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This chapter is from the book

Build the Self-Empowered Road to Success

What do you need in order to become your boss? One element includes gaining a better perspective of yourself. A key to gaining that perspective is emotional intelligence, which I talk about in Chapters 2 and 5.

In the realm of your career, you need a good perspective about what a company or organization wants from you. You’ll need to develop the ability to blend your self-perspective with an organization’s perspective in order to create a career plan that will lead to success within that organization. If you are the boss of the company called “you,” then whoever you work with are your customers. And every successful company knows its customers well and what value it can bring to those customers.

To become your boss and be successful, you need to build the following qualities into your approach to life:

  • Self-awareness (know your strengths and weaknesses)

  • A will to avoid artificial limits

  • An explorer-mentality about yourself, your passion, and how you fit into the world

  • Curiosity to seek out the right people and information and the willingness to learn

  • Resilience, persistence, and courage

  • A positive attitude

  • Thoughtful planning

  • Discipline and focus

  • Ambition to set goals and take action

  • A willingness to evolve and innovate; to grow and lean into trends; or to create your own trends.

You can think of these as basic career survival skills and success behaviors, what it takes to be successful and happy in any job or any role. (See Figure 1-2.) But these skills take you beyond survival. What lies beyond career survival is your dream job or jobs (because many of us will have multiple dream jobs as we adapt and evolve through our lives). We each spend an enormous amount of time at work—about 90,000 hours over the course of an average work life.6 So it makes sense to create a dream job or series of dream jobs and really live your life in a big way.

Figure 1-2

Figure 1-2 Basic Career Survival Skills

Many people characterize these skills as personality traits or as qualities that people are born with. They are not inherent qualities present in a person from birth. They are behaviors that you learn from experiences or from activities that you engage in by choice. And they are behaviors that you should use and practice after you have learned them and become skilled at over time. It makes no difference whether these skills come to you naturally or whether you proactively seek to learn them. What matters is that you continue to develop and practice these skills by actively using them. Learn, master, and practice these skills throughout your life.

I discuss these skills throughout the different chapters in this book. I’ve already talked some about self-discipline. In Chapter 2, I focus on self-awareness; avoiding artificial limits; courage, resilience, and persistence; and discipline and focus. In Chapter 3, I talk about how to develop yourself and use an explorer mentality. In Chapter 4, I discuss the planning tool called Vision-Strategy-Execution. Chapter 5 addresses the learner’s mindset, among other things. The central focus of Chapter 6 is how to use your VSE to develop a personal brand and network. In Chapter 7, I discuss building an attitude that supports you and how to use inside-out, outside-in thinking. In Chapter 8, I look at internal roadblocks and barriers and how to let them go. In Chapter 9, I return to planning and look at how you can use thoughtful planning to integrate important elements of work and life in a way that’s effective for you. And in the last chapter, I return to key aspects of all the skills and explore how to manage major workplace challenges such as discrimination or working with other people who aren’t like you.

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