Four Rules For Building A Successful Career

Four Rules For Building A Successful Career


Theodore Henderson

The Wisdom Man

Image via hr.berkeley.edu_Career Planning
Image via hr.berkeley.edu_Career Planning

A successful career starts with the way you view it. It’s not a destiny, but a journey. In every step of the way, you are leaving a path for the next generation to follow. With most of the success stories well-preserved and documented, the journey will not be a hit and miss.

However, every journey to success is unique. After years of experience coaching professionals, here are some tips I can offer to make your trip a rewarding one:

1. Create a plan for success.

A simple plan consists of three parts: beginning, content and ending.

Identify your personal mission and vision in life, as this is one of the most valuable tips for building a successful career. You also need to define your goals. A comprehensive guideline for goal setting is to follow the acronym SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. I used this simple approach to become a successful sales professional, manager and business owner.

Here is a simple success plan if you are a recent graduate targeting a high-paying job.

• First, target a specific occupation instead of  an industry (Avoid, for example, thoughts such as, “I want to be in healthcare” or “I want to be in financial services.”)

• Second, outline the education requirements. BA programs used to prepare you for many fields, but they no longer guarantee you the interview, as the primary education requirements have risen. So, consider enrolling in a master’s program or other additional educational opportunities that are unique to the position you want.

• Third, establish a firm timeline to reach your goal by — possibly two to three years depending on life commitments and the program.

• Lastly, simultaneously understand what job search strategy you will use to find employment quickly upon graduation.

The last bullet particularly resonates with me. As a senior-level business and career coach, I have many clients come to me who have credentials but are frustrated with a lack of progress in their job search. Invariably it is a lack of planning and preparedness. Contrary to myth, simply having a credential isn’t enough anymore. Good news: It is fixable.

2. Demonstrate gratitude.

It is seemingly a contradiction to common thinking that most successful people are those with a lifestyle of giving. This is what I mean by a demonstration of gratitude. Placed next to the attitude of hoarding, giving is an act of gratitude. Nothing mystical here, and money is the least important gift. Share information and your time as opposed to “hoarding” it.

This is one of the tips for building a successful career that is not easy to implement, especially in the beginning stages. How do you implement it? Easy. If you are partial to a cause or health challenge (cancer research, Red Cross, March of Dimes, religious affiliation, etc.), volunteer. Later, look for meaningful ways you can leverage this opportunity as you look for work.

3. Manage your resources wisely.

This is one of the most common tips for building a successful career, but it’s easier said than done. Resources, including money, time and workforce, are limited. The usage of these scarce resources should be purpose-driven. When you focus on the purpose, you will have no time to dwell in non-productive activities.

One example is the interview. Although any interview is good practice, I warn candidates not to be cavalier about “practice interviews.” You should never arrive at a meeting without being properly prepared. In some cases, if you are woefully underprepared and can’t adequately represent yourself due to an inability to answer the interviewer’s questions, it may be best to excuse yourself from an interview, apologize, and politely request more time to prepare. That particular interviewer or hiring manager might not offer another interview, but the job candidate shows exceptional professionalism.

According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Candidates should exercise common sense and professionalism in all their interactions with potential employers. At a minimum, candidates should be punctual, clean, professionally dressed, as well as courteous to all staff … .”

4. Connect with yourself and others regularly.

Sometimes, when you incorrectly focus on your purpose, you suffer the consequences of an unhealthy relationship with people around you. The situation can become toxic because they may feel that they are just being used.

This brings to mind one client, an extreme case, who pretended to network but, over time, she seemed to be showing no progress in getting meetings or interviews. She finally realized her mistake, which was calling a small group of friends and former colleagues and pestering them about a job at their company or who they knew. Unfortunately, most of them had stopped connecting with her because of it. Don’t let this happen to you.

Draw up a real professional networking strategy on your own or with a coach. When working with clients, I focus on this area if they haven’t created a network. Those with the broadest, most useful network have more meetings and interviews.

Creating time and space for you to go through relationship issues will help eliminate the air of hostility or indifference. Make yourself healthy — body, soul and spirit. The greatest gift you can give to people is a healthy you.

It would also be wise to have experienced coaches or mentors. They see things from a perspective you are not seeing.

Lastly, connect with those who can encourage you and keep you grounded. However, let go of those who aren’t good for you and move on with your life.

This article originally appeared December 29, 2016, in Forbes.


Discover New Insights & Tips on Business Leadership -Entrepreneurship – Success. Click Here for Access


About The Author

Theodore Henderson works with business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate professionals. He is an Amazon best-selling author, a Certified Career Coach, a Certified Leadership Coach, and a Certified Social Media Security Professional Powered by CompTIA. In addition he is the author of the business program “Launching Your Great Business Idea,” as well as the author of the following books; “The Wisdom Compass”, “9 Simple Strategies to Becoming A Strong Leader” and the Security eBook “30 Smart Ways to Protect Yourself from Cyber Criminals” aimed at owners of Smartphones, Mobile Devices, and also those who have significant online activities including Social Media, financial services, etc. He is available for keynotes, seminars, and workshops. He may be reached through

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>