Finding a Great Job is Just the Beginning of Your Career Success Journey

I have been following The Ladders for several years. They are a top notch jobs and career success site. On their blog they provide great advice for young professionals. A lot of it is job search related, but as I always tell my career mentoring clients, getting a job is the easy part. If you want a successful and rewarding career, you have to actively manage your career.

In my opinion, the biggest myth about career success is “good performance is enough.” Many young professionals think that if they keep their head down and do a good job senior leaders will notice and they will move up the ladder. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. You have to actively manage your career. Good performance is not enough.

In the introduction to my book Climbing the Corporate Ladder I say, “While you have to be a good performer to climb the corporate ladder, good performance alone won’t result in the life and career success you want and deserve. Good performance is merely the price of admission to the career success sweepstakes.”

I have developed a model of life and career success that I share with my coaching clients. I’m sharing it here in the hopes that it will help you on your career journey.

Your career success is based on seven simple ideas. You have to…

  1. Develop a clear sense of purpose and direction for your life and career.
  2. Commit to taking personal responsibility for your life and career success.
  3. Build unshakeable self-confidence.
  4. Become an outstanding performer.
  5. Create positive personal impact.
  6. Become a dynamic communicator.
  7. Build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

You’ll notice that good performance is at the heart of this model. While I began this post with the idea that good performance is not enough, don’t get the wrong idea. Good performance is absolutely necessary to your life and career success. But it’s only one of seven keys to success.

Here’s what you need to do to develop you clarity of purpose and direction. First you need to define exactly what career success means to you personally. Then you need to create a vivid mental image of yourself as a success. You also need to clarify your personal values, as they will be guides to decision making as you move forward in your life and career.

Committing to taking personal responsibility for your success comes next. You have to set high goals for yourself – and then do whatever it takes to achieve them. You need to set life and career goals, as well as goals for the position you occupy. You also need to respond positively to the stuff that happens in your career journey. I send a daily motivational quote to my members. The daily quote for Sunday of this week came from a guy named Dee Hock, the founder of the Visa Credit Card Association. It read, You learn nothing from your success except to think too much of yourself. It is from failure that all growth comes, provided you recognize it, admit it, learn from it, rise above it and then try again.” In other words, respond positively to the negative things that happen. That’s committing to taking personal responsibility for your success. You can begin receiving my daily success quotes by going here and entering your contact information.

Successful people are self-confident. My most requested talk is called “How to Build Unshakeable Self Confidence.” I have three messages in that talk. First, you have to choose optimism. Believe that things will work out, then do the work it takes to make them work out. Second, you have to surround yourself with positive people. Third you have to face you fears and act. Fear is a success killer. Action cures fear.

I have identified four keys to becoming an outstanding performer. The first is to keep your skills up to date by becoming a lifelong learner. You also have to realize that business – or any organization – runs on numbers. You need to know you company and industry’s finances. There is an old Joni Mitchell song that says, “So many things I would have done, but clouds got in the way.” You will face stressful times as you move forward in your career. Successful people do a good job of managing their time, life and stress. Finally, you’ll perform better if you’re physically fit. So you’ll need to live a healthy lifestyle.

You want to be memorable – in a positive way. That’s why it’s important to develop positive personal impact. You can do this by developing your strength of character, creating and nurturing your unique personal brand, being impeccable in your presentation of self – in person and on line, and knowing and following the basic rules of business etiquette.

All successful people are great communicators. You need to develop three communication skills if you want to succeed in your life and career. Become a dynamic conversationalist. Write clearly and concisely. Deliver presentations that highlight your knowledge and skills.

Finally, no one succeeds on his or her own. You have to build strong relationships. You can do this by understanding yourself, so you can better understand and relate to others. You also need to pay it forward – to give without expectation of return. Finally, you need to learn how to resolve conflict in a way that strengthens – not destroys – the relationships you’ve worked hard to build.

To get back to my original point, job sites like The Ladders are great for finding a job. But finding a job is just the beginning of your career success journey. If you want to create the successful and fulfilling career you deserve you need to actively manage your career. If you put the seven principles I’ve discussed in this post into play, you’ll do just fine.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve.  Now I’m going one step further.  I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success.  And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free.  Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals.  I hope to see you there.

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