How to achieve quick success at work even if you’re lacking in clear direction

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

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Designing your career can feel like an incredibly risky business. Having a good career coach by your side makes that challenge much more manageable. Whether you’ve ended up somewhere that feels like a dead end or you’re worried about the options ahead of you, taking the next step in your career is stressful.

Will you be able to handle a new position? What skills are you developing, and which are you neglecting? Which path is most viable, and which has the best financial incentive? A career coach won’t present you with the exact job opportunity you need at the right time, but they will help you answer all these questions, and more, that can help you create a roadmap for your future path.

Why Each of Us Needs a Career Coach

A career coach is helpful for someone looking to make a major change [1] in field, position or goal. This person will discuss with you your personal life goals outside of your career, and then discuss with you which careers are compatible with those goals, and which will require compromise. They will evaluate your personality and skills in order to determine which position best aligns with your talents, as well as which will demand things of you that you wouldn’t be able to provide.

Your career coach can help you design a path [2] and an ultimate map for your future, including identifying what steps you will need to take to get there, what skills you will need to improve, what training or education you should seek and what industry you can consider. And although a career coach won’t hand select jobs to you, they will help you navigate through the job hunting process. Your coach can offer tips for getting through interviews, a keen eye to go over your cover letter, resume and applications, and advice on where to hunt for good positions.

How Having a Coach Can Fast-Track Your Career Success

Making a major career change, whether it’s changing the role you take on or the industry you work in, can feel like an impossible struggle. Outside of college, you rarely get an easy opportunity to prepare yourself for entering an industry, which makes a mid-life change feel overwhelming. This is where a good career coach comes in. He can help you figure out how to make that transition between positions or industries, including learning what skills you can put forward, what you can do to improve your qualifications and where you can enter in the industry to begin your new path.

A career coach will not do your job search for you, will not personally network you into an industry and will not give you a magical leg up. If you aren’t trying to make a major career change, you likely don’t need their services – your own knowledge of the industry or position should be comparable to theirs, or a quick Google search about people in your field should answer your question.

How to Find a Career Coach Who Caters to Your Need

Once you’ve decided you want to make a change and begin the hunt [3] for a career coach, you must be on alert for scammers. Plenty of people are trying to sell you promises they can’t keep. Avoid career coaches who seem to have a plan for you before you tell them about yourself, as well as coaches who have no references to give.

Try networking around for a career coach among friends and associates, searching for recommendations and previous experiences. Since there are no specific qualifications to make someone a career coach, it is important that you know someone’s reputation in order to consider them as a coach. Don’t call up the first person you find on Google – look for recommendations, reviews, honest opinions and feedback from your industry, community or connections. Look for news about your coach, their presence on social media and on the internet in general

Your coach’s personality will play a major factor in how comfortable you are with them, so feel free to request an informal conversation or interview before committing to anyone, but a career coach’s time is valuable – payments can run up to $300 per hour – so most will likely not give you too much free time to talk about yourself before you’ll have to start paying.

Don’t expect face to face meetings with your coach – many prefer internet or phone conversations nowadays. This gives you more freedom, however, to find a coach that fits well with you and understands your goals. Finally, don’t expect the process of working with your coach to be quick. You shouldn’t expect your coach to place you in a new career in a few weeks – the average relationship lasts six months to a year. This is about redesigning your career. It takes time.

There’s a lot of discussion about what makes a person successful. Some say it’s the people you know or your network. Others say it’s all about how you organize your day and your priorities. Others say it’s innate personality characteristics.

All of the things listed above are extremely important. And, we wanted to know what really creates true greatness in people—where their work is so good that they win awards for it. We conducted a research project—drawing from data pool of more than 1 million cases of work around the world, we analyzed a sample of 10,000 to find out what people were doing that made their work great. What we found was, well, unexpected. It turns out innate personality traits have little to do with our potential for greatness. It’s not about who we are, or what we were born to become. Being destined for greatness is actually much more interesting than that—because our research clearly showed, it’s not about who you are, but instead what you do that makes you great.

Our research shows that if you do these five things, you’re most likely to achieve greatness.

