I often get asked what extra things a young professional can do to "get ahead." I had a mentor early on in my career who said to me: Do these things, and with your abilities, you'll have most of everything you'll want by the time you're 35 and a career you'll love. He was right.
1. Be the first one in the office occasionally.
2. Be the last one in the office occasionally.
3. Read. A lot.
4. Don't restrict yourself to "work hours."
5. Make friends with people who have a great work ethic and optimistic attitudes.
6. Be humble.
7. Have fun with your job. No one ever accuses an artist or performer or musician or athlete of working too much because they have passion for their careers. You can bring that to the "traditional" work world, too. He also said the feeling you get from accomplishing something in your career will give you confidence in every part of your life. He was right. When you allow yourself to love working and you make friends with your teammates, great things happen.
Another one I picked up over the years:
8. Spend 30-60 minutes on Sunday doing the following:
- Make a list of three tangible accomplishments for the coming week.
- Read one chapter/article written by someone SUCCESSFUL. Someone who has "done it."
- Write a few notecards or letters to someone you met or communicated with recently. An old fashioned thank you. (If you don't have people to write to, you've identified a tangible goal to accomplish this week!)
Organize. Learn. Execute. There's a lot of noise out there, but basic things get lost as people want instant gratification. These are extras, not in lieu of emails, projects, etc. Little things add up.
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