Don’t “over plan” your career

Personal Branding

 Patricia Sellers, Executive editor at Fortune magazine has spent the past thirty years at Fortune studying the careers of successful people.  She said, the most successful of those interviewed over the past 30 years at Fortune had no clue what they wanted to do when they were in high school or even in college.

Sellers says, “Always consider how you can contribute to the bigger whole — and don’t be afraid to stumble. I wrote a 1995 cover story called “So you fail, so what!” Today, recovering from failure is a badge of honor that bosses want to see in people they hire”.

Bo Burlingham, the Editor-at –Large for Inc. Magazine’s career path is an example.  Bo’s unconventional career path is what led him to success and happiness.  He had no career plan and his ascent to his current position was more or less as he said “an accident.” Bo made the switch from a writer for a left-wing newspaper to a writer for a business publication at Fidelity for more job security, training on business concepts, and opportunities for career advancement.  There he was able to broaden his skills and acquire new knowledge of the business world that ultimately led to a better job as a writer for Inc. Magazine.  As soon as he arrived at Inc. he knew that he had made the right decision: He realized that “the media caricatures of people in business were wrong.” Bo was energized working with journalists he called “visionaries and dreamers.”

Stay focused on these ideas:

  • Seek real world experiences (over prestigious name firms) to learn new skills
  • Adapt to new and difficult challenges
  • Jump at chances to assume more responsibility
  • Ditch preconceived notions of what you’re looking for so you don’t miss out on a potentially better opportunity when it comes your way
  • Challenge yourself and your beliefs
  • Develop your positive character traits
  • Identify problems in society that bother you and try to be a part of the solution
  • Pursue an industry that intrigues you and that’s growing in an area where you want to live
  • Maintain your connections with family and friends
  • Find time for small kindnesses and for laughter

While you’re building a career, remember not to miss out on life’s deepest pleasures.