How to Be Successful at Work

April 9, 2018

Everyone wants to be successful at work. But, what is success? For some, it’s dedicating yourself to something you’re passionate about. To others, it means reaching realistic goals and growing in the process. However, regardless of what your definition is, there are some basic maxims underlying being successful at work.

Following these maxims is a step towards a satisfying professional life. Although your goal is to be successful, it’s important to not neglect the other areas of your life. Your family, friends, and personal growth are also essential.

If one of the areas of your life is weak, you’ll feel out of balance. Thus, that long-awaited happiness we all aspire to will always be just out of reach. So while today we’re going to focus on how to be successful at work, be aware that your job is not your whole life.

Do something you enjoy

Are you tired of doing something you don’t like? Do you spend your days complaining about how little you’re getting paid, how insignificant your work seems, or how it’s not worth it? If your work doesn’t motivate you and you don’t enjoy what you do, why are you doing it?

“Don’t ask yourself why the well won’t give you water. Instead ask yourself why you’re trying to draw water from a place that clearly doesn’t have any.”

A man using a laptop to be successful at work.

By doing something you dislike, no passion, you’ll be hard pressed to reach any kind of professional success. You need to get up each morning with the intention and hope of growing and being challenged at work. Definitely not as if you were headed off to be tortured.

A lot of people start their days complaining about having to go to work. The reason they haven’t changed their situation is that they’re clinging to their stable salary. Or they’re afraid they won’t be capable of doing what it is they really want to do.

These fears and insecurities are incompatible with success. Because, by doing something you enjoy, you naturally grow in perseverance, desire, motivation, and responsibility. These are all essential elements to be successful at work. Endeavor, change, seek, learn — but never conform.

Get skilled and informed, and get self-confidence

If you want your dream job, you have to look for it actively. But, to be successful in your effort, you need to get skilled and informed. It won’t just give you clues about what you like and dislike. It will also give you the confidence you need to keep going despite your insecurity.

You never stop learning and, as far as technology is concerned, the world is moving very fast. There’s a lot of information within your reach, and so much of it is free or inexpensive. There are many interesting courses out there that fit your specific schedule. You just need to organize your time appropriately.

Problems are challenges

In order to be successful at work, it’s important that you view problems as challenges. Maybe when you’re looking for that job you so desire, you’ll run into closed doors. But that isn’t an excuse to throw in the towel.

Persevere, get prepared, and learn from each mistake you make. Look at all the possibilities. Mistakes are lessons that will provide you with experience that courses and training won’t be able to give you.

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” 
-Bill Gates-

Two figures pushing together two giant puzzle pieces.

Having an optimistic mindset can help. If you run into closed doors, keep looking. If you present a project, and it doesn’t get good feedback, keep working on it. Don’t stop. Success takes perseverance and work. Nobody ever became successful without a few setbacks and many no’s.

Don’t resist change

Change usually makes us feel uncomfortable because it forces us to step out of our comfort zone. It is a process of adaptation to new circumstances. In many cases, it means changing everything you were doing up to that point.

For example, think about when technology was incorporated into businesses. People had to adapt by undergoing training and putting in the effort to get familiar with the new technology. It was probably very hard, but they did it. This tends to happen when we have no other choice. Change inherently means newness. 

The importance of teamwork

When you think about teamwork, you usually picture a group of people who all work for the same person. However, there are actually two types of teamwork.

  • Teamwork as a boss: The boss forms part of the group along with his employees. Although he is the one leading, he forms part of the group of people who are working towards a common goal.
  • Teamwork as colleagues: All of the colleagues have a common goal and each one can offer different types of knowledge and has different responsibilities.
A group of people at a work meeting.

The important part of both types of teamwork is that everyone is moving towards the same objective. Good communication, managing your stress properly, and breaking out individual and group responsibilities are a few essential elements to teamwork.

These elements will make success possible. Thus, the boss has to get involved with her workers; she is a vital piece of the process. Likewise, the employees need to act like colleagues. They need to motivate, communicate, and support each other in order to carry out their work successfully.

To be successful at work, you need to take care of yourself

While the tips above are oriented towards the job itself, or the relationships between co-workers, you must not forget one fundamental aspect: yourself.

If you want to be successful at work, you have to take care of yourself. And that means exercising, eating right, sleeping well, enjoying free time, resting… As we mentioned before, it’s very important to spend time on the other important areas of your life. Your family, friends, and hobbies matter.

“I think that being successful means having a balance of success stories in various areas of your life. You can’t be considered successful in your business life if your family life is in ruins.”
-Zig Ziglar-

A woman meditating to be successful.

Do this and you will be successful at work. Every morning when you get up, you need to be able to answer the following questions. Why and what for? If you can’t answer them yet, it’s ok. Keep looking and keep trying. And remember this wise quote by Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”