Has your career stalled? Are you feeling like you’re spinning your wheels, or worse, heading in a totally wrong direction? When we have meaningful work, we’re happier and more personally fulfilled. We want to be challenged, solve problems, create, learn and grow in our pursuits, but the bottom line is that we have to put in extra efforts beyond our standard job duties to make our work life more enjoyable. Here are just some of the many ways to put our best foot forward whether we’re in an entry-level job or we’re top tier management. The end result is less stress, more job satisfaction, improved relationships, and the potential for advancement and new opportunities (and higher pay!).
1. Actions speak louder than words
It’s important to act with integrity and commitment every day. We can’t go an extra foot – let alone an extra mile – if we’re unmotivated, unfocused or just plain miserable. Efforts do get noticed, as does a lack of effort. Take responsibility, be proactive, positive, and productive. If you’re feeling that your hard work isn’t getting noticed, keep a log of your accomplishments and praises. When you have a one-on-one, evaluation or annual review, you’ll have something to work off of to better note your strong performance.
2. Get involved
Instead of being voluntold to join a committee, go ahead and offer next time before you’re asked. Be a go-getter and view those tasks as opportunities to network, brainstorm, and innovate. People who are team players, who share the credit and invest in the company’s vision are more likely to advance.
3. Find a mentor
If you want to learn more and go further in your career, find a mentor to offer guidance, industry tips and career coaching. It can be someone you work with or external to your company. You can meet for the occasional breakfast before work, talk over coffee together, or have a video chat from wherever to stay connected.
4. Get to know your coworkers and your boss
You don’t need to be best buddies, but it’s important to build work relationships. For example, knowing more about what inspires your colleagues, their family or relationship status, if they commute, or if your boss is a morning person or not – this all helps us navigate our work environment a little better. It’s important to be kind and have each other’s backs in the workplace; it provides a cohesive, supportive vibe which helps propel us all forward in a more positive environment.
5. Keep learning
You can’t advance if you’re falling behind on technology or industry trends. Some places of work will finance and support job training and courses, while others may not. If you’re passionate about your future in a particular field, it’s up to you to take responsibility and learn as much as you can. Between industry newsletters, online resources, workshops, mentors or even a few night classes, staying current is an achievable task.
Finally, if you aren’t happy at your job and you don’t see a positive future for yourself there, go the extra mile and find something that suits you better. Take that energy and embark on an epic search for the perfect job. It’s out there…you just have to go after it! We all deserve to be happy in our personal life and our work life, so if you’re too stressed out, struggling or overwhelmed and your efforts to fix it haven’t worked, it may be time to move on. While our careers don’t define us, they certainly help to shape our reality. We feel better about ourselves when we’re engaged in putting our best foot forward. Let’s all dig in, roll up those sleeves and enjoy the benefits we reap when we give that extra effort.
“It’s never crowded along the extra mile.” –Wayne Dyer