A psychology concept you may or may not be familiar with is that of self-actualization. This refers to when human beings can grow into their full potential and find their purpose in life. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is at the very top, obtainable once every person’s basic human needs (such as food, clothing, safety, love, and belonging) are met.
This is not a concept that can be achieved over a few weeks or days and is best seen as a long-term goal. When one achieves self-actualization, one feels fulfilled in all aspects of life. Feeling fulfilled helps each person develop healthier, more meaningful relationships in life and helps people choose to do things that are in line with their life goals.
One of the factors that help us achieve this state of contentment is being satisfied with the way our careers are going. If you think about it, work is something that plays a big part in your life. After formal schooling comes jobs that help feed and sustain us and pay the bills.
So, if you aren’t happy with what you’re doing or feel unfulfilled in your career path, this could negatively affect different aspects of your life such as your personal and professional relationships (not to mention the mental and emotional strain of being unhappy). If you’re looking for ways in which you can improve your career path or move up the corporate ladder, consider the following ways to level up your career trajectory.
Set Small Goals
Big goals are nice to think about, but they can also be daunting when you look at how much work will have to go into achieving them. So don’t dive straight into the deep end. Fear of such a big undertaking may make you lose motivation quickly. Start by conceptualizing how you’d like to see your career path in the future and then make small goals that will help you achieve the big career goals you’ve set for yourself.
Set a deadline for those small goals and once you’ve achieved them, take the time to assess how well you’ve achieved those goals. If you’ve seen someone achieve the same goals you’re aiming for, consider modeling your goal strategy after them.
Improve Soft Skills
Soft skills usually encompass interpersonal skills that deal with communication, time management, listening, empathy, problem-solving, and teamwork. These are common skills that will serve you well in any work setting as it helps you relate well and connect to your workmates. Building upon these skills is a worthwhile investment. Some ways in which you can improve your soft skills include communicating with people often (be it written or oral), learning to adapt well to workplace changes, resolving conflicts positively instead of running from them, and managing your time well whether arriving to work or submitting a work project.
Brush Up on Hard Skills
When it comes to the technical nitty-gritty of your industry, however, this is where hard skills come into play. There will always be changes and innovations no matter what industry you work in so it’s a good idea to always stay up to date regarding these changes. This could mean enrolling yourself in courses or classes that can help you in your chosen industry. Or if you are your own boss you could consider leveling up your skills while staying on top of your business such as taking online MBA classes or going to a good online contractor school. Most companies will require proof of your skill level so if there’s a chance for you to earn a certificate or take part in a course that will give you valuable skills in your chosen industry, seize the opportunity.
It is a common adage that one does not grow in a place of comfort. And this is why it is so important for you to challenge yourself. Take on leadership roles. Speak up and share your opinion during meetings. Study and learn more about the industry you are working in. Research about the industry you would like to shift to and then make that career move. Learn to accept constructive criticism gracefully and then use that information to better your weaknesses. Seek out feedback regularly so you can be more self-aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are in your career.
Keep Track of Progress
There will be days when you feel like your motivation has hit an all-time low. In times like these, it would be a good idea to keep a record of what you have achieved in your career so far. This will help show you that you aren’t stuck in place and that your hard work has merit. This record could be in the form of an online portfolio or a website or your résumé detailing the past companies and positions you have held along with your job description per position.
Remember, at the end of the day, it’s your life you need to live to the fullest. Keep working towards a better you and stay focused on your career goals. One day, you’ll be happy you put in the time and effort to be the best version of yourself.