Successful Career Moves

Successful Career Moves


Time is nearing for another group of bright, young people to graduate from college.  Many are interviewing for their first job that begins a career.  They are prepared having spent about four years taking over forty classes in a variety of areas of knowledge.  Thousands are eager and ready to go.

But wait.  After years of schooling and a degree(s) in their chosen area, most of the ‘habits’ these new graduates need for a successful career were not emphasized nor taught in their curriculum. They were taught ‘subjects’.  People’s ‘attitudes’ and ‘behaviors’ are the biggest differentiator in a successful career.  People need to embrace and develop these Habits sooner than later.




The Seven Habits for a Successful Career include:

1)   Define Success/Goals and Priorities

First and foremost define what success is for YOU – career, professional and personal.  Too many people have their definition of success defined or overly influenced by family, friends, etc.  Second, layout a path to achieve your success by setting 2, 5 and 7 year goals.  Lastly, prioritize these goals and events.  Repeat this exercise at least every 2 years and/or after a significant life event.

2)   Be Proactive and Adapt to Change

Proactive people learn to anticipate future events and take initiative in shaping the results.  They understand that change can create problems, but focus on opportunities change creates.  During difficult times, they look for the good in people and events, and know proactive people can be counted on.

3)   Build Trust and Credibility

Trust and credibility is like oil.  It’s the ‘stuff’ that makes relationships with people work.  Consider this. “With high trust, success comes faster, better and at a lower cost” says David Neeleman, Founder of JetBlue.  Trust is not just a touchy, feely concept.  It (interpersonal trust) is an attitude or state of mind that has been cultivated between people.  Consider this definition of trust from the Covey’s:

TRUST = One’s Character + One’s Competency

4)   Embrace a Passion for Learning

After enduring four or more years of college, most are ecstatic to get out in the ‘real world’ – and quit studying.  But if a successful career is one of your goals, then recognize that learning is a journey, not a destination.  Success requires continued knowledge and skills improvement in areas like current events, technology, selling, business, management, communication, leadership, etc.

5)   Put Some Gratitude in Your Attitude

Successful people are consistently enthusiastic and energetic, and their attitude is contagious.  Others want to work with people with this attitude. No matter how much success a person may attain: (1) never take yourself too seriously; (2) be a team player; (3) have fun; and (4) celebrate other’s successes.  Cultivate others that have put some gratitude in their attitude as team members, colleagues, mentors, coaches, etc.

6)   Understand the ‘Business’

Most people’s careers are associated with business ventures – small, medium, or large.  No matter what position/career a person holds, successful people have at least a good breadth and depth of knowledge about their business.  Learn and continue expanding knowledge in the business including: the industry, business model, products and customers, processes, technology, economics, financials, etc.

7)   Develop Your ‘People’ Skills’

People skills are very important regardless of where a person is in their career.  But later in a career if a goal is to be an executive/leader, accomplished people skills are mandatory.  Continually learn and improve an array of communication skills including: listening, listening, listening, writing, speaking, presenting and selling.   In addition, successful careers are usually associated with people that have built strong relationships and networks.  Lastly, cultivate people that will be your coach and mentor, and return this help by coaching and mentoring others.


If a person becomes accomplished in these Seven Habits, and masters some, their goals will be in reach, and can be successful in any career.  And remember  . . .

We are what we repeatedly do!

Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a Habit!


Update:  See discussion on 4Q’s of Successful People which compliment these 7 Habits.



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