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The Key to Sustained Professional Success

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Ambitious professionals love to plan ahead. After all, it’s exciting to speculate about the future and develop new strategies. Unfortunately, even the best laid plans seldom survive the battlefield. Indeed, ask almost any successful entrepreneur how they reached their goals and they’ll likely tell you how often they had to adjust and adapt along the way. The bottom line is, versatility is the most important trait every young professional should look to develop. The good news is you can learn to become more versatile over time. And you can start by practicing these four techniques:

Empathize

Team players are invaluable to successful companies because they have the ability to see beyond their desk. Take time out of your day to really listen to your coworkers and offer your services if one of your fellow employees is feeling swamped. It’s a little action that can score you big points around the office.

Be Curious

It goes without saying that the more you understand about a business, industry, or field in general, the better positioned you’ll be to take on more advanced roles down the line. However, you need to express curiosity and display a willingness to learn if you’re ever going to acquire that specialized knowledge. Pro tip: don’t discriminate in this regard. You never know what intel is going to prove useful later on. Who knows –– you might one day use an old advertisement you saw for a sodium fluoride tube as inspiration for a marketing campaign of your own. The point is, there’s no such thing as “learning too much.”

Don’t Think –– Say Yes 

How many times does your boss ask for a volunteer? And how many times do you put yourself forward? If you’re looking to make the most out of your career, you need to be willing to take on some assignments you might not be comfortable with. The truth is though, trying new things is the best way to learn and grow as a person and a professional. So the next time your boss comes forward with a tough task –– don’t hesitate –– jump right in and be proactive.

Open Your Ears, Eyes, and Mind

It’s important to have a well-developed sense of self. Yet, being too concerned with your own identity in a professional space can be debilitating. Don’t think of yourself as “just” a junior accountant, or as “just” a marketing coordinator. Boxing yourself in will allow others to do the same. Instead keep your eyes open to new opportunities when they arise. Listen to what others have to say around you, and above all, keep an open mind. You may not get exactly where you planned, but you’ll go far all the same if you do.