If patience is not one of your virtues and you have a strong desire for success, than a fast track career is for you. As a matter a fact, I barely meet anyone who doesn’t crave a fast track career, in which they can grow like a kid on steroids.
Well, a kid on steroids is not a healthy thing, but a fast track career, provided it grows organically, is. I know plenty of people who were successful managers by 25, top managers in Fortune 500 companies by 29 and flourishing entrepreneurs at 33.
It can be done and there is a recipe for it. Here are the key ingredients, from my perspective, of a fast track career.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
I find that most people start off with big career dreams, but they forget about them quickly enough. They get distracted by the comfort a safe and warm job, the free cookies and the company teambuilding programs, and career progress stops being a mental priority for them.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a coach is that once something stops being a mental priority, you pretty much stop working towards achieving it. This is the sad little story of the careers millions of people have.
If you want to have a fast track career, it’s essential to keep your eyes on the prize and never forget your goals. Enjoy the benefits a particular job, but don’t let them sidetrack you: mentally, emotionally or behaviorally.
Don’t Stay In One Place Too Long
The people who make really fast progress in their career and get to a place most only dream of, all have one key trait in common: they are predators.
They don’t let anything keep them in one place for long. When they’ve learned a job, they immediately seek advancing in the company. If they discover they can’t advance in the company, they immediately start looking for another company. They act fast, they move fast and they are ferocious about it.
Fast trackers don’t let senseless norms keep them from moving forward. In my experience, this is in huge contrast with the behavior of the average employee, who will bitch about a job with no growth potential but will stay in it for years.
This doesn’t mean fast trackers have no ethics. If a company invests in them for two years and helps them become top professionals, smart fast trackers know to pay their dues. However, once their dues are paid, they seek the bigger better thing without delay.
Put Your Needs First
The fundamental thing that stops most people from being predators and having a fast track career is that they care too much about the needs and opinions of others and they put those first. Thus, they sacrifice their own goals to help the team, to not seem selfish and so on.
If you want to make fast career progress, it is essential to learn how to gain confidence and put your needs first, without ignoring the needs of others. This is commonly referred to as assertiveness, and it is one of the essential life and people skills to master.
Probably the most important part in becoming assertive is a mental leap: realizing that you do not exist in this world primarily to serve others, but to serve yourself and make the most out of your life.
This is not bad or immoral, it is the mature and healthy attitude that people with self-respect have. It is also the way to fast career progress.
Image courtesy of EdoM Photography