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A successful career? It's on you

I struggle with motivational quotes and rallying cries (or platitudes as they inevitably are). You know the kind of thing I mean: all about inner strength, feeling the fear, and following your dreams. I know they’re meant to be uplifting but they’re not meant as career advice. And treating them as such gives us a false sense of hope, or at the very least a false sense of how hard some things can be.


I really don’t believe that anything is possible. It’s not true that I can make things happen just by believing that I can. I’m not Tinkerbell, I don’t have a magic wand to wave to gift me the perfect job and make me capable of instant success. I’ve never had an automatic right to a senior position or increased responsibility – I’ve had to work for it, and demonstrate that I have the knowledge and the capability to take it on and succeed.


It’s good to dream, and it’s good to be ambitious and aim high. But it’s equally important to understand that achieving those ambitions is on you. You have to put the leg work in, you have to learn, you have to do it and sometimes you have to have mucked it up along the way to learn the most valuable lessons. Although I’m not advocating you do that on purpose.



I never thought I’d find myself paraphrasing a basketball player, but what I’m saying here aligns to Michael Jordan’s rules for success. Not for him the naive belief that anyone can be anything if they just dream hard enough. His success is firmly rooted in hard work, passion and perseverance, just like mine.



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