Seriously? Penny Davenport says….plus 10 steps to career success.

As featured in The OTC Space.

Winter Action

Did you watch the 2014 Winter Olympics? Its true that I am quite mad about sport (as long as I’m not doing it) but there is always something magical about the Olympic Games. In the run up to Sochi, there was the inevitable rumbling and grumbling about expense, security, political unrest and civil rights but once the curtain lifted on the Opening Ceremony, the cynicism was replaced by enthusiasm and, often, awe about the heights to which the athletes climb.

Great Britain typifies the Olympic spirit. We’re a small nation but we punch above our weight, summer and winter, through the sheer determination of our sports men and women. We don’t even have much snow on hand but manage to produce an impressive crop of Slope Stylers who train in artificial conditions, “the Fridge Kids.” Seriously? At home, we love to cheer for the underdogs and once every 4 years, become completely engrossed in curling matches. We are right behind the Jamaican “Cool Running” bobsledders. Last week our Snow Domes were full to capacity in the same way that you can’t get on a tennis court during Wimbledon.

I love the purity and simplicity of the Olympics. On race day, its just competitor against competitor, on a level playing field, and the winner is the person who best combines talent, hard work and bringing it when it counts. This leads me to the second step to career success which is, “Do what you are good at.” In the context of sport, music or theatre, it seems quite logical that you won’t succeed unless you are good at what you do but in the real world, many of us get sidetracked into careers or roles which don’t necessarily play to our strengths. And, our strengths change over time or become more easily identifiable. What is your strongest asset now and were you aware of it when you were 20?

Last month, I told you that the first step to career success was to do what you love and by now, you will have written a list of things you really enjoy about your job, and things you enjoy outside of work. Having had a chance to consider your list, now write down what you are good at. Include things within the work context but also consider your life as a whole. For example, are you known as someone who makes people feel good or have your been organizing fund raising events for your child’s school? What can you learn from your lists? Are you spending a lot of your working life doing something you’re not good at and don’t enjoy? Does anything jump out at you from both lists – something you enjoy and are good at?

To be an Olympian, you have to be good at what you do, amongst the best, but the majority will also love what they do (for the most part anyway) or it will have been impossible to succeed.

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