Looking back on my successes and failures, both as an employee and employer, there are definitely things I did, didn’t do or could have done better. Here are four essential lessons I’ve learned along the way that can help you get ahead in life and business.
Clearly define success.
Set short-term and quarterly professional goals that will help lead you to your long-term goals. It’s important to include a peer or mentor so that he or she can help you define goals, be accountable for them and create a shared vision of success. Make it a habit to check in on a quarterly basis to review your goals and progress, as well as receive feedback. Even if it’s not standard practice for you to complete 360-degree reviews of yourself and employees, having 360-degree feedback can be an incredibly productive way to receive constructive criticism that will help you understand your strengths and opportunity areas thoroughly.
Volunteer for leadership opportunities.
It is never too early to practice becoming a better leader. Many organizations in your local community are always looking for people to volunteer to help coordinate events. All of these experiences will warrant thanks from the leadership team, but more importantly, they serve as opportunities to get cross-functional exposure and practice your management and leadership skills.
Become a great resource.
Are you an online marketing genius? An expert on local SEO? Fabulous at proofreading sales copy? Go beyond your role by being an open resource for others in the industry, and your company, who could benefit from your talents. Paying it forward will serve you well one way or another in the future. Helping people on your team, and people on other teams, doesn’t go unnoticed.
Find a friend and a mentor.
Find someone within your industry who is at another company, but is at a similar level in business you would like to befriend; a sounding board and a place to go for candid feedback. Also, find a mentor any who resembles the leader you’d like grow to be. Be proactive with scheduling monthly or quarterly time to give you advice, feedback and unbiased guidance in your long-term career goals.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Katrina Lake is founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, the first fashion retailer to blend expert styling, proprietary technology and unique product to deliver a truly personalized shopping experience. Connect with @kmlake on Twitter.
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