6 Principles for Professional Success - And Beyond

It´s this time of the year when many of us think about a potential change in career. Possibly within the current organization or maybe even wanting to move to another company and to do something new.
Either way, it´s a relevant and crucial step in one´s (professional) life. A step, which should be well thought through. I´m astonished how often people would quickly rush off and start with in-depth preparations for potential interviews.
Definitely a good thing to do. However, it shouldn´t be the first step. Instead, at the very beginning – and even before starting with any research about possible new employers, jobs, etc. - one should have reflected about what I refer to as the “6 Principles for a Successful Career.”
Being completely aware of the following 6 Principles is a prerequisite for any successful and happy career (move). And for a fulfilled life!
Principle 1 – Setting and Reviewing Life Targets: Get clarity about your targets. Not only professional ones. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve and for what do you want to be remembered (and for what not) in life? Review your targets on a regular basis, e.g. when contemplating a possible job change.
Principle 2 – Knowing Oneself: Figure out at what you´re permanently good (measured by achieving pre-set targets). Continue working on it. You should not try being good at many things. Rather strive for being awesome at one or some.
Principle 3 – Swimming in the Right Pond: Being successful in your job – and in life- does not mean that you have to be perfect (which humans aren´t anyway; that´s why we are humans and not machines). It´s more about knowing yourself and your strengths and that you´ll find an adequate environment where you can thrive in. Such a “match” will provide you with an impactful and unique advantage.
Principle 4 – People Matter. More than Anything else! Yes, we all know and get it. Do we? What I mean is that the people you´re going to work with matter even more than the organization you might be employed by. Research shows that the odds are you will become over time like the people you´ll be mostly working with. They are not going to become like you and most likely you won´t be able changing them. If you were not to fit with the way they think and behave, it won´t work out. So, when thinking about a (new) job, take a close look at the people you might work with (especially at your line managers as they will have the strongest impact on you).
Principle 5 – Experimenting! Even if you know and follow above-listed 4 principles, you might stumble from time to time. Don´t worry. It´s okay to stop, to quit, and to try out new things if it isn´t working for you any longer and / or when there are opportunities you are more passionate about and which matter more to you. Experimenting is a beautiful chance for you to further grow and evolve. Again, ensure having looked for an environment at which you´re allowed to test (and fail).
Principle 6 – Staying True to Oneself: Finally, when preparing for your upcoming interview respect and appreciate who you are, be mindful of your great successes, your beautiful strengths, and your areas for improvement; aka “WHI,” which stands for “Wonderful Human Imperfections.”
In other words: Instead of pretending who you are not, focus on being and presenting the very best version of you once being at the interview.
Then, and only then, there is a high chance that you will be successful and happy in the long-run. Faking would be a bad, and very short-sighted option.
What do you think? Do you follow similar or other principles? Looking very much forward to receiving your feedback.
Please feel free joining the conversations and leaving a comment below!
Andreas von der Heydt
Andreas von der Heydt is Director of Talent Acquisition & Recruiting at Amazon. Before he held various senior management positions at Amazon and L'Oréal. He's a leadership expert and management coach. He also founded Consumer Goods Club. Andreas worked and lived in Europe, Australia, the U.S. and Asia. Currently he lives with his wife and daughters in Seattle, USA. Andreas enjoys blogging as a private person here on LinkedIn about various exciting topics. His latest book is about what makes a future leader. All statements made, opinions expressed, etc. in his articles only reflect his personal opinion.
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