When work starts to slow down during the summer, it's the perfect time to stop being bored and to kickstart your career into overdrive through self-improvement.
If you need an inspiration intervention, billionaire entrepreneurs such as Oprah Winfrey, who came from next to nothing and made it to the top, are the perfect solution. These self-made billionaires offer actionable advice that you can use to take your career and success to the next level, no matter where you are on the totem pole.
Start sprinkling their advice into your routine today, and be amazed at how far they eventually take you:
1. "The best investment you can make is in your own abilities. Anything you can do to develop your own abilities or business is likely to be more productive." --Warren Buffett
Treat your career as a business and yourself as your main product. You can't sell a product that's not appealing to consumers. In the same way, you can't win your dream job if you don't invest in yourself. Think of ways that will help you become more marketable, and do them for just five hours a week. Take classes, obtain a certification or degree, get that power suit, or learn a helpful language. Any enhancement gets you closer to your dreams.
2. "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." --Steve Jobs
Quite simply, going up the corporate ranks (or starting a billion-dollar business) does not happen to people who are comfortable with the status quo. Leaders constantly think of new ways to make situations better and are not afraid of going against the norm and leaving their comfort zone.
To start, every morning, make a list of what you can do to shake up the status quo and scare yourself slightly with a step towards improvement and innovation. Even if it doesn't work every time, it'll be a steppingstone towards bold success eventually.
3. "I'm always looking for the right person to solve a problem. I only have so much time." --Meg Whitman
With a net worth of $2.2 billion, Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman may be the supreme power that steers her company as the captain of the ship--but she also knows how to delegate. Being able to hand a project to able hands can help you devote your limited time to more urgent matters that require your ultimate focus and strength. You don't need to be the savior of the world. Tap into your team's or co-workers' strengths and together you all become an essential part of your company's success.
4. "Failure is another steppingstone to greatness." --Oprah Winfrey
The stats don't lie. Some 80 to 90 percent of startups encounter failure on their first try, and most of them give up not knowing that success could be sweeter the second time around. If you think like media mogul Oprah Winfrey (whose net worth is valued at $3.1 billion), starting with nothing and failing subsequently are not a hindrance to success but a steppingstone.
Make a list of your goals, the ones you think have failure written all over them, and make a calendar to do them one at a time. If you fail, mark the date and resume your mission. Come back to your list after two to four months and find out how many you have accomplished. You may be surprised at how many opportunities you've wasted just because you thought you wouldn't be able to achieve them.
5. "My father had lost his eyesight, so if we placed something somewhere, it had to be in the right spot, exactly, or something could go wrong. That's the attention to detail I demand at the workplace." --Zhou Qunfei
Being committed to perfection seems harsh, but sometimes that's the thin line standing between your dream and its realization. Zhou Qunfei is the richest self-made woman in the world today for a reason. She works hard and demands nothing but the best from herself and her team. She started as a factory worker in an impoverished province in China and has no trouble going hands-on in her own factory to get everything done right.
Think of yourself as Ms. Zhou going over your career as your factory. Be vigilant, pay attention to detail, and constantly be on the lookout for areas that could use improvement. Even better, get a co-worker or team member to look over your work. Nobody's perfect, but that doesn't mean your work can't be.
6. "The biggest risk is not taking any risk.... In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks." --Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook would not have been what it is today if Zuckerberg and his colleagues did not have the guts to pursue their idea to connect the world through social media--which back then was not just revolutionary, it also seemed impossible. Similarly, if you don't push your ideas and become your own cheerleader, you're shying away from what could potentially propel your career to where you want it to be. If you've been keeping your brilliant ideas inside your head from your colleagues, it's time to start taking smart risks.
7. "If you're changing the world, you're working on important things. You're excited to get up in the morning." --Larry Page
Google would not have facilitated today's need for faster and more convenient access to information if co-founder Larry Page did not get up excited every day until his dream to make Google a household name became a reality.
I know that the chance to make a positive difference every day wakes me up more than the strongest cup of coffee ever will. Even if you're not running a company, find that positive change you can make every day to energize and motivate you. If you're grasping at straws, take those first steps towards finding the job that makes you excited every single day.