1. You don’t settle for average.

You’re the type that is consistently hunting for new ways to solve a problem or self-improve. You don’t sit still. You’re passionately adding or subtracting something from products, processes, or procedure to make them better. You tweak. You tinker. And, you’re completely adamant that you can improve something. In fact, the research shows that work is considered three times more important if something has been changed—something is added, or something is removed.

2. You ask game-changing questions.

If you’re the curious type who’s always challenging the status-quo by asking questions like, “Why don’t we…? What if we looked at this differently? What if…?” then you’re probably destined for greatness. It’s no coincidence that challenging, questions are the building blocks of great work. In fact, 88% of people who win awards for their work start projects by asking a very simple, yet altering question, “What difference could I make that others would love?” You can read the research here.

3. You’re willing to see it through until the end.

Call it gumption or stubbornness or grit. People destined for greatness know exactly when to quit—only when they’ve found success. You have the patience to see something through to the end. You remain focused and dedicated to achieve a result. And, even through the tough times, you 100% believe a breakthrough is around the corner. In fact, 90% of work that wins awards involves employees who remain involved with a project from implementation to completion.

4. You must see your work being received.

Forget humility or hiding in the background. People bound for greatness want to see how the recipients of their work respond to it—whether it be a boss, a coworker, or a customer. And, they aren’t chasing a boost to their ego. Instead, they’re looking for clues on how they can continuously improve. If they produce products, they want to see how a person uses it and responds to it. If they’re creating processes, they want to see if it improves or complicates the recipient’s life or work. In fact, our research shows that employees who go see how their work is being received are seventeen times more likely to be passionate about their work.

5. You ask for help and input…from obscure sources.

It may sound odd, but this aspect of our research blew our minds. People who win awards for their work do something that is hard for many of us to imagine—they seek input, ideas, and help from people who have no connection to their work. Strange, right? But, consider this. Award-winning workers want to find different, and even opposing, perspectives about their ideas. In fact, we found that 72% of award-winning workers talk to, and ask opinions of, people who aren’t in their inner circle.

Do any of the above feel familiar? If so, you’re on the right path and destined for greatness at work even though you didn’t realize it. However, if none of these feel familiar, we challenge you to try a few. See what happens. And, when you get results (because you will) please share it with us.

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

Science tells us that failing’s a good thing. Your mother told you it was okay to fail and start again. Sports stars are filled with failure to succeed stories to help pump you up. Still feels lousy.

If your big dreams are honest and you can feel them deep in your bones, then failure is not an option.

However, if your big dreams are merely ones to get roses thrown at your feet, to please someone else or get a throne of gold and lots of money, you may need to re-calibrate.

In our lives, there are usually two, maybe three big dreams per person that are the fuel to move our engines to success. Here is a way to know.

Go back and think about what you loved to do when you were six or eight or eleven. Were you the creative type, mixing water color paints and splashing them on the walls of your room? Or the athletic one who took that football and tried hard not to break the window in the family room as you threw it to an invisible receiver for a touchdown? Or was science your passion as you concocted magical new formulas to save mankind and used the family dog as your research project?

It’s when we forget about our own hopes and dreams and end up going to school (or dropping out of school) to please someone else that the sabotage starts.

Yes, we create self-sabotage.

To get to the core of your real purpose, your real work you need to do some peeling back of all the “ought to” and “should” sentences you heard on the path to your promised life.

The Remembering Exercise: Get out a pad of paper and a pen. Go back, remember, and write. What made you smile as a kid, what could you do for hours and be in the flow, how did you express yourself at home and at school and with friends. Notice what lit your fire.

Watch What You Say: When you’re being negative, stop. Then ask why what you’re doing is making you feel so disappointed, disgusted, disagreeable. If you say the same things over and over you’re in the world of patterned responses. This means you’re unhappy because what you’re doing is not your dream.

Use Your Sense(s): Take an hour and plan your perfect goal, your perfect life scenario. Go ahead, you are the writer, director, and actor in this play. Then, in a room away from the maddening crowds, act it out. Use all your senses. You’ve got to feel it, hear it, see it, even taste it, and yes, even smell it. This should take you anywhere from two minutes to ten minutes. Then get up and get going. Don’t talk about it. Just let it sit, like a seed that needs sunshine and rain and time.

