How Not To Think If You Want a Successful Career

By: Anna Johnson


There's no shortage of universities, colleges and private institutions urging you to hand over your hard-earned cash to do some course or program for career development purposes. Now, while I would hesitate before investing in any kind of course or program without there being a likely positive return on my investment, the truth is, you do need to invest - time, effort and probably money - to progress within your career.

However, even more important than investing in your formal education... is investing time, effort and probably some money in your informal education. That means buying books, subscribing to newsletters and journals, joining mastermind groups, attending seminars... and even just chatting with experts. The point is - for genuine career development, you need to always be learning.

Now while you may agree with this in principle, it's also important to be open to learning things you "already know". In other words, even if you think you know something, you may not understand it from a different, deeper or broader perspective. Yet closing your mind to these other perspectives will almost certainly hamper your career development. Indeed, true masters of a subject are often saying how they are still learning something they have apparently already learned.

So what's it going to be? Will you decide that you "already know all that", close off your mind to new knowledge and skills, and wonder why your career development has stalled? Or will you continue to embrace further opportunities to learn and evolve... and continue to progress? I know, it's kind of obvious: your best bet is to invest in your ongoing learning. And, really, ongoing learning is not just important for your career, but it's also important for your life: it's the only way to evolve as a person.

For example, a hairdresser who's been cutting and styling hair for 10 years might think they know all about hairdressing by now. But the fact is, there are always new styles, techniques, products and tools to learn. Changing fashions are proof of this!

As a result, any hairdresser serious about their career development would constantly be reading the latest hairdressing magazines, attending hairdressing conferences and shows, and attempting new techniques, styles, products and tools.

And that's why my hairdresser continues to learn and build her skills. Doing so has not only made hairdressing a challenging and vibrant career for her, but it has also enabled her to reach a point where she can charge more than double what the average hairdresser can charge. All because she continues to develop herself. Meanwhile, the average suburban hairdresser thinks they know all there is to know about cutting and styling hair, and wonders why they don't get paid more and work better hours...

That's right, abandon the limited - and limiting - thinking of someone who "knows it all". Be open and willing to learn instead, and watch your career continue to move forward and upward.

2007 Anna Johnson. All Rights Reserved.