Success can be glamorous but the process of succeeding is more about following a productive routine.
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Do you want to be successful in your career? Most people will answer “yes” to this question, but few people actually take the time to consider what they need to do to become successful. They don’t even think about what they could be doing differently to actively improve their career.
Happily, success doesn’t have to be an intangible thing or a roll of the dice. There are specific things that you can do on a daily basis to cultivate a more successful career. Here are my top seven tips for career success:
1. Be willing to work hard.
You may have heard the saying “action follows intention.” This means that before you can even hope to find success in your given field, you need to be ready and willing to do what it takes to get there.
This might sound like a small thing, but just the willingness to work hard can have a powerful impact on your career.
In essence, you’re putting yourself in the right mindset to succeed. When you’re willing to work hard, you’re more likely to proactively do the work necessary to set yourself apart from the pack. As leadership expert Robin Sharma said, “If you want to have the results only 5 percent have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5 percent do and think.”
If you’re not willing to do what it takes, then you really need to ask yourself if you’re on the right path.
2. Set goals.
Goals are incredibly important in helping you attain success. How so?
First off, goals help you define what success means to you. This will be different for everyone. For example, success to one person might mean a CEO position at a Fortune 500 company; for someone else, it might simply mean being able to pay off college loans and support a growing family without debt.
Second, by setting goals based on your definition of success, you instill yourself with a powerful source of motivation. By establishing bigger life goals, you can begin to break them down into more manageable and actionable goals. Simply put, goals help you create your own path.
3. Get a mentor.
Do not underestimate the power of mentorship. Some of the highest achievers in history, from businesspeople to artists to entrepreneurs, have sought out the guidance of a mentor. A mentor is further along in their career than you, and can offer insight, guidance, and advice that is worth its weight in gold.
They have gone through their own process of building a career similar to what you aspire to and can offer sage advice from a place of knowledge that can be particularly relevant to helping you grow. A mentor’s guidance can deter you from taking dead ends in your career and help keep you on track to succeed. While simply having a mentor won’t make or break you, it can absolutely help you attain success faster.
4. Surround yourself with successful people.
We are the sum of the people we spend time with. So if you’re spending time with a crew of your college bros who sit around all day playing video games and eating pizza, do you really think you’re setting yourself up for career success?
If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people who you aspire to be like. Go to networking events, request meetings, and get to know the movers and shakers in your industry and related fields. Not only will they inspire you to improve, but since business is so relationship based, these networking efforts can really open doors.
5. Set a routine.
Plenty of people complain about not having enough time to do all they need to do. Unfortunately, this is generally due to poor time management. While it may not match your ideal of the jet-setting entrepreneur lifestyle, the truth is that success rewards routine. Having a set routine for your day can be extremely helpful in allowing you to complete tasks and pursue high level achievements.
For instance, one common routine of successful people is to wake up early so that they can meditate, answer emails, or work out–basically, so that they can have some quiet time in the beginning of the day so that they can focus on work when it’s time to get going.
What works for you as a routine may depend on various factors such as the industry you work in and other time constraints. But setting a schedule and sticking to it as well as you can generally helps make you more efficient at completing tasks, which can help you succeed in the long term.
6. Have regular check-ins with yourself.
In the workplace, you have yearly reviews. Yet individuals rarely perform such check-in with themselves.
Every now and again — it might be monthly, weekly, or even daily–have a little status report with yourself. Think about things like how you’re doing on working toward your goals, and considering whether you need to adjust your goals so that they continue to inspire and motivate you.
Consider what you could be doing differently or the areas where you could use some improvement. By taking the time to be present with yourself like this, you’ll develop a better sense of self awareness and direction in your career.
7. Always keep improving.
Never, ever settle for just good enough. If you want to be successful in your career, you have to commit to self improvement.
No, this doesn’t mean you have to be constantly self critical. While it’s important to be kind to yourself, you also have to be able to admit where you could use a little work, and to be willing to take the action needed to strengthen your weaknesses.
By continuing to learn and grow, not only will you be a more well rounded employee or entrepreneur, but you’ll also remain more mentally flexible and be better able to deal with changes and advances as they come. Since the only real constant is change, this is a valuable practice!