Ten career lessons most people learn too late in life

By Brigette Hyacinth

If you want to achieve success, you will have to make big sacrifices. I find that many people ardently heed this advice — and make sacrifices on a permanent basis and then learn too late that there’s more to life than just chasing after success. Yes, you must make sacrifices but it should be for the short term. You should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

  1. Don’t stay in a job you hate. You spend half of your life at work. Life is too short to put up with a job you hate or a boss who treats you poorly. Many people convince themselves that they can stay in a job that makes them unhappy because they need the income or because they don’t believe they can find another job. But the truth is spending too much of it in a bad situation will make you miserable and it can affect your health. If you’re in this situation, try taking small steps to where you want to be. You deserve so much better!
  2. Take care of yourself. Sacrificing your health for success or wealth isn’t worth it. I had a close friend who worked non-stop. He was always “plugged in” and wouldn’t even take vacation. He was diagnosed with cancer, took retirement and died shortly thereafter. Sadly though, he never got to enjoy any of his retirement earnings. Our bodies are not machines. You can’t keep going 24/7. The lights won’t always be green. If you don’t slow down, eventually, you will come to a red light and have to make a complete stop. Don’t take your health for granted – no amount of success or money can replace your health.
  3. Take time to listen. Listening is a great time and money saver. It can solve a host of problems, bring creativity, give insights and not to mention show people that you care. Listening is crucial to gaining a complete understanding of situations. Without this full understanding, one can easily waste everyone’s time by solving the wrong problem or merely addressing a symptom, not the root cause. I would like to challenge you to make a concerted effort to listen more than you speak and just see the benefits.
  4. Rejection and failure will strengthen you. Failure is not the end. Few things in life are certain but failure is. Although it leaves a sour taste, failures are the pillars for success. You gain experiences you could not get any other way. Additionally, rejection is unavoidable in a creative life. Learning how to deal with rejection early on, will keep you from plummeting into a place of immobilizing despair. Rejection hurts but don’t dwell on it. If you focus on positive thinking, even the harshest defeat is only a stepping-stone.
  5. Don’t let money or your job title define you. Most people define success around money or fame. They get their self-worth from these things. This gives money way too much power over your life. We must realize these things could be lost in an instant. Maybe it’s time for you to re-define success. Enter the race you are designed to run. Focus on a higher purpose and you’ll bring out the best in yourself and others. Only by using your gifts and talents in the service of others can you live a life that brings lasting fulfilment.
  6. Surround yourself with people who will motivate you and push you to grow. Teamwork and networking is key. Part of your success is dependent on the people you surround yourself with. Social networks matter.I am not saying you should only surround yourself with sycophants but those with positive voices who will see the greatness in you, believe with you and encourage you to take action. Many of us have stifled our dreams because of doubtful and negative colleagues and friends.
  7. Spend more time away from the office and more time with your family.Work is a never-ending process and life is not only about work, office, and clients. Sometimes in our efforts to provide for our families, we miss a key point: precious time with them. The interests of a client are important but so is your family. No one wishes on their death bed they spent more time in the office or more time checking email. Disconnect regularly and experience real life with those that matter most to you.
  8. Worrying doesn’t solve anything. It just magnifies fear and creates anxiety. The antidote to fear is action. Don’t let fear hold you back. You won’t achieve your goals if you’re afraid to pursue an idea, or are worried what others will think of you. If you push through the worry and the fear you’ll almost always find that you were worried about nothing. Have faith. Don’t worry. Patience and Persistence will open the right doors. “I’ve hada lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”  – Mark Twain
  9. Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Personal development is continuous. Learn everything about the field you are inand also related fieldsBecome the expert others look to for advice. With the rate at which technologies are changing, if you decide that you are done learning, you will be left behind. By continuously learning you will be able to keep on top of things, make better decisions and remain “relevant” in this digital era. Try as well to diversify your skill-set so you can have income from more than one source.
  10. Happiness is in the present moment. Many people say. “I’ll be happy when I achieve…” Happiness seems to be somewhere in the distant future where you will find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. None of us knows how long we have on this earth so you can choose to be happy now. The truth is the rat race is never ending. It sucks you in and has its grip fixed so tightly that you forget to enjoy the journey and those around you. Life is full of moving targets. The bar is constantly being set higher and higher. No matter what your situation, if you can approach it with an attitude of happiness, you are already successful.

I could go on for hours as this is a subject dear to me. I’ve heard of employees passing away because of stress at work or working 100+ hours a week. Money should not be the only determinant factor when choosing a job. Work life balance is very important. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices. There are three aspects to our lives – Personal, Spiritual and Professional. A fine balance needs to be maintained between the three elements to lead a satisfied and contented life. Sadly, most often it is the professional that occupies the driving seat. Life is too short to live with regrets. It’s time to stop enduring life and start living it.

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