When people focus on career development, they typically look at how to grow their skills and knowledge, factors directly related to their work. Clearly that’s an important piece of the puzzle, but if you want to make the most out of your career, there’s more to it.
Your life is a holistic system. You don’t exist in a work silo, disconnected from everything else. You’re not an automaton, a machine that can punch the clock and automatically work with maximum efficiency till quitting time. What happens in one part of your life effects the others.
That means if you really want to shine in your career, you should expand your career development focus to include other aspects we don’t typically associate directly with career success. Here are a few ways to do that:
No new revelation here. It’s basic common sense. If you fuel your body with nutritious food, you’re going to have more energy to put into the work you do. You’ll have more energy to focus and perform, and more energy to overcome the inevitable obstacles along the way. Your diet is inextricably linked to what you have to offer on the job.
Exercise is another important piece of the puzzle. Not only does it help you stay at the top of your game energetically, it also reduces stress. And the less you are under the thumb of stress, the better you can perform, especially in the long term.
Reach out for support
Your career planning might include mentors and other career guides, but does it include emotional support? Face it. You’re human. That means, among other things, that you have emotions, and emotions can be tricky to navigate in the best of times. Gritting your teeth and sucking it up might be a workable solution to stress, challenging situations, and unhappiness in the short term, but in the long term it’s a toxic recipe. Having people in your life you can turn to for support is vital.
This isn’t about being a self-sacrificing do-gooder. Numerous studies on ways of making a difference ranging from volunteering to donating to charity have shown the positive effects those actions have on us. Some of those positive impacts include greater happiness, reduced stress, and better health. Think any of those might have an impact on what you have to offer on the job?
Do you ever feel like a Catherine Wheel, that firework that spins in circles throwing sparks off in all directions? Do you feel frazzled? Losing energy right and left? Meditating helps as an on-the-fly way to settle down, but it also helps you avoid that scenario entirely. Volumes of research point to the positive impact of meditation, including lower stress and better health.
Think of these areas as creating a framework that lets what you have to offer flow to the fullest extent. The more energized you are, and the less stress you feel, the better you can put your gifts to use towards success, achievement, and fulfillment.
After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book, 101 Ways to Get Wild About, and his E-book, The Occupational Adventure Guide, offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.