Career Advancement Tips by John Potterton

January 3rd, 2020 | hereschicago

John Potterton

With the advent of a New Year and the dawn of a New Decade, many of us are busy making resolutions and setting goals – everything from losing weight, getting into shape, learning new skills and advancing our careers. Whatever one chooses, the key to a successful outcome is devoting time and energy to make it happen. Often it means changing patterns of behavior and forming new habits to achieve long-term success.

So what habits or behavior changes are needed to advance one’s career?  Let’s begin by determining what is meant by the word career.  According to the Merriam-Webster definition, career is “a field for or pursuit of consecutive progressive achievement especially in public, professional, or business life.”  While that makes for a good foundation in understanding career in a broad sense, I believe we must dive deeper and ask ourselves this critical question: “What job will give me the most satisfaction, help me be fulfilled, enable me to be genuinely excited about going to work everyday, and provide me the best opportunity to use my gifts and talents?” 

With this as a backdrop, here are 3 tips to help navigate your way along a path leading to great joy and fulfillment in both your personal and professional life:

Tip One

Build leisure time into your schedule. Yes indeed, the first step is to make time for yourself.  In our fast-paced, over-scheduled world, we often neglect this essential ingredient that can energize and help us focus on what is most important. By leisure, I mean taking meaningful time to reflect, ponder, pray and think about who you are, what you want in life, and how you will get to where you want to be. Call it a gut check, a time-out, righting the ship.  We all need to schedule quiet time on a weekly basis to help revitalize the body, enrich the mind, ponder the possibilities and get emotionally excited about where our life is headed. 

Tip Two

Identify your ideal job. I recently asked a client if he could tell me what his ideal job would be. It took me by surprise (and saddened me) when he responded: “A job is a means to a paycheck.  Nothing more. You go to work, do what your boss expects, and give your best.  But at the end of the day, I really don’t think there is an ideal job out there for me.”  Yikes!  What he described was his reality based on the work experiences he has had thus far in his life. It prompted me to ask him further questions, and his answers created an “Aha Moment” for him.  He now has hope that there is an ideal job within the realm of possibility.

So here are the questions I hope will find just as helpful: Where do I want to work (city, suburb, in my home, commute time, etc.)?  What are my hobbies and interests that I enjoy doing?  Who do I want to work for (large company, mom/pop operation, independent consultant, etc.)?  In what industry do I want to work (hospitality, healthcare, education, corporate, private, etc.)?  What are my strengths and competencies that I bring to the table (skillset, abilities, what others see in me, etc.)?  By honestly answering these questions you will be on the road to discovering a career path that will bring you great joy.

As for my client, he now realizes he wants to move from Washington DC to the Boston area where he can be closer to his mother and siblings to pursue a career working in the not-for-profit sector using his financial analytical skills and love for travel, art and history. That’s a huge leap from where he was just a few months ago.

Tip Three

Build your relationships. We are all familiar with networking as it is one of the primary activities that occur at conferences and educational events we attend.  But building relationships is different. It requires one-on-one time with others you respect – a business associate, industry colleague, neighbor or even a relative.  You need to have people in your life you can trust and confide in to share your stories, dreams, aspirations, disappointments and fears.  It is often these people who will listen, be non-judgmental, offer insights and provide direction when you ask for their help.

So there you have it.  Three simple, doable tips to kick-start the new decade – make time for leisure, identify your ideal job, and build relationships.  Here’s wishing the next 10 years become the best years of your life.

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About the author:

John Potterton is a past-president of MPI-CAC and recipient of its highest honors including the Kathy Osterman Industry Award, Supplier of the Year Award and Hall of Fame Award.  Currently John works as an independent consultant providing Career Advancement Services including Coaching, Mentoring, Resume writing and LinkedIn Profile updates.  He can be reached at 773.571.0171 or jpotterton@gmail.com.


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