Stimulus Check Or Not, Here Are 5 Career Tips To Achieve The Success You Want


You get one week. You get one week to feel sad about your life circumstances and to gripe and complain about what isn’t working for you. You get one week to wallow in self-pity about the job you lost, the promotion you didn’t get, the pay cut you had to take and all the bad financial or career decisions you’ve made. You get one week to fret over career regrets and everything you’ve ever failed at. You get one week to wallow. Go ahead and cry, scream, yell—we all have to from time to time—but then get up, dust yourself off and put your big pants on so that you can move forward and achieve the career success you want.

Right now I spend most of my time helping executives and senior leaders navigate changes brought on by coronavirus and build organizational strategy and leadership capacity. However, I have spent nearly all my remaining time fielding questions about stimulus relief packages, first and second stimulus checks and hazard pay from anxious and worried employees who need answers. My inbox is overflowing with messages from directors, managers and entry-level employees who have lost their jobs or soon will. I hear daily from those who don’t know if they will have a job to return to and those who get to keep their jobs but only with pay cuts. I am also hearing from essential workers who just don’t know where to go for help. I will share with you what I’ve been sharing with them (employees at all levels, across all disciplines).

This coronavirus pandemic is absolutely brutal. It has taken 90,000 lives in the U.S., caused nearly 40 million to file new jobless claims, sparked a $1.3 trillion reduction in income for not only the newly unemployed, but also those who are currently employed (with pay cuts). It has left a majority of Americans hoping for a second stimulus check while struggling with career and financial insecurity that is leading to higher levels of depression and drinking. Oh yeah, this pandemic has been brutal, and it is still taking names and kicking ass, but you don’t have to let it destroy you. Here are five career tips—some of my best advice for success—to help you take control.

1. Bank on yourself.

If the economic fallout from this pandemic and all the prior ones has taught us anything it’s that there really is no such thing as job security so you need to diversify your portfolio and bank on yourself if you want to experience career success. Invest in yourself, and realize that your next best career move might never happen if you wait for someone else to create it or offer it to you. Your next best career move may very well be dependent on what you will create for yourself so start exploring and expanding your interests, seek out new income streams, and take more career risks.

One thing is sure. Whatever you do, it can’t be riskier than standing still. Banking on yourself doesn’t mean you have to start a business or work for yourself (although those are options). It means that you keep focused on staying competitive, developing your skills and building your competence. It means that you are willing to learn new things and that you don’t limit your career experiences to one employer, one boss, one job or even one location. Banking on yourself means you remain open to new opportunities and even work to create some.

2. Instead of waiting to climb the career ladder, just break the damn thing.

Go ahead and take your shot in life. Go ahead and ruffle some feathers, and don’t be afraid to the rock the boat. If you’ve been patiently waiting to get to the next level at your company, and nothing is happening for you, take action. If you have been asked to do more with less year after year after year and feel that no one appreciates you, take action. If you love your job but feel that you’ve maxed out with your current employer, take action. And if you’ve been fired, furloughed or otherwise dumped, take action, and stop following outdated career advice.

Instead of waiting to climb the career ladder, just break the damn thing. Yes, you can cut in line rather than patiently wait your turn. You can even choose to skip the line completely. The rules about who gets up to bat have completely gone out the door. There’s no reason for you to wait years—even decades—before you can advance up the career ladder. Take action so that you can experience something new and different now. Take action to achieve the career success you want now. Instead of working your way up the ladder, sometimes your next best career move is to shrewdly go around it.

3. Develop the mental strength to get out of your comfort zone.

The reality is that you might not be able to achieve career success where you are. If you are afraid to leave your comfort zone or try new or different things, you will limit your ability to shine. Successful people muster up the courage to step outside their comfort zones. They learn to lean into their fears. Some people fear failure, some fear success and some people fear both. Figure out what you fear and then challenge yourself to deal with it. Also, as you commit to your success journey, some of your decisions and choices will inevitably disappoint people and make them more uncomfortable with you.

It’s critically important that you develop the mental strength to get more comfortable with other people becoming more uncomfortable with you, and resist the inclination to apologize for having dreams and ambitions.

4. Show up and be counted.

Career success can’t happen if you don’t show up so successful people make a point of showing up. Show up when you feel like it and especially when you don’t. New, better or different career opportunities aren’t just going to find you. You have to put yourself in a position to be found. You can’t meet movers and shakers if you don’t show up. You can’t get new projects or stretch assignments if you don’t show up. You can’t achieve career success if you don’t show up.

Show up in the good times and the bad. Showing up means that you let people know you are engaged, ready and prepared to take the reins when an opportunity presents itself. Showing up sends signals that you are open to create new opportunities for others as well. The more you show up, the more you will accomplish. And the more you accomplish, the more successful you will become.

5. Start something—anything.

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion. Decide what you want to accomplish and then take the first step. If you want to write a book, start writing a sentence, then a paragraph, then a page and so on. If you want to start a business, start doing some research and develop your plan. If you want to get a promotion, start talking with folks and get the skills or certifications you’ll need. If you want to change careers, start with asking yourself these six questions and then make a decision.

Don’t become overwhelmed with how long anything will take or with how difficult it might be. Don’t get stuck focusing on whether or not you can actually finish the whole thing because then you might never start. Instead, focus on finishing the first five minutes, the first day, the first meeting, the first conversation, etc. Just take the first step and then focus only on putting one foot in front of the other. Just start each day reminding yourself that you have to start something before you can finish anything.

Yes, you can take control and own your career.

I appreciate the career and financial struggles many of you are having. I understand that you are searching out all kinds of information, including stimulus checks because you might be in a situation where you can’t pay your bills tomorrow. I have been there, and I truly feel your pain. But this is how I know that you can change your predicament. You can create more options and a better safety net for yourself and your family. You can get your finances to a point where you won’t need to hope that Congress passes another $1,200 stimulus check. Yes, you can.

And since you are reading this, I know you will. Since you are reading this, I know you’ve decided that you aren’t going to just sit around and take it. Since you are reading this, I know you’ve decided that you can’t just leave your financial and career success to the whims of a pandemic, a struggling economy, or anything else for that matter. And if you’ve made it this far in this article, you’ve obviously decided that even if you are in the dumps right now, you are ready to take your power back and do what you must to create a better life and career. I applaud your strength and your courage, and I wish you every success!

Recommended reading:

5 Facts On The Second Stimulus Check That You Need To Know Now

$200 Billion In Hazard Pay: These Essential Workers Must Get Their Fair Share

3 Warning Signs That You Lack The Mental Strength To Lead

This Is The Most Important Question Leaders Ask During A Crisis

4 Dirty Little Secrets You Need To Know About Successful People

This Is The Saddest Thing In The World That People Tell Themselves

No Apologies: Tell Yourself, ‘My Future Is So Bright, It Burns My Eyes’

Do These Four Things To Own Your Career



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