Find Support: Find people with interests that mirror yours. Join a club, a theater group, a choral group, a running group. Get to where there are those who have the same passions. Listen first and then talk about your dreams. This is the way to keep what you want front and center.

Celebrate: The good times are easy. Also, celebrate the tough times. Each step toward your goal matters. See failure as “feedback from the universe.” There’s lots to learn so pay attention.

Change Course: Goals and success are circuitous. No such thing as a straight line through a fulfilling life. Maybe what’s in your life blueprint needs some adjustment. Go in other directions to find the right road for you. Hint: it is, as poet Robert Frost suggests. often the road less traveled.

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For many of us, walking into the first day of work at a new job is a nerve-wracking experience.

There are so many new people to meet. So many tools and processes to get acquainted with. And the hard truth is, roughly 30% of new hires don’t stick around after 90-days.

But settling into a new job doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. In fact, if you take initiative and work with your hiring manager, you can get off to a fast start that leaves you feeling comfortable and confident in your role.

Here’s how to settle in as quickly as possible:

1. Get clear on expectations

Your first week at a new company is foundational.

During this time, it’s essential that you understand the product, role, and internal tooling. But it’s also important that you use that first week to look ahead and learn where you’re expected to be 30, 60, and 90 days in. Best case scenario, your manager already has a 90-day performance plan in place, with clear expectations set. But it doesn’t always work out that way.

One of our candidates at Edvo told me she once showed up for her first day at a company, and no one knew why she or the 10 other people in her cohort were even there. The recruiter who hired them had left the company—and apparently hadn’t communicated very well. The new hires ended up spending their first day in a conference room with zero direction or understanding of what they were supposed to be doing.

If you find yourself in a new job without guidance, then you have to be assertive and ask questions to get clarity on what’s expected of you. Ask your manager if you can build a performance plan with them so that you’re both on the same page as far as your progress is concerned.

The sooner you know what’s expected of you, the sooner you can begin exceeding those expectations.

2: Know your goal

Having a performance plan in place is great, but it only gives you a direction—it doesn’t tell you the final destination.

You still need to ask your manager one very simple question: “By the end of my training period, what’s the one goal we want to achieve together?”

Once you know the goal, write it down and work backward to figure out how you can achieve it. For instance, in order to hit that goal by the 90-day mark, what do you need to accomplish by week one? By week two? Week eight? Then, organize your actions around that plan.

Without a clear goal in place, it’s easy to start working haphazardly on different projects or training materials, which makes the onboarding period chaotic and less productive.

Instead, work with your manager to figure out your North Star—and then orient your work around reaching it.

3: Learn your teammates’ working styles

Settling into a new role takes more than simply knowing your goal. There’s a human element involved that you can’t ignore.

Since our team at Edvo is relatively small, I suggest that every new hire finds time to get coffee with everyone on the team. But even if you work in a large, corporate environment, you should make it a priority to grab coffee or lunch with the people you’ll be working with directly. Get a feel for everyone’s personalities and try to learn a little about how they like to work.

You can even ask people to share their working styles. For example, everyone on our team fills out a one-page template called “How to work with me,” which is shared internally. It includes information like:

  • Working hours
  • Best way to communicate with me
  • What I’d love to help you with
  • What makes me grumpy/happy
  • How I like to give/receive feedback

People love to talk about their work with someone who’s genuinely interested. And as a new hire, you’re in a prime position to learn from them.

Beyond one-on-one conversations, be sure to take full advantage of new hire events, buddy systems, or any other type of initiatives that help new employees get settled. If nothing is offered, take action and get people together for a happy hour after work. During my first week at Northwestern Mutual, for example, I sent a quick email out to colleagues to grab tapas after work. I was nervous that no one would show up, but of the 12 people invited, 7 came! And it started a bi-weekly happy hour tradition.

The sooner you can start making yourself a part of the office culture, the better.

4: Realize it’s okay to be nervous

No matter what you do to prepare, you’re almost certainly going to have some butterflies in your stomach when you start your new job.

