“We need to be confronted by our actions, messages, and shortcomings if we expect to learn and grow. No more hiding behind excuses. No blaming others. No hiding behind phrases like—"This is just the way I am.” E. James Wilder

As part of our career growth path, we must engage in constant evaluation of our actions to determine if they are the right activities to get the job done. We must be aware of the messages we deliver to our peers and to those we lead in our work environment. What we say becomes who we are. We must always be open to the techniques that will help us improve our performance. As our performance goes, so goes our career.

In the end, we must accept full responsibility for what does or does not happen with our career. No excuses. We are in charge. So to become better and stronger, be willing to change. Who you are today does not have to be who you will be tomorrow. You are the way you are because of the choices you’ve made in the past. You can become who you want to be by the choices your make in the future.

To help you begin to focus on the right career choice for yourself, consider this definition of a vocation by Fredrick Buechner. “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

What is your deep gladness? Many have difficulty finding the answer to that question. They are unwilling to build a focus that becomes the deep gladness in their life. Earn the right to be a leader in your field. Find that passion you can’t wait to follow. It’s much better than being a wandering generality.

Now comes the tricky part. You must identify the deep hunger of your customers and assess if your business offerings address this need. It’s not sufficient to be passionate about your career choice. There must also be someone who wants to reap the results of that passion. When you find the match—BINGO! You win, your customers win and your career is on the fast track. You have matched your deep gladness with the world’s deep hunger.

As a former high school basketball coach, I’m in awe of players who have all the skill set necessary for greatness in this sport. And no one better exemplifies this idea than Michael Jordan. However, you might be surprised by the statement Michael made about his one-of-a-kind basketball career. “I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot—and missed! And, I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And, that is why I succeed.”

The desire to improve drove Michael Jordan to stardom. The willingness to risk and take on responsibility—to be in charge—is a challenge Jordan understood. He took his winning attitude to the top. He was the consummate professional athlete.

What about you? Is your desire to improve a driving force or do you simply keep doing the same things over and over again? Do you take risks and occasionally get out of your comfort zone? Are you willing to stretch your talents to reach your potential?

As a professional, you are entrusted to deliver to the best you are capabilities. Your every action should represent the best you can do. You must learn from your failures. When things go bad, you must overcome the temporary setback and make your next activity your very best effort. If you do, you just might become another Michael Jordan!

Satisfaction on the Job

Here are several techniques that you can use to bring greater satisfaction to your job and career:

Take Pride In Your Work: It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. Commit to doing it at the highest level you can. Doing your best will get the attention of others and eventually lead to greater opportunities and satisfaction with your work.

Be enthusiastic About Your Work: Enthusiasm brings energy to your work. Not feeling too enthusiastic about your work? Try fooling yourself. Yes, fool yourself by acting enthusiastic. Force a smile on your face. Raise your energy level a bit. Become excited about your task. All these are techniques that will raise your enthusiasm. Don’t try this unless you are ready to view your job in a different light. Enthusiasm changes lives.

Build Your Expertise: It is the experts that are in demand. Study your work from every angle. Learn all you can about what you do. As you begin to focus on building your expertise, you will soon begin to feel the fires of enthusiasm burning within you. Learning begets learning. That’s how it works. When you are viewed as an expert, your worth goes up. Don’t miss the opportunity to grow knowledge. It’s a reputation builder.

Be the Pro: Professionals are not satisfied with a half-hearted effort. They go all out and provide the best they have to offer. It is the pro who spends time building pride in their work. It is the pro who brings enthusiasm to the workplace. It is the pro who is viewed as the expert. It is the pro who wins.

Remove the Glass Ceiling: Too many place limits on their ability to achieve. They limit possibilities by their thinking, their preparation, and their confidence to reach greater heights. Avoid self imposed limitations. Become a possibility thinker—one who removes the glass ceiling and opens the path to opportunity and greater achievement.

Experience—The Great Equalizer In A Competitive World

There is no substitute for experience. It is often the salvation of a business venture and the most valuable asset in an organization. It can be the stabilizer in a dynamic workplace and it is the experienced worker who brings insight to a problem no college can teach.

As leaders, we have the obligation to tap the knowledge base of workers. The veteran who has committed to building their knowledge of the work process can help his or her company save time, resources, and money.

In today’s workplace, too many organizations have sacrificed experience to save dollars. Some might equate this strategy to stopping a hemorrhage with a band-aid. I understand the necessity of keeping cost down. And, the experienced worker is often the highest paid. But reducing employee count without regard to what experience will be left to operate the business is akin to throwing out the baby with the wash.

I’m not advocating that companies keep employees simply because they have been on the job for a long time. These are tough times and leaders must help their organization maintain a competitive edge. But I am advocating that you pay careful attention to the potential experience workers bring to the table. Don’t arbitrarily create a brain drain. That move could ultimately lead to self-destruction.

Help grow employees. Raise the bar of expectations. Those workers who consistently meet those challenges are the type of experienced workers few companies can afford to lose.

Closing Thoughts

I recently spoke to a small business group about networking as a tool to build business contacts. I advocated that they stop thinking “networking” and start thinking “relationships.” In an ever changing work environment, the relationships you establish are a potential gold mine of opportunities. Build relationships with other business leaders. Once you learn more about them and they learn more about you, referrals can be passed on when appropriate. A vast majority of jobs are filled by referrals and much of today’s business dealings start with a referral.

Gather your list of potential contacts and begin to get the message out about your business or expertise. It really is about who you know as much as it is how much you know. There can never be too many people who know what you do for a living. It’s important for you to understand that the greater your circle of influence, the greater your potential to grow and succeed. Consider the world as your own referral base. There is no use in thinking small.

Author's Bio: 

Billy Arcement, MEd, professional speaker, consultant, executive coach and author, provides solutions for business and education leaders by turning knowledge into results. See www.SearchingForSuccess.com for details about his services or call 225-677-9426. © 2009.