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September 22, 2022

The 6 Words You Need To Embrace To Jump Start Your Career

Have you ever felt like you’re working so hard to progress in your career, yet nothing comes of it? You think the world is conspiring against you, and blame the economy, pandemic, or your boss for holding you back. The bad news: you’re likely fixated on the wrong things. And the good news? A simple, […]

Have you ever felt like you’re working so hard to progress in your career, yet nothing comes of it? You think the world is conspiring against you, and blame the economy, pandemic, or your boss for holding you back.

The bad news: you’re likely fixated on the wrong things.

And the good news? A simple, six-word antidote can help you jump-start your career: focus on what you can control.

We often look to external forces as the answer to our career pursuits. As a result, we assign way too much power to people and circumstances beyond our control and then wonder why we feel frustrated and defeated when they fall short of our expectations.

But when you let go of those things and instead focus on what you can control, you automatically shift from passive victim to proactive and empowered mode.

And those are the things completely within your ability to master. They include:

Your mindset

If you tend to maintain a fixed mindset or one in which you believe things (intelligence, talent, circumstances) are set in stone, it’s easy to fall into a negative headspace where you feel stuck.

But you may not realize that your mindset could further hold you back. Negative people tend to think that it’s their way or the highway, rule by fear, and establish an environment where people in their orbit dread interactions with them.

In contrast, positive people tend to have a growth mindset, or one in which they believe they can—and will—improve and see every opportunity as a chance to grow and learn. Maintaining this attitude also helps remind them to be grateful and pay attention to all the good things in their lives. In addition, when practicing positivity, they tend to be more curious and tolerant of new ideas and people and are less likely to be thrown off course because of unexpected setbacks.

Your time

We’re all dealing with the same 24 hours in a day, so prioritizing, managing, and protecting your time is essential for your professional development and career growth.

Stop trying to do it all, and instead, use your resources. Save time by batching routine tasks and using technological tools, processes, and systems to schedule meetings, automate invoicing and collect information from website forms. Outsource your essential but most unfavorite (and, therefore, time-consuming) tasks to independent pros. And skip unnecessary meetings and time-sucking email chains by trusting the smart folks you’ve hired to do their jobs without you and keep you in the loop, freeing up your time.

Determine which tasks you need to tend to by utilizing a simple decision-making tool like the Eisenhower Matrix, in which you place to-dos in four boxes: Do it now for urgent and important items, Decide to schedule a time to do it for non-urgent but important tasks, Delegate it to someone else for urgent but unimportant things, and Delete it now for items that are neither urgent nor important.

Also, remember that you’re not obligated to be on 24/7, so limit your availability and create boundaries. Block your calendar with your non-negotiables first and get into the habit of saying no unnecessary requests. Remember, saying no to the people and things that don’t support your goals will give you more time to say yes to those that do.

Your environment

Your environment, which includes your friends, colleagues, location, habits, and lifestyle, impacts you far more—for better or worse—than you realize; it always wins. How and with whom you give your time and attention matters. You’ve likely grown and evolved, and what once worked for you has probably changed. You can’t make significant progress without altering some elements of your environment.

Remember to be mindful of the company you keep and the activities that you engage in, and ask yourself if they support your destiny, not just your history. Real growth happens when we understand whom and what best supports our goals and then align ourselves with those people and things that do.

The stories you tell yourself

Your self-perception is rooted in the stories you tell yourself, which play on repeat in your head. And if you want to make career progress, you’ll need to make sure they’re helpful, not harmful.

When you fill your head with negative self-talk like I’m not good enough, I’m not ready, or I’m just a __________ (whatever you are now), not a _________ (whatever you’d like to be), you prevent yourself from learning, growing, and stretching your wings.

Instead, use a little compassion, and treat yourself the way you would a treasured friend. Words have power, especially the ones you say—or don’t say—to yourself. By replacing self-sabotaging with self-affirming talk, you’ll abandon limiting beliefs and pave the way for career progress.

How you present yourself to others

A lack of clarity is the kiss of death for your career.

Think about it: if you’re looking for someone to prepare your taxes, would you reach out to the person who says she’s a tax expert and CPA or someone who lists four other seemingly unrelated professions along with his ability to do your taxes?

A wishy-washy positioning is confusing to people—potential clients, partners, and employers. And when you confuse them, you’ll lose them.

Instead, focus on putting your talents to their highest and best use. When you’re clear, everything becomes easier. People understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, and how you can help them.

When you focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t, you’ll feel more empowered and proactively build your career.

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.

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