Just keep one thing in mind—nervousness and excitement are the same emotion but with different applications. The only difference is the lens through which you’re viewing that emotion. If you walk into a situation with a negative mentality, worried about what might go wrong, then you’ll be nervous and uptight.

But if you walk in with a positive mindset, then you can channel your emotions into excitement. You may still have some butterflies, but you won’t have the same tense, nervous outlook on the situation.

If you’re not sure you can make that mindset shift, try repeating this to yourself before you walk in on the first day: “I’m excited to see where this takes me.”

When you start looking at your new job as an exciting opportunity, rather than an overwhelming obstacle, you up your chances of quickly getting comfortable with your coworkers and crushing the first few months of your job. And that mindset is what really sets you up for long-term success.

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

Franchise Your Business

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

There’s a saying that goes “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” As it turns out, this adage provides sage wisdom for advancement in business, too.

It’s a simple fact: you’ll never get ahead in business or as an entrepreneur if you don’t develop the ability to think for yourself. If you’re always following others, you’ll never be able to make intelligent decisions for yourself, which will limit your potential for growth.

So how can you begin to develop a sense of self sufficiency? Here are seven tips for how to think for yourself in business:

1. Develop a mission statement.

If you want to learn how to think for yourself, this is a great starting point. Ask yourself this: what do you really want out of life and your career?

Take some time to consider what you want to achieve through your work. Along with personal goals, this can give you not only motivation, but direction as well. Your mission statement is basically an encapsulation of your overarching career goals. For instance, I’m a professional trader and teacher, so my mission statement might include the desire to teach others how to trade in a no-nonsense and practical way.

Your mission statement can be like your north star when it comes to career decisions, because you can always ask yourself if going in one direction or another is really aligned with your long term goals. This often can make decisions easier and can help you remain consistent as a professional.

2. Educate yourself.

When it comes to learning to think independently, education is key. It’s only when you’ve amassed your own encyclopedia of knowledge that you have data to filter back through and use to help inform your future direction. The more you know, the more you’re able to make educated decisions about all sorts of things. This means that you’ll be better able to take risks, try new things, and develop a sense of entrepreneurialism.

Dedicate yourself to learning all that you can — not just about your career sector, but about people, the world, and life at large. It will serve you in ways you can’t even know.

3. Get a network.

Let’s get one thing straight. Thinking for yourself doesn’t mean that you’re a lone wolf doing everything all the time. In fact, seeking connection and even advice from others can help give you direction and guidance that can help you develop a better sense of self in business.

A mentor can be invaluable in this regard. By consulting with a mentor or someone further along in your field than you, you can learn a lot about the process of growing in your field and receive relevant, sound advice that can point you in the right directions.

Networking with your peers can also be invaluable. By seeking connection with others in your field, you can observe what others are doing, which can be very informative. For instance, it can help you adopt the good habits of successful people, and also help you avoid certain behaviors that you recognize as counterproductive in others. By learning from and observing others, you can further develop a strong sense of self possession.

4. Step outside of your comfort zone.

By definition, it will be uncomfortable to step outside of your comfort zone.

For example, if your goal is to open a business, it might require that you reach out to potential investors. That might feel uncomfortable to you, but it’s only by stepping out of your comfort zone and doing this that you’ll actually be able to get your project off the ground.

Taking risks and trying new things can be defining. These moments tell you a lot about yourself, including areas where you might be stronger than you think and reveal areas where you could use some help strengthening your weaknesses. By continuing to work on yourself, you’ll be better able to think for yourself in business.

5. Learn from your mistakes.

Mistakes are inevitable. But that doesn’t mean you should throw up your hands and give up on the whole enterprise. Actually, mistakes can be hugely helpful to your career. if you learn from them, that is.

Making a mistake gives you direction for how you shouldn’t proceed in the future. This can be helpful in the future, because you can avoid going down similar roads that can hinder your progress. Take a step back and learn from your mistakes. Over time, this allows you to independently navigate the waters of business with more confidence, because you’ll get stronger over time.

