It’s easy to understand that there’s no single secret to success — if there were, everyone would be happy and successful. But successful people often have a lot in common, and by following those common denominators, you can achieve what you want from your career.
Here’s an example. What do Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and New York Times bestselling author Greg McKeown have in common? All three of these incredibly successful people believe that the most important factor in their success is, in a word: Focus.
Finding your focus — as a noun, and a verb — is the first step toward lifelong success in whatever career you’ve chosen.
The two meanings of focus
In a recent article on LinkedIn, McKeown states, “When people speak of focus, they usually mean having a single goal. It is a static thing, a thing you have.” This is focus as a noun — a fixed point around which all of your career activities are based. Your focus is your objective, the thing you want to achieve.
But in order to realize your focus, you must have the ability to focus, as a verb — and here’s where the secret to success diverges from the common viewpoint. Focusing does not mean honing all of your attention on a single objective. Instead, it means having the ability to see the bigger picture, and recognize unexpected opportunities that can lead to achieving your focus-noun.
Here’s what you can do to align both types of focus and accomplish your ultimate goal:
Ask (the right) questions
If you’re looking for true career success, your to-do list simply isn’t enough to get you there. The best way to focus is to view your career on a bigger landscape — one that extends beyond the day-to-day and reaches into the future. You can accomplish this by setting aside regular time to ask yourself the right questions.
What are the right questions? Instead of focusing on the next promotion, ask yourself whether you want to be at the same company two years from now. Rather than reviewing your achievements, list the professional goals you had before your current position — and whether you’ve met them, or still want them. What makes you stand out? And can those qualities help you move forward, or do you need to invest in professional development to reach your objectives?
Make time to escape
Have you become your job? Many professionals believe they’re too busy to find the free time they need to pursue their own definition of success — but if Bill Gates can do it, so can you. One of the busiest men in the world steps away from Microsoft for two week-long breaks each year, and spends them reading, studying, and thinking about the bigger picture.
The time to escape won’t fall into your lap, so you must make it a priority to take time. Ask yourself: Do you really need to attend that meeting? Will things honestly fall apart if you take a few moments out of your day for thoughtful reflection? What can you read or do that will spark your excitement and get you motivated to focus?
Remember that your time is valuable
Every successful person has the same number of hours in a day. The difference often comes down to how you value your time — do you claim it as yours, or do you give it away to others in the hopes of furthering your goals?
It’s essential for you to treat your own time as extremely valuable, and remove nonessential activities that prevent you from focusing. Make it a habit to cut down on the number of times you check your email, the number of people you hand out your personal phone number to, and the number of obligations you commit yourself to for others.
When you find your focus and commit yourself to doing something each day to reach it, success is practically guaranteed to find you. If you want partners in your journey to success, contact The Armada Group today. We know what it takes to be successful, and to place candidates in careers that launch them into future success.