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Move Your Career Forward

By Judith Lindenberger, MBA and Marian Stoltz-Loike, Ph.D.

If you are like most people, you lead a busy life. When do you have time to think about moving your career forward? When making any change, the key is to slow down and focus on just one thing at a time.

You must evaluate the different aspects of your life, concentrating on discovering what best suits you. Discover what jobs you are best at, what kind of work environment brings out your star qualities, and how you react in networking and interview situations. Discovering the real you will help establish a strategy for career growth.

No matter what career issues you desire to improve, below are seven strategies to help you focus on your career goals.

1. Ask a powerful question.

Ask yourself one burning question about your career. Use this question to drive the rest of your strategy. Is your question, Should I change careers?, Should I start my own business?, How do I learn office politics?, Who would be an excellent mentor for me?, or the age old query, What do I want to do with my life?

2. Get focused.

Get as specific as you can, and then, write your burning question down. For instance don’t simply ask; What do I want to do with my life? Instead ask; What do I want to accomplish by the time I am sixty years old? Put your question somewhere you will see it every day such as on your appointment book, your calendar or your refrigerator.

3. Remove distractions.

Do something that will reduce your stress. Career change is tough; managing it requires that you remain focused. Consider taking up yoga, getting a massage or exercising. Replace worry, avoidance, procrastination and denial with emotional and physical well-being.

Eliminate nonessential busy work that hinders you from reaching your goals. Leave this type of work for later, grouping similar tasks together, hiring someone else to do it, or giving it up altogether.

4. Learn from others.

Most burning questions have been asked by others before you. Find out how others have answered burning questions for themselves, and study the lessons they learned to shorten your path. You can do this by reading about famous people, speaking to people where you work, or acquiring a mentor.

5. Think creatively.

Take a non-conventional approach to answering your burning question. We know one entrepreneur who took an acting class when developing her business mission statement because she wanted to learn how to listen to her inner truthful voice. A customer service professional took up knitting because she found that quiet handwork helped her listen to her customers more closely over the phone. What would help you answer your burning question?

6. Be ready.

Once you have put your powerful question out into the world, and are focused on it, people and situations will present themselves to you. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to learn more.

7. Evaluate.

Last, set a date to evaluate your progress. Keep doing what is working. Stop doing what is not working. Ask others for feedback on how you have done. Re-evaluate: Is your question still relevant? Or will another burning question help further your career goals?

By slowing down, and focusing your energies on one specific goal, you will move your career forward – one step at a time.

Copyright © 2015 by The Lindenberger Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

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