There are many incredible authors writing compelling books on improving career success.

Yet instead of immediately running from one book and point of view to another, ask yourself this basic question:

Before trying to learn and adopt someone else's personal success story, what more can I do to understand my own personal success story?

imageAs so often happens, this message came together over the course of a day from multiple directions. The common theme with each piece of the message was the importance of knowing what creates success for you before rushing to adopt an external view of success.

It's a lot easier for many people to look for answers by bouncing from one author's 5 tips for success to another's 5 lessons of success. 

It's vital, however, to know what success means for YOU. And right after that, it's important to have a solid handle on how you improve your own likelihood of success by finding, adapting, and/or creating the work and personal situations to  support achieving personal success.

5 Questions to Revisit Your Personal Success Story

You simply have to KNOW what will lead to improving your career success.

If you struggle with this, work through these five questions to help you get a handle on this:

  1. In the instances where I've enjoyed the best career success previously, what were the situations, themes, types of people, relationships, opportunities, and challenges involved?
  2. How did the characteristics I just identified work together to pave the way for success?
  3. In situations where I have not enjoyed success, what things got in the way of creating success?
  4. In those same situations, what things weren't in place that appear necessary, in retrospect, to support my career success?
  5. From the exploration in these questions, what's my short list of personal critical success factors?

We actively use the concept of critical success factors with clients to ensure we're improving the likelihood of organizational success. You can and should use the concept personally as well.

Think about critical success factors in two ways:

  1. What needs to be in place to maximize the likelihood of success?
  2. What things need to be avoided, prevented, or eliminated because their presence will minimize the likelihood of success?

See what I mean about your inability to READ your way to critical success factors?

Your knowledge of them comes from reflection and exploration of your past and deliberate experimentation in your future.

Improving Career Success

So put down the popular author's personal success story, and spend some conscious and quiet time if you haven't already, to revisit and learn from your own personal success story.

Ultimately, it's the only one you'll earn a grade for in this crazy thing we call life. - Mike Brown

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