Redefining Success: The 5 Secrets for a Successful Career with Keith Lawrence

You don’t need permission to invest in your own personal and career development.

What does having a successful career look like to you? On this episode of the Talent Magnet Institute Podcast, we have Keith Lawrence, president of Sustaining Success Solutions and author of Your Retirement Quest. For many people, success means climbing to the top — but today, Keith is going to help us define that very differently, and he’ll reveal the five secrets for a successful career.

Begin with the end in mind

In an ideal world, what would you love to do? Start by defining what a successful career looks like for you and recognize that it’s going to change over time as you learn and evolve. Ask yourself: if you had your way, what would your career look like?

Play to your strengths (and those of others)

We need to realize we’re not great at everything. We can’t do it all, and that’s okay. The magic happens when you bring your unique strengths to the party and figure out how to work with one another. Play to your strengths… and be willing to play to the strengths of others.

Pursue your passions, but balance it with family first

It’s important to find a role where, as Steve Jobs would say, you’re going to make a dent on the planet. But make sure you do that in the context of putting family first. It’s a tough but critically important balance. Set some boundaries. Becoming too consumed with work while sacrificing your family only results in regret later on.

PIE: Performance, Image, and Exposure

Keith’s father taught him hard work was the key to success. Performance is important — but not enough. Image is how you show up every day to work, your demeanor, your engagement level. And Exposure means seeking out opportunities to gain exposure to different parts of the business. Volunteer for projects and presentations, be willing to go to seminars, and do things that might be above and beyond the call of duty in the spirit of your development.

Take ownership of your career
Don’t wait for someone to guide, manage, or take care of your career. Take on that responsibility yourself and be willing to move beyond your comfort zone. Part of taking responsibility is being bold.

How to start

First, join a company that values developing their people and recognizes the importance of leadership, and take full advantage of it. If you can’t, take advantage of everything available to you: TED talks, podcasts, the internet. Switch gears and learn something you’re not used to. You don’t need permission to invest in your own development, and you’ll bring a better-equipped self to work.

Second, don’t wait for major life crises like an illness or a loss of a loved one to realize life is short. Now is the time to put family first, pursue your passions, play to your strengths, and make a change.

Final thoughts

Be connected. The people who have the richest lives have “2 o’clock in the morning friends:” people they can call at 2am, no questions asked. To have a fulfilling life, research says you need seven of these friends, and the average person has just 1.5. If you don’t have these friends yet, begin the journey.

Plan your life beyond your career. What do you want it to look like? This is the difference between reacting to things (and waking up 30 years later asking what happened), and proactively living your life.

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Keith Lawrence (LinkedIn)

Your Retirement Quest

Your Retirement Quest: 10 Secrets for Creating and Living a Fulfilling Retirement (Amazon)

Strengths Finder (Online Test)

Episode 9: Making Leadership Scalable with Daniel Watcher


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