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Unleash your potential: A blueprint for “career ownership”

When you own your career, work becomes more than a means to an end — it becomes a vehicle for growth and happiness. 
The word success is written on a blueprint, symbolizing career ownership.

Credit: Anikei / Adobe Stock

Key Takeaways
  • “Career ownership” is a commitment to shaping your professional journey in alignment with your aspirations and values.
  • In an era when traditional career structures are evolving rapidly those who seize ownership will navigate change more effectively.
  • The critical elements of a blueprint for career ownership include an exploration of current trends, continuous re-skilling, and effective communication.

At its core, career ownership is a resolute commitment to shaping your professional journey in alignment with your aspirations and values. It’s a departure from the traditional view of a career as a predetermined path and embracing your role as the artist holding the brush to your canvas. This shift involves cultivating self-awareness, understanding your strengths and passions, and aligning your professional choices with your authentic self. It’s the shift from being a passive spectator to an active creator of your career journey.

So, why is “career ownership” not an oversold buzzword but the essence of a fulfilling and purpose-driven professional life? In an era where traditional career structures are evolving rapidly, jobs and skills are becoming redundant, and organizational loyalty is waning, those who seize ownership navigate change more effectively. They put themselves in a position to make optimal career decisions when they reach significant inflection points. It’s a transformative mindset that empowers you to go beyond external expectations and norms, promoting a deep sense of autonomy and fulfillment. When you own your career, work becomes more than a means to an end; it becomes a vehicle for personal growth, contribution, and sustained happiness. 

The state of the global workplace

In a world where change is constant and the future of work is continually evolving, it’s alarming to note the widespread dissatisfaction and disengagement among professionals. Gallup‘s State of the Global Workplace Report 2022 reveals disturbing statistics: 60% report emotional detachment, 19% are miserable, and only 33% feel engaged. In the United States, half of the workforce experiences daily stress, while significant portions report worry, sadness, and anger.

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A unique blueprint

Taking ownership of your career and unlocking your potential requires a unique strategic blueprint that aligns your aspirations with the realities of the contemporary work landscape. 

Here are the critical elements of a blueprint for career ownership:

Assess career trends: Explore current trends shaping the professional landscape before embarking on your career ownership journey. Being informed allows you to understand the abundance of choices and opportunities, enabling you to explore and be curious, and then choose based on what resonates most with you. 

Understand yourself: Dive deep into your career story, purpose, and values. Define what success and fulfillment uniquely mean to you. A holistic approach to your career involves discovering your whole self, ensuring that your professional journey aligns with your authentic aspirations. 

Create strategies to bulletproof your career: The following three strategies are a must when considering how best to bulletproof your career: embracing lifelong learning; proactively shaping your career; and mastering the art of networking to create meaningful connections. Embracing and acting on these strategies puts the future of your career squarely in your hands. 

Develop the mindset for success: Your mindset — inclinations, attitudes, or beliefs — shapes how you see the world and yourself and is critical to your success or failure. Four types of mindset are essential to sustainable career success: 

  1. A growth mindset — where you believe that your talents are not fixed: they can be changed and are constantly being developed. It also means that you are not afraid of failing as you recognize everything as a potential learning experience. 
  2. An abundance mindset — where you are able to recognize that opportunity knocks at every stage of your career, knowing how to look out for, and how to remain open to, new possibilities.
  3. A feedback mindset — a perspective which centers not only on how individuals perceive and respond to feedback, but also creates an environment for receiving feedback. 
  4. An “I determine my value” mindset — where, instead of waiting for a performance review, salary increase, promotion or recognition to tell you your value, or gauging your value through comparison to others, you prioritize self-validation. Although this might take a conscious and consistent effort, it will create self-confidence, authenticity and personal growth. 

These mindsets work together, sometimes overlapping, to fuel your sustainable career success and fulfillment.

Pursue career-building skills: Master creating increasingly higher impact, stack meaningful experiences that push you out of your comfort zone, and continuously re-skill and upskill. These actions play a crucial role in enhancing your employability and career growth. Most importantly, they are essential to achieve success and fulfillment in your career journey — as determined by you. The changing world of work and evolving expectations require self-management of our careers through these skills.

Embrace meaningful conversations: Navigate pivotal discussions at various career stages, including early career conversations, growth and development discussions, performance conversations, and salary negotiations. Effective communication is a cornerstone of career ownership.

Write your development plan: Bring these aspirations and skills all together by crafting a dynamic development plan: your roadmap for ongoing success. It should encompass your goals and action plan for each year. You will likely make suboptimal career decisions if you do not have a clear and written career plan. A lot of reflection and work goes into writing a good career development plan, a crucial step in your professional journey. Without a career plan, you risk drifting aimlessly through your career, lacking direction and purpose. 

The world is increasingly driven towards personal choice, fulfillment, and financial success. This shift underscores the significance of career ownership. Career ownership will empower you to navigate this changing landscape, choosing paths that genuinely contribute to your life and well-being — and enabling you to unleash your full career potential.

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