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

Franchise Your Business

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

Do you want to be successful in your career? Most people will answer “yes” to this question, but few people actually take the time to consider what they need to do to become successful. They don’t even think about what they could be doing differently to actively improve their career.

Happily, success doesn’t have to be an intangible thing or a roll of the dice. There are specific things that you can do on a daily basis to cultivate a more successful career. Here are my top seven tips for career success:

1. Be willing to work hard.

You may have heard the saying “action follows intention.” This means that before you can even hope to find success in your given field, you need to be ready and willing to do what it takes to get there.

This might sound like a small thing, but just the willingness to work hard can have a powerful impact on your career.

In essence, you’re putting yourself in the right mindset to succeed. When you’re willing to work hard, you’re more likely to proactively do the work necessary to set yourself apart from the pack. As leadership expert Robin Sharma said, “If you want to have the results only 5 percent have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5 percent do and think.”

If you’re not willing to do what it takes, then you really need to ask yourself if you’re on the right path.

2. Set goals.

Goals are incredibly important in helping you attain success. How so?

First off, goals help you define what success means to you. This will be different for everyone. For example, success to one person might mean a CEO position at a Fortune 500 company; for someone else, it might simply mean being able to pay off college loans and support a growing family without debt.

Second, by setting goals based on your definition of success, you instill yourself with a powerful source of motivation. By establishing bigger life goals, you can begin to break them down into more manageable and actionable goals. Simply put, goals help you create your own path.

3. Get a mentor.

Do not underestimate the power of mentorship. Some of the highest achievers in history, from businesspeople to artists to entrepreneurs, have sought out the guidance of a mentor. A mentor is further along in their career than you, and can offer insight, guidance, and advice that is worth its weight in gold.

They have gone through their own process of building a career similar to what you aspire to and can offer sage advice from a place of knowledge that can be particularly relevant to helping you grow. A mentor’s guidance can deter you from taking dead ends in your career and help keep you on track to succeed. While simply having a mentor won’t make or break you, it can absolutely help you attain success faster.

4. Surround yourself with successful people.

We are the sum of the people we spend time with. So if you’re spending time with a crew of your college bros who sit around all day playing video games and eating pizza, do you really think you’re setting yourself up for career success?

If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people who you aspire to be like. Go to networking events, request meetings, and get to know the movers and shakers in your industry and related fields. Not only will they inspire you to improve, but since business is so relationship based, these networking efforts can really open doors.

5. Set a routine.

Plenty of people complain about not having enough time to do all they need to do. Unfortunately, this is generally due to poor time management. While it may not match your ideal of the jet-setting entrepreneur lifestyle, the truth is that success rewards routine. Having a set routine for your day can be extremely helpful in allowing you to complete tasks and pursue high level achievements.

For instance, one common routine of successful people is to wake up early so that they can meditate, answer emails, or work out–basically, so that they can have some quiet time in the beginning of the day so that they can focus on work when it’s time to get going.

What works for you as a routine may depend on various factors such as the industry you work in and other time constraints. But setting a schedule and sticking to it as well as you can generally helps make you more efficient at completing tasks, which can help you succeed in the long term.

6. Have regular check-ins with yourself.

In the workplace, you have yearly reviews. Yet individuals rarely perform such check-in with themselves.

Every now and again — it might be monthly, weekly, or even daily–have a little status report with yourself. Think about things like how you’re doing on working toward your goals, and considering whether you need to adjust your goals so that they continue to inspire and motivate you.

Consider what you could be doing differently or the areas where you could use some improvement. By taking the time to be present with yourself like this, you’ll develop a better sense of self awareness and direction in your career.

7. Always keep improving.

Never, ever settle for just good enough. If you want to be successful in your career, you have to commit to self improvement.

No, this doesn’t mean you have to be constantly self critical. While it’s important to be kind to yourself, you also have to be able to admit where you could use a little work, and to be willing to take the action needed to strengthen your weaknesses.

By continuing to learn and grow, not only will you be a more well rounded employee or entrepreneur, but you’ll also remain more mentally flexible and be better able to deal with changes and advances as they come. Since the only real constant is change, this is a valuable practice!

