No one wants to turn 40 and realize that they aren’t doing what they love or at least not striving enough. It is common for people to play by the ear and not make a proper career planning. Luckily, it’s never too late to start!

Where to start?

Here is some solid and tested advice from successful individuals to excel in your career and reach new heights:

1. Define a clear, concrete and precise goal.

Many people don’t know what they reallywant. They have never taken the time to actually ask themselves what they hope to achieve or how they are supposed to get it. It is highly crucial for a person to clearly define a goal and a term to reach it, which should not exceed five years. This is because it is a measurable time in which fewer things can happen and therefore a person can set realistic goals.

You need to ask yourself: What are my interests? What kind of position do I want to have? Where do I see myself working in the next 5 years? What geographical location do I want to work in? What kind of people do I expect to meet? What are my values? What working conditions are important to me? When there is no clarity, people become complicated and end up directing their lives to other sides, which applies not only to work but also to personal aspects.

2. Establish a strategy, tactic and process.

Having defined the goal, it is now important to devise a plan and implement certain actions in order to actually achieve that goal. Now it is time to ask yourself: What do I need to do? Will I be able to do it? What resources will you need to do it? What path are you going to follow?

People often believe that they must magically come up with these steps from scratch, when for each goal there is a pre-defined strategy, a tactic and a process. It is advisable to duplicate or copy the strategy of other people who have managed to achieve what they are after. Write down Plan A and work your way to Plan Z. Evaluate your goals and the options you have in front of you to decide what would work best for you.

3. Change habits.

Now that you have decided to get up and hustle after success, it is time to make some changes in your habits. Ditching old habits and adopting new, positive ones will give you the necessary push you need to go the extra mile. Think of these new habits as turbochargers. Turbochargers increase the efficiency of a car’s engine to help it run faster than its usual top speed. Similarly, your body and mind need turbochargers i.e. new habits and mind set. If you think you spend 8 hours a day on leisure, then cut it down to 6 or even 5. Spend those extra 2-3 hours working and learning new things. Go out for a jog or hit the gym to clear your head. It’s all about perspective and you need to have one similar to a successful individual’s.

4. The great “Why?”

There is a reason for achieving a goal, and that reason must be clear, otherwise it is difficult for the person to believe that they will achieve it. As human beings, we tend to forget. Reminding yourself of the ‘Why’ will help you get out of bed every morning and continue the marathon. Ensure that you have written down that reason somewhere, which could be either personal satisfaction, love for someone or even money.

5. Don’t stop learning.

Take every opportunity to expand your training. Lifelong learning is essential not only for professional development, but also for access to better job opportunities. Expanding your training should always be one of your priorities if you want to achieve professional success. The thirst for learning is the purest thing that makes us human. Our whole civilization was built on the basis of one simple thing: Curiosity. Hence, never stop wondering, asking questions and learning, for that is the only way to move forward and excel in life.

6. Speak with experts within your professional area.

On the Internet we can find lots of information about how to stand out in our professional field, but nothing will replace the value of talking to people in that area. Ask them about their careers; how they came to their current position, as well as what advice they would give you to succeed. This technique is the first step to begin building networks of contacts. You should know that in order to succeed, you need to build up a strong PR. We cannot survive in society without socializing. Humans are dependent on one another. So, if you are an introvert and prefer not to socialize with people, then you may need to change this habit and come out of your comfort zone (refer to point 3!) 

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