In life, flexibility is key. Go your own way, pave your path, and do what’s best for you when it’s best for you. When it comes to your career, some things are just better if you get started on them sooner rather than later. These things make your professional and day-to-day work life much easier. While you don’t need to check these off of your list by the time you’re 30 or 35, at least consider the idea; it can have a massive impact on your career.
It might change now and then, but there shouldn’t be a time where it’s challenging to answer the “What do you do?” question. You should be able to explain it so well that people won’t forget it. Spend time figuring out the message you want to convey when people ask about your job.
Know What You’re Good At
Learning what your workplace “superpower” is can put you ahead of the game. Many of the world’s most successful people all have a particular personality trait at work that sets them ahead of others. Whether your power is curiosity, doggedness, enthusiasm, understanding, etc.; find out what it is, and learn how to use it properly.
Know Your Weaknesses
While it’s vital to know your strengths, it’s just as important to identify your weaknesses. Understanding the areas you need to grow in is going to push you that much further to learn. On the other end, it’s going to help you with hiring individuals who work with and complement your skill sets, and it helps with the delegation.
Know Your Non-Negotiables
Many opportunities are going to come your way throughout life, though it’s pointless to waste energy agreeing to do the things that don’t line up with your career path. Be honest about what it is you want and need from your career. Try coming up with a list of points that aren’t negotiable, and use it as a guide when making a career decision.
Understand How to Delegate
If you are in a leadership role, you need to know that it’s impossible to do it all. As you’re climbing the professional ladder, it’s essential to understand that there are things you need to spend time on, and things that can get delegated. More importantly, being able to delegate to your team comfortably is going to help with ensuring the right person is suited for the right task.
Do Something You’re Proud Of
Regardless of if it’s something that’s going to make you known for forever, something you want to do with your life, or something you get paid for doing, ensure that it’s something you’re proud of. These career and life landmarks stand out on your resume.
Learn from Something You’re Not Proud Of
Everyone has failed at something at one point or another. However, failing isn’t more important than picking yourself back up and learning from the failure. When you can, take the lesson that you’ve learned, and productively bring it to the next stage of your career.
Stretch Your Limits
When you already know that you can manage a 30-person meeting with no problem, you might stay in that zone because you don’t think you can handle a 100-person conference. It’s crucial that you step outside of your comfort zone occasionally to see how far your skills stretch, and to help develop them further.
Do Something That Scares You
On the topic of stretching limits, it’s always good to push for something that scares you. Whether it’s going for a large promotion, writing your memoirs, speaking at a huge conference, etc.; try something that scares you early in your career. Big risks can lead to big rewards.
Get Comfortable with Feedback
Hillary Clinton said it best: “It’s crucial to take criticism seriously—not personally.” Knowing where you’re not meeting your job standards is how you learn and grow, but taking criticism to heart is how your confidence crumbles.
These ten steps can put a significant dent in your “Things to do Before I’m 30” list. They might seem small and like they won’t have much of an impact on your work and daily life, but when used consistently and correctly, they can make all the difference in the world. Keep checking back for part two, and more tips you can use for your professional future.