Today I’d like to take a look at the Career Ladder. For a long time that’s how we defined success, one rung, one title, and (hopefully) one raise at a time. It was a straight forward progression, well defined and easily understood. No matter where we stood, our eye was invariably on that next rung. That ladder defined ours goals which in turn defined our success.
Well, anyone who is ‘out there’ knows how much things are changing. With management structures being flattened, there isn’t always a next rung to reach for. Luckily, the reality of success is that it isn’t something fixed. It isn’t rungs on a ladder, and it certainly isn’t carved in stone.
Quite the opposite.
The reality is that we each get to define our own goals. If you’re defining your own goals, you’re also creating your own definition of success. And this, if you’re willing to give it some thought, can be extremely rewarding.
You may need to think a little differently about your approach to career development. To begin with, try asking yourself a few questions.
How do you define success in your career?
Has that definition changed as you matured?
How far away are you from it today?
At Epiphany we’ve coached thousands of people in many companies and at a variety of levels. It has been amazing to see the multitude of different answers we get to these questions. One thing we’ve learned: There’s no one right answer; everyone has their own definitions for growth and success. It’s a very personal decision. For some it’s the type of work they want to do. Some define it by the impact they want to have on others, and for some it’s a title or salary. It could even be a combination of these things
Even though the answers vary, the key to career happiness and success lies in knowing yourself, knowing what you want, and then taking steps to make your vision real. You will need an intentional, well-thought plan with defined career goals. Let your core values, strengths, and vision be your guide. What are you passionate about? How do you want to see your career progressing? What do you value most? And finally, when all is said and done, what do you want to have accomplished.
Yes, there are a lot of questions in there. But without questions there are no answers.
If I may, one last parting thought: It’s difficult to be happy in life if you aren’t happy in your career. They are one and the same, all just part of how we spend our allotted time here. It’s the grand juggling act we all face, the trapeze walk of modern life. It’s too many analogies crammed into one sentence.
So then, how will you define success in your career?