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5 Keys to Sustainable Career Success

You might be thinking that the 5 keys to sustainable career success include a professional resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile.

Do you need them? Almost certainly, but I’d like to suggest that they’re not the only things that matter.

To give you an idea of what else might matter, I’m including quotes from some well-known people about success and tying that to the 5 keys. This isn’t just feel-good advice. It offers some important thoughts for you to consider as you manage your career based on success as your overall goal.

What Are the 5 Keys to Success?

  • Courage

“We can’t let our insecurities own or destroy us. We have to face them head-on….I wanted to understand everything that was holding me back.” (Jennifer Hudson)

If you’ve chosen a goal that’s seems intimidating, you might be tempted to give up when you hit obstacles. That would be your first mistake. You need courage to keep going in the face of challenges, because you will encounter them throughout your career journey.

Start by taking a long look at what you’re aiming for. Is it just difficult or is it, for instance, physically impossible? If your goal stands up to this examination, consider your next steps.

  • Determination

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” (Abraham Lincoln)

Determination and courage go hand-in-hand. Once you’ve decided your goal is attainable and understand the effort you’ll need to make to achieve it, you’ve taken a major step in the right direction. Staying on that path, though, can require a lot of determination. You might encounter resistance from others, even active sabotage of your career plans. Don’t let that deter you from pursuing the goal.

  • Value

“Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.” (Albert Einstein)

Single-minded pursuit of career success might seem like a great plan. However, it’s possible a different concept would bring greater benefits in terms of sustainable career success. If you focus on offering value to employers, you’ve shifted the situation hugely and given yourself a competitive edge. You can maintain that advantage throughout your career by consciously including value as a core concept.

  • Meaning

“If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.” (Anna Quindlen)

Maybe success doesn’t mean the same thing to you as it does to someone else. Be careful not to let others’ opinions about it count too heavily in the scale. Sometimes people who appear highly successful on the outside are living with emotional burdens you wouldn’t consciously want in your life. On the other hand, individuals who have succeeded on less exalted terms could well find their lives more satisfying—their success more lasting.

  • Practical Philosophy

“If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius.” (Joseph Addison)

Sustainable career success doesn’t depend on just one or two factors. Joseph Addison has identified four elements that can have a strong impact on your career success: perseverance, experience, caution, and hope.

I’ve already mentioned determination (perseverance), but what about the others?

  • Experience: If you can identify valuable lessons from your experience—hopefully without major consequences—you’ve accomplished something worthwhile.
  • Caution: You might leap before you look and end up regretting it. When you have time before taking a career-related action, consider all the critical aspects.
  • Hope: Believing in the possibilities for a better future helps fuel your energy and determination to obtain that future. It helps counteract the discouragement that could stand in your way.

By all means give serious thought to developing a strong resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Just don’t focus so intensely on those that you overlook the “5 keys to sustainable career success.” As a package, these elements actually go quite well together in helping you get where you want to go!

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