Five Simple Strategies for Success in Your Career

Today’s post is written by Women & Co. CEO Linda Descano, CFA®, President and CEO, Women & Co. on what it takes to be the best.

As President and CEO of Women & Co., Citi’s personal finance website for women, I’m always on a quest to discover secrets to financial and professional success that I can share with our readers.  Last year, I embarked on a virtual listening tour that continues to this day, speaking with mostly women across the country — and a few intrepid men! — about their professional journeys.
I have talked with executives and entrepreneurs from New York and Boston to San Francisco and Santa Fe. I have spoken with people from different industries, different company structures and sizes, and in all stages of business growth.

5 Strategies for Success in Your Career

I found several common themes running throughout each conversation, which I distilled into five key strategies for getting the most out of your work life — whether you’re starting your own business or climbing the corporate ladder.

Define success on your own terms. 

Whether it is the proverbial “corner office” or running your own business from your kitchen — but then you must own the choices you make. You can have it all — family, career, professional recognition — over the course of a lifetime, although layering various “pieces” over time can really help with balancing and integrating all your competing priorities.

Don’t assimilate, but differentiate. 

Forge a powerful personal brand and personality by building on what makes you unique, your strengths and accomplishments. Get comfortable in your own skin — the more comfortable you are with yourself, the more confident you will feel and others will perceive you.

Work hard, but also work smart.

You’ve got to put in the hours and deliver, but you also need to keep your head up and look forward. This will enable you to stay in-the-know about how your specialty, company, and industry are changing so that you can adapt your skills and strategy to stay relevant and capitalize on emerging market opportunities.

Seek out mentors and be a mentor.

Find leaders in your organization or industry, male or female, who are successful. Observe, listen, ask for feedback, and adapt. And then pay it forward by sharing your experience and insights with emerging talent in your organization — and don’t be shy about learning from them either. Remember, having or being a mentor doesn’t have to be an ‘official’ designation.

Push through your fear and self-doubts.

Don’t let yourself or others box you in. Break out of your comfort zone and get comfortable being your own cheerleader.

Good advice? Did we miss any strategies for success? Inspiring minds want to know, so please share your experience and insights with us in the comments section below!

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