How Can I Improve My Career Growth?
It might seem counter productive to be talking about how to improve career growth in the current environment. People may have lost their jobs, had to change jobs or are just hanging on to the jobs they have.
The bad news can become overwhelming if we do not consciously choose to stop giving it too much attention. Rather than dwelling on what you cannot control, why not use this time to actively look at how you can better yourself at work or perhaps even secure more fulfilling work.
In fact this is the perfect time to focus on learning new skills, re-evaluate your career development or even go all the way to change careers. Sometimes a crisis is the very catalyst that gives us a much-needed boost to lead us to a brand new career.
If you are lucky enough to be in the right job and you are happy where you are, it is the perfect time to upgrade yourself in preparation for further career development.
So what is career growth? It may appear that the terms career growth and career development are used interchangeably, but they are really two different processes. It is useful to know the difference and it certainly pays to address them equally, to get the best possible outcome i.e. the most successful version of you.
Career growth is all about moving up the corporate ladder, focusing on set goals and being strategic while you are at it. Career development involves honing your skills and talent, making qualitative changes that are transformative, and becoming an expert in your field. The focus is on the “how” of achieving such development.
NLP for career development and career growth offers a great perspective on areas that might be lacking. It highlights gaps which then assist in setting career goals for you to work towards. These are four areas I have chosen to give you the best leverage.
1. Evaluate Your State
I cannot emphasise enough, the value of exploring and acknowledging where you stand right now in terms of your career development. Becoming aware of your internal emotional condition, or what is known as state in NLP, allows you to be results-focused and achieve what you set out to.
It is the norm for a significant percentage of employees to be on auto pilot. From day-to-day getting on with the task at hand, without much reflection. With rarely an insight on what it all means, it is living direction-less with no purpose in sight.
An NLP coach could help gain crucial insights on states of mind in relation to your career. Do you feel heavy when you think about going to work? Is there an overwhelming pressure that pounds in your head? Do you feel that your office life is colourless? Is your internal dialogue saying that what you do is meaningless?
Becoming aware of your state is already half the battle won. You cannot fix something if you do not know it needs fixing. So hiring an NLP coach to accurately diagnose what is going on with your state is well worth the time and effort. It saves you stress and time. It allows you to start from a definite point. Once you gain this insight, the rest is just a matter of using the right tools to switch to more helpful states of mind.
2. Examine your core values
If you are someone with a clear understanding of your core values, give yourself a pat on the back. Sadly, a large percentage of people go through their entire life, not giving their values a second thought. This is detrimental because known or unknown, our core values drive our behaviour.
Often, conflicts within your career could be due to a misalignment of core values. I recall a friend who had the belief that banks were only out to get people’s money. Despite achieving a high position within the industry she was very unhappy.
Examining her values, she found that her core value of freedom was in conflict with rigid terms of contracts that did not give people choices. Reflect upon your core values and check if they are aligned with your career.
There is a long list and here are some common ones - reliability, loyalty, authenticity, commitment, open-mindedness, fairness, consistency and honesty.
If you do not know how to go about it, attend an NLP course. You will have the experience of eliciting your core values, to understand them in greater depth. Not only will it greatly improve career growth, it will also be invaluable in your personal life.
3. Build your flexibility muscle
The most successful people are the ones with the greatest behavioural flexibility. This is a brilliant NLP success belief. If world leaders could practise this, there would be fewer conflicts. Just imagine what it could do for you, in your career.
Being flexible is not about compromising your values or just going along with the crowd. It is about looking at a situation and determining behaviours that will serve you well. It is about changing your behaviour to adapt to the situation at hand.
Done with the right intent, it highlights more choices on how to respond and helps create better rapport at the work place. So for example, if you are at a cross roads in your career path, be open to other paths. If you have taken action towards a goal which failed, find another way of getting there.
Behavioural flexibility is inter-related to states and core values. You may have come across a bossy manager, manipulative supervisor or timid colleague. These are all labels earned, from set ways of thinking and core values that drive their behaviour.
If you are open to exploring an NLP course to learn more about how you can improve career growth, that is behavioural flexibility in operation.
4. Take charge
Do you take responsibility for your career growth and career development or have you left it to your organisation? Do you blame your boss or colleagues for everything that goes wrong? Or do you accept the part that you played in the situation? In other words, are you actively managing your career growth or leaving it to the forces at play?
When you are taking charge of your career, you accept responsibility for whatever happens and cause results. When you are at effect, you do not initiate anything and have the tendency to blame others. If you want to feel empowered at work (or life in general for that matter), be at the cause of your career development and growth. Do not be at the mercy of others, for you will be disappointed.
One of my NLP practitioners not only found ways to get a raise, she also knew how to come to an arrangement with her boss for flexible hours and change terms of her contract. All with this one success belief! A huge win don't you think?
So when you walk into your office next, ponder over this. Do you want to be in charge of your internal state, live by your core values and have more choices for you to improve career growth? Or would you rather leave it to chance?
Sylvia Fernandes is the Founder & CEO of VIA Frontiers. She is a Master Trainer of NLP who is specialised in corporate applications. She started her business in Sydney in 2002 and has been operating in the Asia Pacific Region ever since. She is currently based in Singapore. She is also the author of Bye Bye Black Cat -- Turn Your Luck Around and Realise Opportunities. Visit VIA Frontiers for more information.
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.