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Is Someone Else Driving Your Career?

If you’re feeling stuck, or unable to reach the next level, it is tempting to blame external forces. Management doesn’t recognize your value. A less qualified candidate got the job. A key decision-maker doesn’t like you. Reasons such as these protect you from any personal responsibility, but they also strip you of your power.

When you make others responsible for your lack of career success, you place your fate in their hands. Instead of controlling your own destiny, you are now at the mercy of the boss who doesn’t like you, or the manager who just doesn’t understand how great you are. If you want to be successful, you need to drive your own career.

The first step is to take an honest look at yourself. Begin by considering your strengths. What do you do well? How do you differentiate yourself from those around you? What is your value to the organization? You need to be crystal clear about your unique value proposition so that you can effectively communicate this to others.

Next, examine your weaknesses. How could you be more effective in your job? Do you need to build stronger relationships with other leaders? Are internal obstacles, such as lack of confidence, or a bad attitude, holding you back?

Once you’ve identified some of the areas you need to address, develop a plan to make improvements. If there are gaps in your skillset, take steps to fill those gaps. If you’re not as connected as you should be, focus on building stronger relationships. If your attitude could use an adjustment, think about how you can convey a more positive image.

When you begin to take personal responsibility for your own career, you empower yourself to move forward. Unlike external forces, you can control the steps you take to best position yourself for the next opportunity. In the process, you build confidence and accountability, which are crucial for career success.

If you’re not driving your own career, then someone else is determining your career direction. It’s time to get behind the wheel!

Are you driving your own career, or is someone else controlling your destiny?

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