Career Success in 2013: Possible vs. Impossible

According to Jon Gordon (“20 Tips for a Positive New Year”), success in 2013 starts with this: “Stay Positive. You can listen to the cynics and doubters and believe that success is impossible or you can trust that with faith and an optimistic attitude all things are possible.” You can think of Gordon as a Pollyanna type if you choose, but I prefer to believe he knows what he is talking about. Of course, staying positive in my book (and probably in his) means taking action, not just maintaining a hopeful outlook.

Possible vs. Impossible in Career Success

Career success, job search success and success on the job–they’re all interlinked. If you adopt an attitude where impossibility predominates, that success will continue to elude you. On the other hand, if you keep an open mind about what’s possible, your odds of a successful outcome can increase dramatically. Recently I read an article by Erika Andersen, “2 Things That Will Give You Long-term Job Success,” in which she says you should do the following:

  • “Put joy on your “required” list. Joy at work doesn’t mean that you love every person, every moment, or every task. It means that – overall – you’re happy to go to work in the morning. You look forward to it rather than dreading it….People who show up grudgingly to work every day and move through the job while clearly not having a good time do not get onto anybody’s short list of employees to retain, develop and promote. Think of it this way: being unhappy at work is bad for your career. So commit to finding a job, a workplace, and boss that you feel good about most days – consider it a requirement for success.
  • “Embrace challenge. In his wonderful book Drive, Dan Pink points to research showing that one of the things people want most in their careers is the opportunity for “mastery” – for getting better at things. Mastery arises from challenge: you get better at things when you put yourself into situations where you have to stretch.”

Change and Career Success

This year isn’t last year. Last year is over, and there’s nothing you can do to change what happened or didn’t happen for you in 2012. However, as my previous blog post noted, you can start now to see 2013 in a new light. So if career success–or the shorter-term but still important job search success–seems to have escaped you lately, remind yourself that the only thing you can really change is the present, although that can certainly affect the future–often in totally unpredictable ways.

If you can do something this year that seems very likely to increase your odds of career success, why not go for it? Assuming, of course, that it’s not illegal or dangerous to your physical or mental health! And if you’re the type who tends to wait for Santa Claus (or one of his helpers) to bring you that wonderful future success, just remember that he’s the same guy who didn’t bring it to you last year .

Be prepared for change if you want to achieve career success in 2013–and take charge of initiating that change if it’s clearly not going to happen without your effort.

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