Having a successful career is difficult, but it isn’t as complicated as it seems to be, because the secret to a successful career is not about the technical components or salary; there a million different career paths and the definition of a “successful” career is subjective. Side note: these secrets don’t just apply to people with a 9-5 career, but also those who have a side business or full-time business.
Advice for a high-achieving perfectionist is different from advice for other people because as a high-achieving perfectionist, you already have the skills, capability and work ethic to be successful in your career. You are smart and ambitious and have a proven track record of accolades in school. And so your problem is not “waking up at 4 am” or “work harder in your career,” you already know how to find those answers and do those things.
However, the biggest thing holding back a high-achieving perfectionist from their careers is themself, so these are the career secrets that you need to know and apply!
1. Understanding You Are Not Your Career Failures (or Successes)
It might sound like an oxymoron, in order to have success, you need to separate yourself from your career. This allows you to show up for your career in a way that is separate from yourself. Especially as a high-achieving perfectionist, it’s easy to take criticism in your career as a reflection of you as a person. This prevents you from moving forward. Everyone makes mistakes and gets rejected, but that doesn’t mean that you are your mistakes or rejections.
The more you understand that you are not your career, the more chances and rebounds you can take.
Especially as high achieving perfectionists, it’s easy to beat yourself for every mistake and avoidance of that shame leads to procrastination. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s not about how many times you fall down, it’s about how many times you get back up.
No one with a successful career will tell you that it was really easy, and everything worked out perfectly, that’s not realistic for a career or life. Although it’s important to be passionate about your career and there are of course elements of your identity that can be found in your career, it’s important to remember, it’s not who you are. That works on the flip side as well, just because you have a “successful” career on paper, that doesn’t mean you are necessarily a good person. There are a lot of people who make a lot of money or seen as successful who do terrible things.
A career is a tool that we can use to achieve our career mission through skills and an environment we enjoy being in, but you are not your career failures or successes.
2. Make Sure Your Work-Life Money Balance Needs Are Being Met
On that note, it’s important to remember that your career doesn’t have to encompass every skill, passion, and interest you have in life. For example, I love a lot of things like public service, being creative, scuba diving, cooking, women’s economic rights…..to find a career that would embody all of those interests and skills would nearly be impossible.
Having a successful career is not just about “following your passion,” there is so much more. A career is not just about what you do for work, it also needs to meet your life and money needs. It’s really important that not only you find a job that you enjoy doing, but having a successful career means finding a career that can pay you an income that sustains your lifestyle. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be a millionaire, but it is important your financial needs are being met.
Lastly, a career needs to meet your lifestyle needs. A successful career might not be successful for you if it requires you to work 80 hours a week and not have time for friends or family.
This principle that Work Life Money is built upon and WLM’s ultimate goal in this blog.
3. Take Courageous Action
Achieving a successful career takes courage because to truly be successful, you need to do things that you’ve never done before….and that is scary as hell. As a high-achieving perfectionist, it’s tempting to want to search for a road map to follow regarding what to do next. The self-doubt in you will want to be prepared for the next step and thus will want to do more research on the “perfect” action to take in every scenario. But, most of that time, we allow ourselves to remain stuck in the research phase and this tends to paralyze us from taking any type of action.
Instead of conditional courage, which is the courage you will take on the condition that you have the answer and will know the end results, it’s important to take true courageous action. Take action without having the “perfect” answer because this is what propels people into career success. Instead of focusing on having the perfect answer, focus on developing the self-trust with yourself that you will be able to figure out what to do no matter the result.
4. Be Decisive
There is no perfect pathway to a career. No two people’s career journeys have been the same, and that’s the beauty of having a successful career. At the end of the day, you need to make a decision and move forward. Done is better than perfect, and most of the decisions out there, are not life-altering or moving your career forward.
There is no wrong decision. It either gives you the result that you desired or the lesson you needed. A great example of this is Ray Dalio, who is known as an expert investor, but in his book Principles, he talks about his incredible failures in the market that he learned from to get to where he is today. No one starts off the bat perfectly, the people who are truly successful are those that continue to learn after taking action.
If you need 1:1 help overcoming self-doubt, make sure to sign up for my 1:1 coaching program!