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

Franchise Your Business

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

There’s a saying that goes “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” As it turns out, this adage provides sage wisdom for advancement in business, too.

It’s a simple fact: you’ll never get ahead in business or as an entrepreneur if you don’t develop the ability to think for yourself. If you’re always following others, you’ll never be able to make intelligent decisions for yourself, which will limit your potential for growth.

So how can you begin to develop a sense of self sufficiency? Here are seven tips for how to think for yourself in business:

1. Develop a mission statement.

If you want to learn how to think for yourself, this is a great starting point. Ask yourself this: what do you really want out of life and your career?

Take some time to consider what you want to achieve through your work. Along with personal goals, this can give you not only motivation, but direction as well. Your mission statement is basically an encapsulation of your overarching career goals. For instance, I’m a professional trader and teacher, so my mission statement might include the desire to teach others how to trade in a no-nonsense and practical way.

Your mission statement can be like your north star when it comes to career decisions, because you can always ask yourself if going in one direction or another is really aligned with your long term goals. This often can make decisions easier and can help you remain consistent as a professional.

2. Educate yourself.

When it comes to learning to think independently, education is key. It’s only when you’ve amassed your own encyclopedia of knowledge that you have data to filter back through and use to help inform your future direction. The more you know, the more you’re able to make educated decisions about all sorts of things. This means that you’ll be better able to take risks, try new things, and develop a sense of entrepreneurialism.

Dedicate yourself to learning all that you can — not just about your career sector, but about people, the world, and life at large. It will serve you in ways you can’t even know.

3. Get a network.

Let’s get one thing straight. Thinking for yourself doesn’t mean that you’re a lone wolf doing everything all the time. In fact, seeking connection and even advice from others can help give you direction and guidance that can help you develop a better sense of self in business.

A mentor can be invaluable in this regard. By consulting with a mentor or someone further along in your field than you, you can learn a lot about the process of growing in your field and receive relevant, sound advice that can point you in the right directions.

Networking with your peers can also be invaluable. By seeking connection with others in your field, you can observe what others are doing, which can be very informative. For instance, it can help you adopt the good habits of successful people, and also help you avoid certain behaviors that you recognize as counterproductive in others. By learning from and observing others, you can further develop a strong sense of self possession.

4. Step outside of your comfort zone.

By definition, it will be uncomfortable to step outside of your comfort zone.

For example, if your goal is to open a business, it might require that you reach out to potential investors. That might feel uncomfortable to you, but it’s only by stepping out of your comfort zone and doing this that you’ll actually be able to get your project off the ground.

Taking risks and trying new things can be defining. These moments tell you a lot about yourself, including areas where you might be stronger than you think and reveal areas where you could use some help strengthening your weaknesses. By continuing to work on yourself, you’ll be better able to think for yourself in business.

5. Learn from your mistakes.

Mistakes are inevitable. But that doesn’t mean you should throw up your hands and give up on the whole enterprise. Actually, mistakes can be hugely helpful to your career. if you learn from them, that is.

Making a mistake gives you direction for how you shouldn’t proceed in the future. This can be helpful in the future, because you can avoid going down similar roads that can hinder your progress. Take a step back and learn from your mistakes. Over time, this allows you to independently navigate the waters of business with more confidence, because you’ll get stronger over time.

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

Achieving our goals is seldom easy. It’s why knowing how to stay motivated is so incredibly important when it comes to getting what we want in the long term. And in a world with more distractions than ever before — from non-stop web access to constant texting — it can be all the harder to stay focused and productive and not just give in to what’s easier in the moment.

I’ve often struggled with motivation, whether it’s been related to my career, my health, or just getting better at a hobby I enjoy. And while it’s not always the biggest deal (it’s not really all that vital that I learn to play my favorite song on the ukulele by my birthday), sometimes it really worries me. I don’t want to be filled with regret at some point down the line because I didn’t follow through on something I really wanted, and I also don’t want to feel like I failed at achieving the things that are important to me, all because I couldn’t figure out how to stay motivated.

Because this is a topic that matters to me, I delved into some pretty serious online research, as well as checked in with an expert, to find the absolute best ways to stay motivated in life. If you’re looking for ways to help yourself achieve your goals, here are 11 tips that should help.

