More than a third of our lives are spent in pursuit of our livelihood. Too often this is not a celebration but instead an obligation and a decision by default. We are put on a career track before we even know what we truly want to pursue and by the time we figure it out we have already achieved a level of success and financial reward that to start anew would mean setbacks and sacrifice. Unfortunately without the willingness to take risks and sometimes take a new path, we wind up living our work life by default rather than by our own design.

Regardless of where you find yourself in your career there are ways that you can celebrate that commitment and benefit from your unique skills and abilities (even if your genuine talent rests on another path.)

Strategic Alliances
I have found that as an independent business owner, my business appears much larger and stronger by the strategic alliances I have formed with fellow businesses. The same applies to any corporation that aligns itself with other organizations to create a masterful synergy. As an individual, no matter where you work, you can create strategic alliances that will grow your own career. These can be fellow business people whose business goals complement yours and you regularly work together. It can even be a competitor with whom you are able to mutually appreciate the idea that there is enough pie to go around and the more you work together, the greater the share each of you gets.

Take a look around you both within the organization you work for or have created and outside of it to identify your strategic alliance partners. Usually it is an informal agreement, though at times you both may benefit from a more structured format with scheduled meetings and planned outcomes.

Give to Receive
The old adage “what goes around comes around” is all too true and so it is that by giving of ourselves, our expertise, our talents and abilities that we truly become rich and will receive the bounty of others. Establish charitable goals for your business, your department, or your position. Make your contributions unique and measureable, though it is likely their value will be infinite. Focus on giving and you will be surprised at the gifts that will return to you. Too often we can get caught up in looking for the return. Rarely does it show up as we might expect but bigger and better than imagined.

Not everyone can be an effective mentor but it is an invaluable gift to others when you can. I have sponsored many an intern over the last decade plus and find it incredibly rewarding to be able to show them a true view of my career path and help them see what parts they excel at, where they need further study, and what path they may decide to pursue.

Mentoring can be formal or informal in structure. It can mean a lunch monthly, a phone call twice a year, daily interaction such as with an intern, or a once time meeting of minds to share hopes and dreams, experiences and lessons learned. Mentoring is as much about teaching as it is about learning from those coming up.

These are just three of the many ways available to celebrate your career by sharing your knowledge, expertise, and wisdom with those around you because together we will go farther.
Be sure to look for Part II!

Copyright 2008/2009 Melissa Galt

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