“Step out of your comfort zone and start the uncertain journey of discovering your career!“
Do you ever wonder if you’re in the right place? Doing the right things and on the right path? These are things that I used to question a lot – and sometimes still do. So, what do you do when you find yourself questioning the path you’re on?
Welcome to my story. I’m Pushpendra Chauhan, IT Project Lead, Designer , Illustrator, Animator Web Developer and serial idealist.
I became a part of the professional IT Industry around 14 years back. And true to the word, when I look back I cannot put a finger on anyone experience that taught me the most. Big and small dents created by experiences helped me navigate through my career path. A few lessons were learned the hard way and others borrowed from leaders I was fortunate to work with or listen to. In this article, I share a few lessons that I hold close to my heart that has helped me in my journey so far.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these and of course other lessons that you may want to add to this list.
Somethings that I’ve learned over time and that have always helped in pushing me ahead. Some thoughts worth sharing:
- Investment in self is a personal responsibility. What is offered by the firm is an added advantage: This is a totally selfish thing to do. The more you invest in yourself the better you get at your game. However, I’ve experienced the confidence of adding a new skill and then completely losing out by not making the best use of it. Therefore, along with the responsibility of learning a new skill, comes the responsibility of using it to add value for your firm and for yourself. The more you put it to use the more you grow.
- Knowing what you want out of life is very important to build a path or to take the right direction: I do not speak of having a goal or a vision here. I speak of knowing yourself and knowing what makes you tick. The minute-to-minute feeling that makes you come alive. It’s about knowing your strengths and putting them to use. From this knowledge comes the next skill you want to acquire, the path you want to take to reach your goal, the next job you want to apply for etc. In my experience, I was satisfied whenever I achieved a goal, but it made me happy only when I had played to my strengths.
- Living up to the opportunities that are offered to you and giving it your best shot is a huge responsibility: At times you find yourself in a position where others or even life shows more confidence in you than you do yourself. And you are assigned a task / project that you are not sure you can handle. Here is your big opportunity. However, whether you succeed or fail totally depends upon the attitude with which you start. When I switched jobs I realized I was offered a role much bigger than I thought I was capable of handling. I was totally ready to let go of the opportunity and stay put in my comfort zone. I took up the role because someone else believed in me. Years later, I look back and marvel at the learnings that came my way, the people I met on my journey and the tremendous knowledge they shared. The success was not alone mine but the learnings were.
- It is important to add value – Wherever you go whatever you do: Why should you be hired?, why should you get the next raise or promotion?, why should you get the big project? The answer is really simple, if you add value you get these opportunities.
- You need a mentor or a coach to keep you on track: Most of us are already aware of the power of having a coach or a mentor. And many of us have had coaches and mentors through our lives from whom we learned a lot. But apart from sharing their experiences and helping us learn, they also do a herculean task of keeping us on track and act as a lighthouse to not just guide us to our destinations but help us select the right path. They help us view things differently and, frankly, sometimes a change in perspective is all that is needed to change the outcome. Therefore, here is a great investment that should not be overlooked, rather should be engaged as early on in our career journey as possible.
- Life is not unfair. It keeps throwing opportunities and challenges, we need to learn to deal with both and to make the most out of it: Yes, I might be few of those individuals who find life to be quite fair. I’ve seen ups and downs in my career and personal life and know that my inputs lead to the outputs I receive. Yes, sometimes the output may seem a little harsh, but then hey, we never complained when the output was much more positive than what we expected.
- When your everyday work stops exciting you for a couple of months straight, you got to ask yourself the right questions and take a break rather than offer your substandard services, after all it hits your credibility directly: Now I don’t mean resign. I mean ask the right questions. They may be uncomfortable and if you are honest with yourself they’ll offer you the right direction to take.
- There will always be someone who needs your help, try not to be too busy: It is very important to be able to give. Because if someone had not done that to me, I would not be where I am in life today. It’s a cycle, and when it’s your turn to hit the paddle make sure you give your best shot. The one seeking your help could just be laying the foundation of their career values. Even if not, being available to help, to share, only makes your own career journey fruitful.
- Finding the right balance: Spending time doing things that you love doing, that make you come alive, help you forget your stress, is more important than finding work-life balance.
- Reinvent yourself: And lastly, it’s easier said than done but no one will ever be as invested in you as yourself. So time and again look at where you are headed and think of what next. Be sure to live rather than existing.