1. Don’t Assume Money Will Motivate You

In an interview with Bustle over email, motivational trainer (plus business and life coach) Karen Strunks says, “Many people think money alone will be enough to motivate them, and whilst that may do so initially, it’s very hard to sustain financial motivation if the work you are doing actually drags. If you do that type of work for long enough you will find that no amount of money is worth swapping parts of your life in activities that aren’t aligned with who you are and what truly is your passion and mission in life.” So first things first, be true to yourself when it comes to setting goals!

2. Make Sure They’re Your Goals

And on that note, Strunks also says that, “One of the biggest challenges in staying motivated and sticking to our goals is in making sure that the goals we have set our ones we really want to attain.” She went on to note, “Sometimes we set goals based on what we think we ‘should’ do. Or we base them on what other people say.” Make sure you’re going after something that you want and that makes you happy — it can make all the difference.

3. Visualize The Results

According to a piece featured on Forbes about staying motivated, it’s important to visualize the end result and what it will feel like when you’ve achieved your end goal. This means visualizing the sweat on your back, the feeling of relief, the utter excitement — this is what will fuel you on days when you don’t feel like working.

4. Break The Goal Down Into Smaller Pieces

The same Forbes compilation piece recommended breaking your goals down into smaller, more task-oriented goals — and set target deadline for those tasks. For example. if your goal is “re-organize my entire closet,” start by saying, “First I’m going to tackle the shoes, then the belts, then the winter coats in the back,” etc. This method can make even the biggest task feel more manageable.

5. Tap Into Other People’s Energy

In a piece for Inc, small business advisor Marla Tabaka stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with positive thinkers who emanate positive energy. “Do you have people in your life who can engage in stimulating conversation about business or the other things that you’re passionate about? As human beings we give and receive energy and inspiration. Make sure you are receiving as much, or more, than you are handing out,” Tabaka wrote.

6. Get Organized

Tabaka also recommended taking time to sit down and organize your thoughts. “When I’m working on a big project, nothing zaps my energy more than an over-stimulated, cluttered mind,” she wrote. So instead, sit down and move the process from your head to an actual organized list, or talk out what you’re thinking with a trusted friend (or both). Then schedule specific times to complete each task. This is key to getting what you want.

7. Keep The Big Picture In Mind

One of my favorite YouTube personalities, Tessa Violet, stressed the importance of keeping your “top tier” goal in mind at all times, even when doing the less pleasant, more menial tasks related to it. That way, she said, “If you’re having a week where you feel like [you’re’] not motivated to do the work, you remember, ‘My goal isn’t about finishing the work. My goal is about something bigger.'”

8. Don’t Worry About What You Can’t Control

In a piece for The Huffington Post, life coach Stacia Pierce said to “take control of what you can, and don’t worry about what you can’t.” So if you often find yourself paralyzed with the “what ifs” (as in, “What if I write this and no one reads it,” “What if I don’t get accepted into the program,” etc, etc) let it go and just focus on turning out quality work.

9. Seek Out Positive Information

Pierce also recommended reading or listening to positive information every single day. “If you fill your mind with uplifting and inspiring information, it will keep you motivated. Go to the bookstore or library today and find at least one book on a positive topic that will give you a boost. You need constant reminders telling you that you are capable of achievement,” she wrote.

10. Remind Yourself Why You Set The Goal

In a piece for Tiny Buddha, integrated channeler Maria Moraca said that when things feel overwhelming, just take a few moments to sit back and remind yourself why you chose your path in the first place. Was it to help people? Was it because you knew your end goal would lead to long term happiness, even if it was short term work? This can always help you find clarity in the worst moments.

11. Be Consistent

And finally, Strunks also stressed the importance of being consistent with your work, writing, “take consistent action every single day.” This means that even if you’re totally not in the mood, do one small proactive thing that will move you towards your ultimate goal — even if it’s just a tweet.

Staying motivated is absolutely within your reach — it’s often just about keeping your end goal in mind and breaking down the larger end result into manageable smaller steps. Remember — you can do it!

