You can reap the rewards with these simple attitude adjustments…
1. Stop, Collaborate And Listen
Heed the advice of that great HR guru Vanilla Ice: “Stop, collaborate and listen.” That means nurturing what’s known as emotional intelligence (EQ), which is your ability to be attuned to the needs, thoughts and desires of others as well as your own. While it might sound like New Age nonsense, decades of research points to EQ as being the crucial quality that leads to career success. TalentSmart, a company that supplies EQ testing to 75 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, surveyed 33 workplace skills and found EQ is the single strongest predictor of performance, explaining 58 per cent of success stories. It makes intuitive sense: you need to get along to get ahead.
2. Be A Man With A Plan
Your brain is a lot like Hannibal from The A-Team: it loves it when a plan comes together. Set yourself tangible and achievable goals—small, medium and large; short, medium and long-term. Do it often and write them down in a journal you keep with you. The more detail the better. Psychological studies have found that your brain thrives on the order of these to-do lists, partly because it treats them like a warm-up for the tasks ahead. Your work then becomes more manageable and achievable as you’ve already subconsciously broken it down and mapped out the necessary steps. There’s also a nice feedback loop, whereby the satisfaction of crossing off items from your to-do list stimulates your brain’s reward centres, making you actually want to achieve more. If you don’t finish everything on your list, don’t despair—just add it to the next one and strive harder.
3. Network Like You’re Dating
Back in the day, career networking was done at the water cooler, in the break room or the pub or club after work. You can still do all of that but it has its limitations, in terms of the people you can meet, the time, money and energy you spend and the opportunities you can encounter. Happily we now live in a Golden Age of digital networking, where millions of potential connections are at your fingertips, conveniently, at little to no cost, and with geographical distance and time zones no longer a barrier. But are you putting the best self(ie) forward? Would you post a blurry, eyes-closed photo of you in your “fat” shirt to Tinder or RSVP.com and hope to hook a hottie? No. So when using sites like LinkedIn you should do everything you can to seduce potential employers, collaborators or investors. Make sure they experience you at your peak. Get a professional photo taken. Remember the golden advice: dress like the boss. Make sure your CV is up to date, written in a style that suits your industry and is free of grammatical and spelling errors that might throw doubt on your perfectionism. Where possible, set your social networks to private if there’s anything you wouldn’t want a career contact to see, read or hear. Also: take the time to stay up to date with contacts and demonstrate EQ by taking an interest in their lives and careers.
4. Be A Value-Added Proposition
Don’t just do the bare minimum, whether you’re stocking shelves in a supermarket, working your way up the corporate ladder or starting up your own business. The term “value-added” applies here, however you see fit to apply it. There’s much to be said to being first into the office and last to leave. But there’s perhaps more to be said for producing in eight hours what it takes the next guy twice that time to churn out. Work hard. Work smart. Preferably both. Put your hand up for more. If you’re a solo contractor, think about creating a digital portal to showcase your talents, be it Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or a dedicated website. If you know a lot a particular industry, you might consider sharing that knowledge via a blog because today’s fans and followers can easily be converted into tomorrow’s clients and customers.
5. Fake It Until You Make It
Yep, it’s another pop culture catchphrase, but psychologists call it self-efficacy and… it works! Repeated studies have shown that test subjects who believe they can perform a task actually have a better chance of doing so than self-doubters. That also extends to your emotions. Psychology tells us the simple act of smiling lifts your emotions. The take away here is that by projecting confidence and positivity, you’re actually more likely to be confident and positive. So be keen, energetic and enthusiastic in whatever work you do and you’ll likely find your job becomes easier, more pleasurable and that you’ll enjoy more career success.