Monday, February 27, 2012

Eliminating the 'Easy' in Your Career

A well-known office supply chain offers its customers the ability to make things 'easy' by pressing a button. Easy...what a loaded word. When things are easy, they aren't difficult. Tasks are performed knowledgeably and quickly, and the outcome is almost always certain and to your liking. We naturally gravitate toward the easy, and-for the most part-we want things in our careers to be easy: customers to come back, supervisors to like our work, work to be completed on-time and with little difficulty. Easy is the way to go, right?

But here's the rub: excellence is hard. Learning important life-lessons is difficult. And oftentimes our best work was created under strenuous circumstances.

If we want to get what we want in our careers, we need to be prepared to abandon the easy and embrace the difficult. Think back to the greatest lessons you learned in your career life, and I'm willing to bet that most-if not all-of them had nothing to do with things that were easy. The hours you put in studying to achieve the grades you desired. The strenuous practice to prepare for the work presentation of your career. The time conditioning your body so you can be the athlete you want to be. When circumstances are difficult, we strive to meet the challenge; when they become easy, we stay stagnant and stuck in a rut.

Use the following questions to guide in determining where you need to make things more difficult for the sake of your career:

Where in my career life am I feeling intimidated or do I need to apply more pressure to myself?

In what aspects of my career life do I feel that I have been 'coasting' or have I already mastered?

How would my career be better if I could push myself in these areas?

What am I willing to do, and what am I not willing to do?

What will I do today that will move me in the direction that I want to move in?

Circumstances don't make you; they reveal you. Push yourself in your career to be the professional that you want to be.

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