Build Momentum Back Into Your Career With 5 Forgotten Resources
I recently met with a group of professionals in transition who were extremely uncertain about their future. They all previously enjoyed success but had lost their momentum in the past 3 years. Recent changes brought on by the economic climate have made it challenging to re-build their careers. Sound familiar? If you are in transition or not satisfied with your career and looking to reclaim the momentum that has been lost, ask yourself this question: Are you fully realizing the benefits of every resource at your disposal?
Whether you answered this question “yes or no” – you are probably unaware of all your resources and how to most effectively use them. This is the problem with most people who feel stuck in their careers: they don’t know what they don’t know. They are unaware of what is and is not a viable resource. In today’s marketplace you must be knowledgeable about what it takes to win in your work and to catapult your career. The rules are changing quickly and in many cases it’s up to you to create those rules yourself. This requires you to approach your career as if it were a field of unseen opportunities – with your eyes wide open, always aware of your surroundings; constantly moving steadily forward (not wasting any time) and continually testing your talent until you find what unleashes your passion and allows your creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to take root.
Only you know when you find your zone. It is when your talent is enabled in an environment where you are 100% focused and you are truly enjoying what you are doing. It’s when your job doesn’t feel like a job, but rather a mission or cause - that is purposeful and meaningful. This is when you have found your zone and can now create and sustain momentum in your career.
You must view yourself and your career as a business. You must know how to value your assets and know which assets enable the greatest results. Know the revenue streams you can impact most as this will guide you to more effectively manage the career choices you make and the opportunity you create.
When Olympian Michael Phelps failed to medal in Saturday’s games, it was a dramatic example of what can happen when you start to burn out and lose your will to compete. If you feel burned out, have lost your zone or are in search of a competitive edge – you can build momentum back into your career by leveraging the following five forgotten resources.
1. Establish Distinction
What makes you unique must be enabled. When you start to lose your momentum, you begin to believe that you have lost your competitive edge. Step back and reevaluate your career, what you have accomplished, and your trademark – the one big enduring idea that you instinctually deliver every day that makes you stand out from the crowd.
Package what distinguishes you from others. Not just your credentials, but those intangibles that have allowed you to deliver results, enable others and / or make you a great team player. If you get stuck in this process, think of what you naturally gravitate towards and the things that get you excited.
Too often, people lose the game before they play it.
Here is an exercise for you to consider: if someone were to write your Wikipedia page, what would it say and why would Wikipedia value it enough to publish? What types of publications would serve as your references.2. Network Wisely
Until you have defined your distinctions, you can’t get the most out of networking. Networking is both an art and a science. Don’t just go through the motions; value your time and what you expect in return.
Networking must be strategic. It is one of those activities that people who are looking for momentum don’t leverage enough. It is one of the most forgotten resources that people still don’t know how to maximize. I talk about this in detail in my blog titled, 7 Reasons Networking Can Be a Professional Development Boot Camp.
Networking wisely means knowing how you plan to enable your distinctions to build new relationships, generate leads and get discovered.3. Positive Mental Attitude
Yes, this is a forgotten resource. How you choose to think and your attitude has a direct impact on your career and ability to build momentum. Stop procrastinating and giving yourself reasons not to do things. You must stop creating your own uncertainty.
People complicate and confuse matters by allowing doubt to guide them rather than a positive mental attitude to inspire them. This is much easier said than done. It requires you to make a commitment to reevaluate your life, those people who are in it and the type of people you need to fuel your career momentum once again. This is why networking wisely is so important. You must align your career goals with what excites your mind and burns your belly – this begins with the right frame of mind and whom you allow to influence your attitude, focus and intentions.
Embrace the challenge, break old habits, innovate and reclaim the desire to compete.
4. Get an Executive Sponsor
A sponsor is someone willing to share their career momentum to help you find yours. A sponsor is proactive about helping you identify career opportunities and unconditionally protects you – they “have your back.” Sponsorship is a powerful relationship that is earned over time. It is much different than having a mentor. Where a mentor will be more reactive to your needs, a sponsor provides proactive guidance and is more fully vested in your career advancement.5. Time
This may sound too simplistic, but you must never forget that time is your most valuable asset. How you use it, manage it and make the most of it has a direct impact on the momentum you build in your career.
Think of how you use your time today. Can you eliminate certain activities to better focus on the other aforementioned forgotten resources? Be critical as you can never replace time. Perhaps this is why you lost your momentum in the first place. To be certain, avoid these 6 types of people as you focus on building your momentum.
As we all acclimate to a workplace environment with fewer resources, more structure and increased restrictions and red tape – it makes it much more difficult to find the career momentum that you desire. However, we live in a moment of uncertainty where you must learn to create your own opportunities – previously unseen. These 5 forgotten resources will help you get back on track and give you the jump start you need to reclaim your career momentum.