Being a massive sports fan my whole life I’ve managed to play just about every sport that was possible over the years through school, university, socially and/or randomly. Since moving to Brisbane again I’ve decided I didn’t want to commit to a competitive team sport as I didn’t feel that I could give it 100% and didn’t want to be one of those team members who doesn’t turn up to training or can’t make it to every second or third game.
One sport (or game, depending on how you look at it, but that debate is for another week!) that I have taken up recently is golf.
I’ve always played a little bit of social, “hit n giggle” golf but have never really played consistently enough to turn into a respectable golfer. I’m still fairly rubbish, but I don’t embarrass myself on the course anymore!
The more I play, the better I get and yet, the more frustrating the game becomes. A friend of mine who’s handicap is about 10 shots better than mine told me, “golf doesn’t get any less frustrating the better you get.”
He’s 100% right. I get a little better but I want to get better still. I hit a superb drive and a great approach shot but manage to hit 2 or 3 putts and turn a birdie into a bogie (for any non-golfers, that’s a bad result!).
You should always be striving to get better with anything you do, after all, life should be a constant journey to improve slightly on everything. Whether it be your cooking, your reading or just your general knowledge about any areas of interest.
Careers are absolutely no different.
Each position you take on should allow you and possibly even force you to improve at least 1 aspect of your life, even if it is frustrating at the time. Too many people in this world sit snuggly within their comfort zone with no intention of moving and can quite easily get left behind. The obvious area for improvement within your career would be on the technical skills. Perhaps as an Accounts Payable clerk, you have been handling data input, matching and batching of invoices but your next job allows you to take on reconciliations. A Human Resources professional may take on a role that enables them to get more hands on with Industrial Relations and EBA negotiations.
But aside from the technical side of a position, a new role may allow you to improve on softer skills or less obvious areas of weakness. Even something as little as a change in an office environment would force you to sharpen your relationship building skills by making you meet and get to know new work colleagues. You may be taking on a supervisory position in your new role or be getting involved with your new company’s employee engagement projects.
One area you may not have thought about is that a new role may not push you technically, which is OK. Perhaps you are coming to the end of your career and are satisfied with the level you have reached. Perhaps you want to look at a new role closer to home which will allow you to improve your own health and fitness or your own family relationships because you a commuting less?
Whatever the circumstances, every position you take should be for a reason and should be to improve some aspect of you. Like my golf game, you may feel comfortable in your current role and at your current level because it has become something that is easy for you to handle now. But remember that you should always be striving to improve.
Give some thought to areas of your life that you feel are possibly needing improvement or are even just underappreciated recently. Even if it might feel uncomfortable to begin with, like my putting, it will well and truly pay off in the long run and will accelerate your learning, taking you to places in your career you didn’t think possible!
Isaac Dufficy – Executive Consultant, Group Solutions