The Twin Pillars of Career Success: Priority and Discipline
Ask any high-ranking executive about the qualities they value the most in their employees, and you’ll likely hear two things: the ability to set priorities and the discipline to get the job done efficiently. As per a survey, 85% of executives agree that these two traits trump all other qualities when considering promotions. But what does that mean for you? It means adopting a work ethic built on focus and discipline could be your ticket to scaling the career ladder faster than you ever imagined.
The 80/20 Rule & Your Career
You’ve probably heard of the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of the value you bring to your job will come from 20% of the tasks you do. This principle isn’t just a fancy theory; it’s a daily guidebook for your career growth. So, it’s imperative that you figure out which tasks fall into that impactful 20% and devote your best energies to them.
The Cost of Time Wastage
According to Robert Half International, employees, on average, waste 50% of their time on non-work-related activities. Idle chatter, long lunches, and pointless Internet surfing drain valuable work hours. When you finally decide to buckle down, chances are you’re stuck doing low-value tasks that don’t advance your career or your company’s goals. And don’t forget, unattended tasks don’t evaporate; they pile up, adding stress and contributing to costly errors when you eventually scramble to complete them last minute.
The Power of Reputation
Hard, disciplined work doesn’t just get tasks done; it also builds your reputation. Benjamin Tregoe, author of The Rational Manager, said, “The very worst use of time is to do very well what need not be done at all.” A strong reputation isn’t built on inconsequential tasks, but on your ability to discern what truly matters and to execute those tasks excellently.
When You Work, Really Work!
The secret to doubling your productivity and, eventually, your income, is to work diligently when you’re supposed to be working. Let your mantra be, “Back to work!” Disallow distractions. When someone asks, “Do you have a minute to talk?”, say, “Sure, but can we catch up at lunch or after work? I need to focus right now.”
Persistence: The Backbone of Self-Discipline
Vince Lombardi, one of the most successful coaches in NFL history, said, “Leaders aren’t born; they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” This is the essence of persistence, which is really self-discipline in action. By pushing through adversity, you not only get closer to your goals but also strengthen your self-esteem and self-discipline, setting yourself up for future successes.
When things go wrong, don’t waste time playing the blame game. Be proactive, not reactive. Seek the valuable lesson hidden within the challenge. As Napoleon Hill said, every problem carries the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. Your job is to find it.
The road to career success isn’t paved with just any hard work; it’s paved with the right kind of hard work. Discern what’s important, direct your energies there, and watch as you move up the ladder more quickly and smoothly than you ever thought possible. You become not just an employee, but a force of nature in your own right. Now, if that isn’t a career goal worth striving for, I don’t know what is!