I was a corporate person for millennia before I ever started a company. I was such a corporate Sally that I couldn’t remotely imagine working for myself.
People said “You should have your own company” and I said “You’re crazy!” I liked corporate life. I liked having friends at work and zipping around my office talking with people and singing operatic arias in the rooms that had the best acoustics.
I never wanted to work for myself. That’s okay! If you work for a small company or a big one, you are still an entrepreneur.
It doesn’t matter whether you ever start a company or work for yourself — you are still the CEO of your own business. Your business is your career! You have to run it. Your employer will not run your career the way employers used to do in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Those days are gone!
Here are 10 ways you need to plan your career every bit as carefully as any entrepreneur plans their business.
10 Entrepreneurial Things We All Need To Do — No Matter Who We Work For
1. Create a vision for yourself. What is your vision for your own life? Your career is a big part of your life. Get a journal and write in it, or tell your closest friend about your vision. Answer these questions: What do I want to experience in my lifetime, and what do I want to accomplish here on this planet?
2. Develop a plan. What are you working for, apart from just to stay alive? Once you have a vision for your life, you can start to plan it out – what do you want to accomplish or experience first, second and third?
3. Set goals. Your employer is more than happy to set goals for you inside their environment. Outside your workplace, what are your goals for yourself? Your goals come first — ahead of your employer’s goals. It’s your career! Your employer is only one client. What are your goals?
4. Set boundaries. You are a professional, and you have requirements. Do you know what they are? You have a minimum salary or consulting rate. You have other requirements that may have to do with your working hours, your level of latitude and visibility, or other elements. Think about these things! You get to design your own business, the way any business owner does. What are your minimum requirements?
5. Be conscious of your value. Know what pain you solve. Like any entrepreneur you have a price, and your price will go up as you get better at your craft. You have to know more than just the value of your skills. You have to know what sort of Business Pain you solve for your clients or employers – and what that pain costs them until you show up to relieve it! What is the Business Pain you solve — and who has it?
6. Say no to the wrong things, even when it’s inconvenient. Your flame will grow whenever you stand up for yourself. Your flame will get dimmer when you put up with bad treatment because you believe that you don’t deserve good treatment. When you say “No thanks!” to the wrong things — and people — better situations and people will show up! What are you willing to say “No” to, in order to keep growing?
7. Change your situation when necessary. In the old days we never changed jobs unless our current job went away. Now you have to forge your own path. When it’s time to change jobs — because you aren’t learning anything in your job, you’re bored, you’re underpaid or your flame is becoming unacceptably dim — you have to take the initiative to move up and out. What would get you to leave your job for a better one?
8. Take responsibility for everything that happens to you. No blame or shame — just learning. Many of us grew up with the unfortunate notion that when something bad happens to us, we are victims to be pitied. That is a very unhealthy idea to carry around, because it prevents the powerful learning we would get if we took responsibility for everything that happens to us. What can you take responsibility for right now?
9. Try something new every day. You are a business owner and one of your privileges and duties is to keep learning. Can you try something new every day in order to keep learning fast? You could try saying something you’ve never said before, or introducing yourself to someone new. You could try reading about a topic you know nothing about. Take a step every day! What can you try for the first time today?
10. Pay attention to the times when you’re on your path and the times when you’re not. Notice the emotions that sweep through your body. Notice what makes you feel good at work and what depletes you. Every entrepreneur is in charge of his or her business, and you are in charge of your career, no matter who you work for. Your awareness of your own status — on your path and fully committed, or confused or frustrated or stuck — is the first step in taking charge! Are you on your path now?
Remember that even when your career doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, you are not a victim. You are the CEO of your own life. There are bad bosses and bad jobs, but you are way mightier than those small obstacles. You can overcome them. You can change jobs when you need to.
Start taking control of your career now and see how strong and powerful you’ll be when 2017 rolls around!
This article was written by Liz Ryan from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.