This article was originally published on July 20, 2016

How to achieve quick success at work even if you're lacking in clear direction

You can only successfully make the sound of a vowel, specifically the A, E, I, O, and U sounds, when the vocal path is unobstructed. That’s what I want to help you do with your career: open the pathway to success. Whether you’re at the bottom of the totem pole or have reached a plateau in your current role, implementing the A-E-I-O-U’s of success into your everyday work-life will increase your opportunities for professional growth.

A is for Ask

Ask if there is anything else you can help with. Ask how you’re doing on a project or with a certain skill. Ask to be included in a meeting. Ask for more training. Your superiors won’t know you’re hungry for growth and interested in being more involved unless you ask to be. Even if you’ve decided this isn’t the particular company you want to be with long-term, getting more involved and learning all you can where you are will increase your experience and ability to manage similar tasks or situations in future roles.

E is for Extend

Oftentimes, competitive industries expect their workers to “go the extra mile” in order to just be considered competent. To really stand out, you must extend beyond what is expected of you. Don’t just complete the task in front of you, go out of your way to make sure it’s done better than anyone else around you could have done it. Do background research. Be more thorough than you think you need to be. Leave zero doubts in the minds of your subordinates and superiors that you are capable of efficiently and effectively getting the job done. Once people see how far you can go, everyone else will come up short.

I is for Initiative

Take initiative! If you see a need that isn’t being met, go meet it or bring it to the attention of someone who can. So many people in the workforce are just waiting their turn, but you won’t get ahead if you don’t take action. Do things without having to be asked—even minor things. If you see trash on the ground on a worksite, pick it up and throw it away. Those little gestures make an impact on those who are paying attention.

Taking initiative requires having a thorough understanding of your role and how it fits into the larger picture. If you’re not sure what your boundaries are and how far you’re allowed to go with this one, refer back to the letter “A”—ask. Your boss will be pleased that you’re showing interest.

O is for Offer

Make yourself available when needed. Do not discriminate between work-related projects . Open yourself up for every opportunity, not just the opportunities that you suspect will be successful or glamourous. When there is an opportunity to come in early and help set up for a work event—jump at it! Making yourself available for the seemingly less desirable shifts, in addition to the exciting ones, demonstrates your willingness to grow and your dedication to the company.

Remember that everything builds experience. Smaller projects often teach skills that will be useful or give insight into bigger projects down the road. If your hand is the one that keeps shooting up to volunteer, eventually management will just start looking in your direction when they need someone to take the lead.

U is for Update

Keep your supervisors in the loop. Newbies to the workforce are often advised to communicate laterally to best accomplish tasks and work effectively within a team or office environment, but upward communication is equally as important. Update superiors on what you’ve accomplished, don’t make them guess. If there are some stats on a project that you’re proud of, send off a quick quip to your boss: “I thought you would like to know that Project A was successful in gaining more leads for the sales team!” Those simple updates let them know how you are managing the work they’ve assigned and keep your progress at the forefront of their mind. Making management aware of your progress builds their trust in you as an employee and reminds them how efficient of a worker you are.

And sometimes Y, too

Y is for YOU! Don’t be afraid to be friendly and show some personality. People want to be able to relate to those they work with every day. Come out from under your cloak of invisibility and establish a presence in the office. Be personable and initiate casual conversations at the water cooler. By allowing your coworkers to get to know you, and putting in the effort to get to know them, you become more than just “Bob who sits in the corner,” you become a trusted ally. The people working right beside you could be some of your greatest, untapped resources in growing professionally and learning more about the business you’re in. Go grab a seat next to them in the lunchroom and get to know them—teamwork makes the dream work!

Vowels are the pillars upon which the English language rests. If you include the letter “y,” every word in the English language contains at least one vowel. They are versatile; their function changes according to their pairings with other letters and depending on the context in which they are being used. If you removed every vowel, from every word in this text, you might still be able to understand it, but it would take you at least twice as long to get through. Similar to the presence of vowels in a word, the use of the A-E-I-O-U pillars will clarify your purpose at work and move you quickly along, down the road to success in your career.