When I was just beginning my career in New York City in the television industry, I regularly made mistakes that could have sabotaged my career. It was as if I was committed to not getting ahead.
Much of this was due to fear. The fear of success.
The good news is that, over time, I learned from my “mistakes” and went on to create a successful career for myself. I would like the same for you.
Here are three ways you can avoid sabotaging your career and create a spectacular one.
1. Do More Than Just “Good Enough” Work
During my days co-hosting Nickelodeons’ U-Pick Live, a lot of great opportunities came my way. At one point, I was co-hosting the show, I had a development deal with the network for a show I created, and I was filming a pilot for another cable network. I was on cloud nine.
Unfortunately, my level of effort and commitment was basically non-existent. I didn’t come close to giving my all to the projects. I coasted. I got by on natural talent. I did good enough work, not great.
Long story short, I was fired from U-Pick Live, the development deal never got past the script phase, and the network didn’t pick up the pilot. Sure, much of this was out of my control, but I could have done better.
Lesson: Do great work. Work that you’ll look back on and be proud of no matter what. When you want to give up, push harder. Turn the page.
2. Follow-Up Promptly
It was Keith Ferrazi who said that eighty percent of networking is keeping in touch. It’s the truth.
Throughout my early career, there were numerous people who wanted to support me, and I gave them the stiff arm. Again, much of this had to do with fear.
I remember being contacted by a top Hollywood management firm that wanted to represent me. This was a big deal. Unfortunately, I chose not to fly from New York City to Los Angeles to meet with them to seal the deal. Instead, I took my sweet time, sent emails every now and then, and by the time I did reach out a few months later, when I really needed them, they had moved on.
Lesson: Luck is when opportunity meets preparation. You only get one chance to make a good impression. Some opportunities only come once. Be ready and create your own luck.
3. Spend Time with People Who Make You Better
One of the most important questions you can ask yourself is: “who makes me better?“
Who are those individuals that inspire you, challenge you, push you to your limits, hold you accountable, and test you to be the absolute best version of yourself? These are your Allies of Glory.
Now, who are those individuals that question your motives, support mediocrity, are afraid of success, and enable your excuses? These are your Thieves of Ambition.
Think about the five people you spend the most time with. Are they Allies of Glory or Thieves of Ambition? Early in my career, I spent way too much time with the latter.
Lesson: Be surrounded by greatness. Don’t be afraid to work with the best.
I smile when I think about all of the “mistakes” I made. I learned so much and eventually went on to create a successful career in the television industry.
Today, it brings me much joy that, with my company, I help people have amazing careers and avoid making the errors I made.
I now know that many of these “mistakes” stemmed from fear: fear of the unknown and success.
It was years later that I’d hear the Fritz Pearls quote, “Fear is excitement without the breath.” Breathe life into you career.
Antonio Neves is a career coach, speaker, and award-winning business journalist. He is the founder of THINQACTION, where he works with young professionals to produce exceptional results in their careers. Via his blog posts, videos, and speaking engagements, Antonio’s goal is to empower young professionals to create their own luck. For more on Antonio, visit his website, Facebook, or Twitter.