We confront external obstacles every day, but they aren't the only ones. Our perspective on the world is colored by our own expectations of ourselves and others. Your perspective is often what makes or breaks a successful career, because it can push you to meet your potential, or it can get in your own way. Your perception of external obstacles shape how you manage internal obstacles. Is that barrier a puzzle to solve, or is it a signal that you've failed? Allowing these internal obstacles to keep you from continuing on the road to success will drain your motivation and work ethic.
In this article we'll talk about 4 big obstacles that you can overcome just by recognizing them, and by taking steps to tear them down.
Entrepreneurship without financial knowledge
If you dream of starting your own business, the first step is to prepare. If you've already taken the plunge, and haven't yet reaped the fruits of your labor, it may be due to lack of preparation. Either way, here's some tips. Running a business, especially in the first few years, is stressful and requires intense project management and time prioritization. You will most likely work on your own to tackle a variety of tasks, and need to have knowledge and skills in several different areas, like capital generation, investment, business negotiations and commercial trading.
One secret of young entrepreneurs who need to secure funds for growth is to set a percentage of the revenues into an investment portfolio, using user-friendly platforms such as CMC markets. The next step? Keeping up with the times.
Whether you’re running your own company or you’re an employee, being able to connect with the people around you is essential to your career progress. You need to stay informed about the news in your region, country and world. This can not only serve as a conversation starter with your colleagues, clients or partners, but it can also provide insights into current trends. If you don't think your the "sit down with your coffee and newspaper type", check out some of the modern twists on media presentation like the Skimm, which delivers a round-the-world primer on all things news, with links if you want to read more.
People Skills Aren't Overrated
Understanding people and emotions is essential to managing your career, especially if you struggle stress. You need to be able to handle your feelings effectively, and utilize your emotional intelligence, or "people skills", to build a successful team. Active listening, empathy, and being receptive to feedback will keep everyone motivated.
Network Network Network
Emotional intelligence, market knowledge and financial understanding can feel like a waste of time if you don’t develop a professional network to support your career. Building a network takes time. If you're intimated by the idea of networking, or don't think it's worth your time, I'm guessing you're either a) looking for a job right now or b) have been in a stable job for the past gazillion years or so.
Networking is like a snowball rolling down a mountain. Except the top of the mountain is super flat, and the snow isn't very sticky. Putting in little bits of effort regularly - connecting on LinkedIn and conducting informational interviews will make sure you come across as genuine (and not out for a job). Briefly, you can set up informational interviews by reaching out to a new contact, ask to meet for a cup of coffee (if local), or to chat on the phone for 10-15 minutes. It's important to include the time period so they know it won't be a time suck on their day. Express to them that you think XYZ about their job is interesting, and you'd like to know more about how they got there. Prepare some questions ahead of time, and be ready to sit back and listen. People are happiest when they're talking about themselves, so letting that be your first meet means you're guaranteed to make a good first impression. Thank them for their time! And who knows, maybe the next time a job opens at their company, they just might think of you first. So, you have to be patient. Work at that snow ball, and soon it'll be rolling down the mountain side before you know it.
A common tip is to offer someone something they need. If you're thinking, "what do I have to offer?" Here's some tips. If you're at the informational interview stage, what you have to offer really is an ego boost. (See previous paragraph). But if you're starting out on your own in business, and know a great marketing firm, a graphic designer, or someone who helped you solve a problem, open up the conversation by asking them about challenges they've been facing recently, or simply "How can I be helpful?". Then listen (actively listen!) and don't offer advice as "Oh, you should do this!" but instead "When I had a similar challenge, so-and-so made a huge difference" or "I know someone who went through something similar. Let me connect you."
Moving your career forward, whether you want to start your own business, move up the job ladder, or find yourself in the C-suite, it's important to recognize the obstacles getting in your own way, and taking the steps to overcome them. It might require additional time outside of work, but that's what priorities are for, right?
What obstacles have you encountered? What helped you jump those hurdles?
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