You’re just starting your career, and there’s so much that you want to accomplish. The path ahead is going to be fun, challenging and even have some surprises for you. We’ve been career crushing for nearly 15 years and thought we’d offer a few tips to help you start crushing your career sooner rather than later.
You’ve probably heard by now that your career doesn’t have to be (and in fact, probably shouldn’t be) a ladder to the top. Besides, that’s boring. Your career can be whatever you want it to be…it’s your career. Take the twists and turns that motivate you, not the ones you think you should take to impress others.
We could list every mistake and success we’ve had along the way, but we strongly believe that less is more. So instead we’ll share with you five practices that we wish we started much earlier in our careers.
Pay Yourself First. Save 10% of every dollar you earn. This is the most important habit you can implement. You are paying your future self, and the more you do that, the more freedoms you guarantee yourself down the line. Plus, this habit is insanely difficult to develop as you get older. So start doing it now and pretend that 10% doesn’t even exist. And with the remaining 90%, after your bills are paid, of course, be careful not to spend it mindlessly. Spend it very intentionally, on experiences with those you love and on things that truly make you happy.
Trust Your Instinct. You know what you like and what you don’t like. You know what makes you feel good. You know what motivates you. Do those things instead of the things that your friends are doing, your parents want you to do or society “expects” you to do. Seek out opportunities that excite you and give you energy. Every so often, be sure to check in with your big picture goals. Are the things you’re spending time on now supporting those goals? If not, it’s okay to rethink your long term goals or rethink what you’re currently prioritizing.
Create a Support System. Support others in their own journeys, and they will return the favor in their own way. And if they don’t, then maybe it’s time to move on from that relationship. Stay above the drama. Don’t bring others down for your own personal gain. Play the game, but don’t make enemies along the way. You never know where your career will take you or when / in what capacity you will run into people again. Don’t burn bridges!
Find Your Superpower. You have unique strengths. We all do. These are things you are naturally good at. You may not even realize many of your strengths because they seem so effortless to you. Still unsure of what these are? Check in with yourself after completing a task or project. How did it feel? Are you energized and excited and ready for more? Awesome! You’re getting closer to what you were meant to do. On the other hand, if you were struggling to stay on course and find yourself feeling drained and stressed, it’s probably best to seek out opportunities that are a better fit for your skill set. Your friends, colleagues, and family also have great insight…ask them! They often see things that you may not recognize in yourself. While you continue to hone your natural skill set, practice articulating your unique strengths in the context of what you can offer others (aka your personal brand).
Learn How to Deprioritize. You can’t do everything, so don’t bother trying. Work hard, but work smart. Make sure your efforts are seen. Seek out opportunities that will keep you visible. Don’t fall into the office helper/note taker/“mom” role. Don’t give in to the feeling that if you don’t do it, no one else will. It’s easy to give in to the grind (bonus tip: calling it the “hustle” doesn’t make it any better for you). Working hard is essential at times, but you don’t have to sacrifice your physical and mental health to get ahead. Always make time for what you need to operate at 100%, whether that’s sleep, exercise, fuel, or time to yourself. For more ideas, visit our blog at deprioritize.com for regular posts about making more time for yourself and the things you love.
Don’t hesitate to enlist a confidant to act as your accountability coach. They can help you implement and stick to the above practices.
Above all else, take care of yourself. If you’re not in good shape, you can’t do much for your career. Stay focused and positive!
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