As you start the next phase of your life, it’s probably necessary to make some changes that can help you realize success, both at work and in life. Achieving dreams is something everyone deserves, and it can happen by putting some better habits in place and thinking in new ways about how to reach our goals.
Following are a few tips for exploring new ideas and working in harmony with others:
1. Part of the Team
You may be a self-starter capable of working independently but, at some point, you will be assigned to be part of a team. In fact, it’s highly probably that you’ll be asked about your experiences working on a team in future job interviews, so be prepared to answer how you have been a contributor on specific projects and how you worked through any barriers posed by different team members’ weaknesses and strengths.
When assigned to a team, listen more than you speak. There is always something to learn, and your teammates will have different experiences and perspectives that, when come together, can help achieve the desired outcome.
There will be times when you disagree with a particular teammate’s direction. It’s fine to state your opinion, but do so in a way that is meaningful. Don’t dismiss your teammates’ ideas without having your own well-thought-out suggestions.
Don’t take constructive criticism personally. Remember that, as a team, you have a singular mission and the goal is to reach it together. When others on the team have ideas, listen carefully and choose the best course of action.
Working on a team, which is likely inevitable, can have great rewards. In fact, working solo can lead to lower productivity and employee morale, so embrace opportunities to be part of a team and enjoy in the collective success.
2. See the Future
Everyone has a dream, and you need to develop yours.
Learn how to visualize your goals, a technique used by pro athletes, to understand what you want out of life. Set goals and schedules for achieving them.
By actually seeing yourself as the person you want to be – at work and in life – you can better develop an understanding of what it will take to get there.
3. Be Creatively Critical
Your brain is an amazing organ, but few of us use it to its full potential. In the classroom setting, schools have precious little time to devote to developing each individual, so you probably need to learn valuable creative and critical thinking skills on your own.
Start by reading selections – either books, magazine or online forums – that you would normally steer clear of to broaden your horizons and show you different perspectives. Learn how to defend your opinions, which is a skill you will inevitably need in the workplace.
Critical thinking, while applying creative solutions, will help you be more successful and admired at work and in life. You’ll also become a better leader if you are able to open your mind and study new and emerging ideas.
4. Your Online Self
You leave a digital footprint wherever you go. Today’s employers can easily access a great deal of personal information you may not want disclosed in the company boardroom. In fact, according to this survey, employers are becoming increasingly reluctant to interview a candidate they can’t find on the Internet.
You’re entitled to your private life. But ask yourself: Is every aspect of your private life suitable for public consumption? This is the time to brush up your social media activities. Consider sharing content that is relevant to your field of interest. Join community groups that add value to your career, and exit those that don’t.
5. Navigate Your Life
Once you start truly “adulting,” you’ll need to learn how to maneuver through the many bureaucracies that you’ll face, such as taxing entities, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Social Security office and more.
It’s also likely that you’re not as familiar with taxes as you should be, so your paycheck and annual return or bill may come as a shock. Do as much research as you can to learn where to go for answers and to find solutions that you’ll need at some point.
6. Be A Techie
There is no longer an excuse for not knowing technology, particularly as our devices become easier to use, even as advancing in their capabilities. It is a basic expectation that today’s worker knows how to effectively utilize technology.
For example, the Microsoft Office Suite is used globally both at home and at work. Many businesses have switched to Microsoft 365, where you can access documents and other features in the cloud, so your work travels with you. Don’t let techno-insecurity get in the way of your career advancements and take time to learn about its features and enhancements.
You should also develop an understanding of cyber security, and best practices for passwords. Companies’ most competitive data is more at risk now than ever before, so make sure you’re careful about protecting company assets.
7. Keep Going
At certain times in your career, you’ll feel discouraged, perhaps after getting passed over for a promotion, or when working for a particularly cut-throat colleague. It’s important to learn something from every experience, no matter how good or bad.
You can always improve by asking for feedback. For example, if you don’t get the job you wanted, ask what you could do better. Was it your resume, your interview skills or is there something lacking in your work experience? Few people take time to turn a “no” into a positive, but it can benefit you in the long run.
8. Ask Someone to Mentor You
Professional people – experts in their field – actually like to be asked for help. Whether it’s a college professor or someone in the industry of your choice, don’t be afraid to ask someone to mentor you. Take advantage of their willingness to learn about your strengths and weaknesses and help you in your professional growth.
These connections can help you with future job opportunities, and guide you in the right direction when you’re unsure about where you’re headed. A mentor-mentee relationship can be one of your most valuable assets as you mature in your career.
By being the type of co-worker you enjoy working with and by developing and nurturing beneficial relationships, you can expand your career opportunities. But it’s also necessary to explore new ways of thinking and examining how you present yourself to others.
Your dreams are very real – and you deserve to live them — so do whatever it takes to make them happen.