in the workplace. Methods of success rely on personal preference, so there’s many different ways to go about chasing it. The key is to consider your situation and adapt to methods you find yourself interested in.
If you’re anything like me, thinking about the “post-grad” life is absolutely terrifying. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be quite so scary. We’ve discussed the important of networking before, but for graduating college seniors it can often be difficult knowing where to begin and who to include.
Allison Cheston, a New York-based career advisor, says seniors should consider utilizing classmates, professors or college alumni as the first members of their networking constellation. If you’re a member of a fraternity or sorority, or a member of a club sports team, she says you should consider those affiliations as well.
When you do reach out, she advises, above all, be precise.
“Ask for specific help. This is not the time to throw a lot of detail at people, or indicate that you are “open to anything”. Instead, provide 2-3 job titles and up to 10 companies, and ask your contacts if they know anyone at those companies.”
It’s important to enlist your contacts in your network, especially when you’re just starting about. Life is all about connections and you never know who knows who!
Everybody wants to be successful, but not everybody knows where to begin. Often times, success is painted as a drastic, life-changing decision that flips your world upside down. Not only can that idea sound entirely overwhelming, achieving true success can actually be a lot simpler!
Robin Madell, a writer for US News & World Report, provides seven small habits that can lead to success in the workplace ranging from controlling attitude to focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses. As she puts it in this article:
“There's your job, and then there's how you go about doing your job. While your position itself (and how well it fits with your expertise and passion) certainly plays a role in your career success, your routines and rituals in the office can also affect your happiness and productivity. This includes what you do before and after work, as well as during your workdays.”
If you’re in need of some inspiration in your workplace, trying switching up your routine a little bit with some of her suggestions, which range from “control your attitude” to “make better eating choices.” Changes don’t have to be big to be productive.
Now if you’re looking to stand out at your job, (whether as a new employee, or one who wishes to be promoted) it can often be difficult to know how to go about it without coming off as “pushy” or a “try-hard.” Ghostwriter Jeff Haden, writing on LinkedIn’s blog, touches on several important factors that may help you get noticed, some as big as “be first with a purpose,” and some are even as small as “showing your personal side.” But Haden writes that the best way to stand out is simply to work the hardest.
“Nothing – nothing – is a substitute for hard work. Look around: How many people are working as hard as they can? Very few. The best way to stand out is to out-work everyone else. It's also the easiest way, because you'll be the only one trying.”
Work ethic is everything- and it’s a surefire way to impress your new boss!
Striving for success can be frustrating, especially if your self-measured progress is small. If you’ve read any of the cliché online tips in hope for some motivation, you are definitely not alone. But it’s very important to remember that other old cliché, that “success is in the eye of the beholder.” Someone’s “perfect” tip may not work for you - and that’s okay! Branding specialist and content strategist Betsy Mikel, writing for Inc. magazine, says these “misguided” tips can often be detrimental.
“The hacks and suggestions that live within every ‘things that successful people do’ article are not proven. That's just what those people, who happen to be successful, do. No study puts forth evidence that waking up three hours earlier will guarantee you'll have a more productive day. Sure, a bunch of rich entrepreneurs do just that. But many of them also don't.”
She also writes the importance of not comparing yourself to other people.
“Success is a slippery word. It means different things to different people. There's not an agreed-upon benchmark we can use to apply to all success stories. While we can generally agree that people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates are successful, they've got different lives than us. Different priorities. Different personalities. Different motivations. That means they've likely made trade-offs and taken actions on their paths to success that simply don't align with what we might do in similar situations.”
In short, sometimes the best thing we can do to ensure our own success is to do what’s best for us.
~Katie Woo, communications assistant, ASU Alumni Association