Beating the competition: adopting habits that get you poised for success

    September 30, 2017

    As an aspirational manager, you’ve already mapped out your career path and you know where you’re going. But in addition to exceeding expectations in all things work-related, there’s one more way you can beat the competition for that promotion to middle management—and that’s to adopt habits that get you poised for success. Here are some of the most critical habits you’ll need.

    • Maximize your hours. Performing better than others is easier when you create more time in your day. Whether you choose to use that time to do more work on a current project, catch up on industry news, write a work-related blog or article, or complete educational courses that help you develop your knowledge, you can achieve a lot in a couple of hours when everyone else is asleep. For example, if you’ve been getting up at six to leave the house at seven and get to work by eight, why not get up at five? That gives you an hour extra in the morning. In addition, if you want to make the most out of your commute, why not listen to industry-related audiobooks or podcasts?
    • Stay healthy. This can be challenging for an aspirational professional. However, making the right choices during the day can go a long way to keeping you healthy. Take the stairs, park your car a block or two away from the office so you have to walk further, and choose healthy meals instead of merely convenient ones. The healthier you are, the more energy you’ll have to dedicate to your career.
    • Be aware of the dollar value of things. In her DCjobs article titled “Getting Ahead in Your Career—Ten Rules of Success,” Marcia Robinson states that people who recognize the commercial imperative do much better than those who don’t. Knowing how much a proposal can yield or how much something else costs is critical to aligning your understanding of what is a profitable course of action for your company.
    • Be intrapreneurial. The article titled “This Is the No. 1 Trait You Need to Get Ahead in Your Career, According to New Research” highlights a survey by the Center for Generational Kinetics that showed that being intrapreneurial is the most important trait you need in order to get promoted quickly. Being intrapreneurial involves proactively identifying the challenges that your supervisor, department, and organization face—and finding ways to solve them.

    Of course, knowing what habits can help you position yourself for success is just the start. Now you have to make those habits your own. As David D. Nowell, PhD, points out in his Psychology Today article “How to Develop a Good Habit,” a habit is a shortcut; a learned behavior that operates on autopilot and saves you the mental energy of having to make a choice to perform or not perform an action.

    You can learn new habits by consciously creating a strategy and repeating that strategy until the action becomes automatic—in other words, until it becomes a habit. For example, let’s say you want to train yourself to always consider the dollar value of a proposal or decision at work. Every time a new proposal comes up, be it in a department meeting or an enquiry from a client, make a note to research the commercial value as soon as possible. If necessary, put an alert on your phone or computer to remind you that if you haven’t done it by the end of the day, you do the research on your own time. If you consistently employ this strategy, then it shouldn’t take too long before it becomes a habit.

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