The average career-minded professional spends a good amount of time in the proverbial work "rat race," circling "the wheel" or climbing "the ladder," trying to "arrive" at her/his final career destination. For some of you, it's the big promotion to an esteemed leadership position within your organization. For others, it's attracting more clients, making more money, traveling abroad, and/or living a financially-free lifestyle. Whatever your destination may be, there seems to be nothing more gratifying than the moment you can say, "I've arrived!"
Now, what? You sit back and relax, as well as survey your new destination with pure satisfaction, right? Perhaps. For some of you, however, your survey findings may reveal that while your bags dedicated to financial freedom, external status, and promotion by title have arrived, your emotional and/or interpersonal bags are still at home. Or, worse yet, you discover that the latter bags were never packed in the first place! In other words, you realize that your outward career development far exceeds your inward character development.
Now, before you descend too far into the depths of self-judgment, let me ease the blow of this realization a bit. We, career-minded professionals, are constantly bombarded by messages in society that center our minds on what it means to "arrive" in our respective careers. We live in a "get rich quick" society, where the means to a successful "arrival" are non-stop working, interpersonal and "self" sacrifice, and impression management (that is, effort dedicated to managing how others perceive us, as opposed to revealing our true flawed selves).
The wonderful news is that, despite our societal programming, we have the ability to pack (or re-pack) our emotional and interpersonal bags! Oh, yes - these pieces can catch up to our career "arrival" and make it to our final destination ... if we take the time to employ a few simple strategies.
Here they are ...
Get grounded. Connect with family and friends who really know you and can help you maintain balance as your career progresses. All too often, we lose sight of how critical our relationships are, from an interpersonal and emotional perspective. Engaging with those who know and love you at your core will help you remain focused on what really matters at the end of the workday. This will, in turn, prevent you from getting stuck in your "career cloud," if you will.
Seek emotional support. Don't be afraid to ask for help, either informally or professionally. Career "arrival" can be overwhelming, exciting, and frightening all at once! Should you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on, reach out without hesitation. What you will likely discover is that you are not alone on the path to your final destination.
Own your insecurities and work to manage them. Accept the fact that you are insecure in certain areas. On second thought, don't just accept your insecurities ... embrace them! It's interesting that what we consider to be "negatives" within our character often turn out to be "positives" to others around us. Everyone (you, me, and "them") has insecurities! So, rather than using all of your energy to hide them, explore ways to use them to your advantage in your career.
Chart your emotional course. This is a great way to self-reflect, as well as acknowledge areas where you have grown. I know, I know ... some of you think I'm suggesting that you journal. Well, if the shoe fits! Actually, taking the time to jot down your reactions to your career "arrival" can be quite beneficial. How neat it would be for you to discover ways you have developed emotionally, interpersonally, and professionally along your career journey! What a confidence booster!
Don't get caught up in the hype. While your career is important, you must recognize that your personal growth and development is far more valuable in the long-run. While I understand the push to "arrive" professionally, remember that what will keep you in the "career game" is your character. Don't be fooled by the illusion of professional success ... character does, in fact, go a long way!
Explore opportunities for personal growth and development. Be sure to carve out time for YOU throughout your career journey. As you allow space for your own inward growth and development, you will obtain the energy needed to fuel your professional pursuits. And, trust me ... as a career-minded professional, I know the energy required to not only "arrive," but also thrive in my career!
Won't it feel great to finally say, "ALL OF ME has arrived?" Cheers to transporting all of your bags to your final career destination!