This post is part of a series on Being Awesome at your job. The first post was on how to manage your career, the second on being a great person to have on a team, the third on improving your communication skills (including listening and sharing information verbally and in writing), and this final part on the importance of continuing to be a better you.
Continue to Improve
Of course all of these things are just reminders or small bits of advice. The most important part of becoming really awesome at what you do is to continue to focus on improvement.
When it comes to your job, and your life, there are always new things to learn, skills to master, and ways to expand. The trick is learning how to spot these types of opportunities, and then coming up with creative ways to take advantage of them.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Know your talents. What do you do that you are better at than everyone else? What are the parts of your job that bring you the greatest joy and happiness – the things that make you wish that you could do them all everyday? Chances are these are the things that emphasize your strengths. Understanding these things about yourself can help you articulate the type of tasks and projects you want to work on. The more you do tasks you enjoy, and are good at, the more likely that you can achieve success and happiness in your career – and isn’t that the very definition of being awesome?
- Understand what you aren’t good at. Sometimes there are certain ways of thinking, or types of projects, that you will just never be able to perform as well as others. For most of us our brains are wired a certain way, and those wires make us awesome at some tasks, which in turn can also make us bad at other tasks. For example, I am really good at strategy and thinking big picture, however this sometimes causes me to gloss over details. Knowing these things helps you pick and choose tasks and roles that emphasize your strengths; and also allows you to surround yourself with people that can complement your weaknesses.
- Learn to articulate your strengths and weaknesses in the context of your role. Learning to use your company’s vocabulary to describe the tasks you like, and then discussing these things with your boss will help you understand how this fits into your current job description, and potentially other roles within, or outside, or your company.
- Ask lots of questions (and listen!). Talk to people that are in senior versions or your current role, or perhaps positions that are similar to where you want to go. Understand how they got there, and what makes them successful. Being aware of the context in which different people do the work will help you recognize and understand potential opportunities for advancement and changes.
- Surround yourself with people smarter than you. Always strive to be the little fish in the pond, not the big fish. You want to be able to grow and learn from the people around you, and the smarter and more successful you are the more that you will receive from your interactions with them.
- Care and be passionate. Regardless of what you do, care about how you do it. No job is worth doing, if you don’t do it well; so put effort into your assignments and give a damn about the results.
- Have a plan. Like most things in life, knowing where you are headed and identifying the steps needed to get there will increase the probability that it will happen.
Life and work is on ongoing journey, and if you want to do well, and make an effort to improve that will be more than half the battler. After all, your job is just the current way you choosing to apply your talents, so keep building your skills and there will be even more opportunities.