Career success often is a long, lonely climb. But it doesn’t have to be. Learning from those who’ve made the journey is a good way to map your success and help you perform in an extraordinary manner on the way to the top.
In the book, “The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers: The Guide for Achieving Success and Satisfaction,” authors James M. Citrin and Richard A. Smith studied the careers of people like Lou Gerstner, retired chairman and CEO of IBM; Senator Elizabeth Dole; Dan Rosenweig, CEO of Yahoo; and Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks. The writers suggest a number of things highly successful people do to become prosperous.
Understanding your value is one of the most important traits for success. The high achievers mentioned in the book never hesitated to apply their professional knowledge beyond the boundaries of their specific job descriptions. They never shied from offering solutions to problems they encountered, whether or not it was their responsibility. This behavior made them more valuable in the eyes of their bosses.
Successful individuals often practice benevolent leadership.“People with extraordinary careers do not claw their way to the top, they are carried there,” Citrin and Smith wrote. This applies to the self-employed and small business employees as well as corporate executives. The primary agenda of these types of leaders is team success. They’re often self-effacing and egoless in style while still being firm and decisive when needed. Benevolent leaders create an environment of trust through the example they set, not the orders they give.
Solving the permission paradox is another pattern. The authors write that many of the people they studied overcame one of the great catch-22s of business: You can’t get the job without experience, and you can’t get the experience without the job.
You can accomplish this by differentiating yourself from the crowd. People with extraordinary careers “storm past pre-determined objectives to create breakthrough ideas and deliver unexpected impact,” Citrin and Smith wrote.
The authors’ advice seems to point to an obvious conclusion: Your career success lies in your own hands.