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11 Tools to Feel & Be Successful in Your Career

Career Advancement-11 Tools to help you be successful

I am in a coaching program led by a well-known coach and author, Michael Bungay Stanier. He's best known for helping leaders become better coaches and helping people achieve worthy goals.

I love his self-affirming phrase.

You're awesome. And you're doing great.

Say it to yourself now.

I'll wait ....

You need to be reminded of this. Daily.

And yet, feeling beat up, demoralized and exhausted from your work is normal.

Even the best job can feel like a trail run where you tripped over roots, caught in snags, and fell in the mud.

It would be amazing if your manager regularly told you you are awesome. Hopefully, they do. Hope, though, isn't a strategy.

You need to take matters into your own hands. Beyond the affirmation (which is important) is to actually be and feel this way.

So, today, I want to give you 11 tools that can help you feel awesome and great.

Pick up the tools that feel right for you. Ignore the rest.

  1. Expect things to suck sometimes

It is inevitable. Some days will suck. Expect it. There's so much out of your control - other people's demands, fires to put out and hot messes you didn't create.

And some days will suck because it wasn't your day. Your energy was low. Your best professional self couldn't show up like it usually does. No one operates at 100% consistently, five days a week, each and every week.

It's ok. Recognize what's out of your control. Be kind to yourself. Allow for it.

  1. Practice curiosity with others

You will feel disappointed, upset, or unheard with the people around you. They, too, have bad days and things going on in their life that have nothing to do with their interaction with you.

Practicing empathy and curiosity toward others will improve your relationships.

It will also insulate you from what you interpret as a negative experience, which can throw off your day and week (see #4).

  1. Seek energy sources

Some people give you energy, others drain your batteries. Some work tasks light you up, others feel like rolling a boulder up a hill.

I've learned over the years that energy management is more important than time management.

Where do you get an energy charge? Work, people, environments, activities? Go to and create the energy. And to the best of your ability, minimize the battery drainers.

  1. Beware the pull of the dark side

It's guaranteed that stuff will get under your skin. The question is, how long do you allow it to be there?

In Barbara Fredrickson's fantastic book Positivity, she shows how negative experiences weigh more than positive ones.

You can have great conversations during the work day, get a lot done, have a lovely lunch outside in the sunshine, and look forward to the latest episode of your favourite show, only to have your day ruined by a 3-second interaction with a rude person at the supermarket or a single, poorly worded text from someone.

Those tiny instances can erase all of the other good stuff in your day unless you recognize and practice positivity. The secret is to aim for a 3:1 positivity-to-negativity ratio. See #s 3, 5, and 6.

Similarly, psychologist Phil Stutz's concept The Maze, is a valuable tool. The Maze is where we go when we feel we are the victim of unfairness. The trick is to a) recognize you're in the maze and b) get out as fast as possible.

  1. Celebrate your wins, no matter how small

... the happy client

... the project delivered

... the ideas you generated

... the processes you improved

... the team member you coached through a problem

Acknowledge and celebrate the good work you deliver and how you positively impact people.

Even better. Write them down for future reference (a core BoldCareer practice).

  1. Practice gratitude

Gratitude does wonders for our mind and body, particularly when we go beyond the obvious (health, family, etc.) and dig deeper.

What can you be grateful for in your work? I try to do this exercise as part of journaling or as a 30-second mental exercise before I sleep.

  1. Don't compare. Model.

It wouldn't make sense for a beginner marathon runner to be discouraged because they saw the finish times of the elite runners.

A sure way to get down is to compare ourselves to others far ahead of us on the road we travel. Be kinder to yourself.

I had to relearn this lesson recently when I felt discouraged comparing the level of comments and impressions on my LinkedIn posts to bigger influencers in the space.

Pick models who are a couple of steps ahead. What can you learn from them and model?

  1. Be a career journey traveller, not a job holder

There are downsides to being too attached to one job.

Your professional identity can become too tied to your success and longevity in a single role (or organization).

The problem is that jobs and organizations change, and people can end up settling for less than they deserve and enduring too much.

As a human being, you also experience a cycle of newness, learning, mastery, and boredom in your job. Unless there's a significant renewal in your role (added responsibility, learning, etc that you want to have), the boredom phase can lead to stagnation. Which isn't a positive state.

Approaching your professional life as a career journey will give you the perspective to take action where and when needed. You deserve more from work than just getting by.

  1. Own you

Good news. You have a unique success formula that enables you to get results in your work.

Depending on where you are in your journey, your success formula may be dialled in or in development. Either way, it is there. If you're fuzzy on what your success formula is, get some career coaching to figure it out.

Amidst all the pressures and things you must do to perform, don't lose sight of yourself and your value.

Celebrate it. Own your development path. And feel good about you now.

  1. Smooth out the jagged bits

Want to be even more awesome and great?

Get coaching to figure out where you keep getting splinters.

... What triggers you?

... What's getting in your way?

... Where do you get in trouble?

... What mindsets could you adopt to make you a better leader, colleague, and human?

Adopt a continuous improvement mindset. Observe. Identify. Improve.

  1. Shape YOUR career story

The quality of your work has an outsized impact on the quality of your life, particularly the negative stuff.

As per tool #8, you need to own it.

Something must change if work consistently prevents you from feeling awesome and doing great. Particularly if it impacts your personal life.

That something is self-managing your career journey. Here are the five steps to self-managing your career success.

Levels 1 and 2 are foundational—your track record and other professional assets are a springboard for future advancement and options.

Level 3 creates your options and opportunities - inside and outside your current organization. Merit alone doesn't create a great career.

Equally important is level 4, where you manage the cycles, navigate change and make the optimum decisions that improve your career and the quality of your life.

Living your best professional self is level 5. Here, you feel successful and fulfilled. You've unlocked your potential. While I've presented these as steps, level 5 is both a destination and a way of being along the journey.

I hope you pick up and use some of these tools if you aren't already. The pathway to doing and feeling great at work is scheduling and prioritizing the time to work on the PROFESSIONAL YOU. As well as the off-court time to recharge and live the rest of your life!

You are awesome. You are doing great.

Let's climb that pyramid together.

Ian (I'm awesome and doing great) Christie

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