by Carey-Lee Dixon
Everyone starts somewhere. To truly know your potential and your greatness, not only do you need to START, you need to keep finding ways to grow and become a better version of yourself — that’s something I learned as a young professional.
Here I share some of the lessons on things I garnered throughout my career — which is useful to help you grow in your career, regardless of where you are in your professional life.
1. Develop a roadmap for yourself
Knowing where you are and where you want to go is key. To grow, you must be intentional. One of the key points shared on building a roadmap — assess where you are and where you want to go, which includes, identifying those who can help you get there. The book, Never Eat Alone, is a great resource on building your roadmap on cultivating relationships that will help you achieve your goals.
Developing a roadmap will also mean investing in yourself — whether it is spending more time learning and attending workshops/seminars/conference to build your knowledge in a specific area while also to connecting with like-minded people within your industry.
2. Cultivate great relationships
One thing that is often overlooked is the importance of great relationships — and honestly, it was something I overlooked as a young professional too. Not only will cultivating great relationships help you achieve your goals, it helps to strengthen your network and is a great way to pour into the development and lives of others. Relationships are not what’s in it for you, but how you can continually share knowledge and build each others professional life.
3. Take risks
Take a bet on yourself. Try new things even if they fail. Even when they fail, go beyond that point.
Try and if it fails, it’s another lesson learned that will help to strengthen your character and prepare you for the greater things that are coming your way.
4. Keep your agreements. Don’t oversell
Whatever you sell, you must be able to do — this is where keeping your word is important, which means delivering on commitments is important. Don’t make agreements you know you won’t be able to meet. I have been guilty of this as a young professional, but overcommitting is likely to tarnish your reputation. And the truth is, your reputation is all you have, so if you can’t do something — don’t commit to it unless you will be spending time to develop your skills to get it done.
Often, we overcommit and end up in the dead-end zone with fast approaching deadlines, which sometimes leave professionals to produce mediocre work.
5. Identify the gaps
Figure out what is needed and find innovative ways to fill that gap. Whether it is through the creation of projects or collaborative projects, identify the problem and find solutions. The world needs solutions every day. What is one thing you could improve — is it something you are always complaining about? Is it a service, product or system in your organisation? Identify what is needed and get creative.
6. Show what you can do
I’ve learned that it’s more than saying you can do something but proving what you can do. If you say you can do, you must be able to show it/sell it. Also, find creative ways to show what you can do — will you share it through a blog or by hosting pop-up shows.
7. Spend your spare time building your portfolio because people want to see what you can do
There is always room for growth — and to grow, you need to always find ways to enhance your skills and increase your knowledge. Whether it is investing in online classes, joining massive online courses or attending workshops — always seek to be better. If you are an aspiring writer or chef, enroll in classes to help you stand out. Also, the act of doing is a great way to prove your expertise. Don’t just enroll in courses — you must execute what you know.
As a young professional, I have realised that growing your career means departing from your safety net, knowing exactly what you want, preparing for it, asking for it and doing what it takes to get it.