A person’s career is the sum total of one’s work achievement in her/his lifetime. At present, it’s the current job one has. Usually, when I talk to friends, their career goals include finding a job, getting a specific position in the company, achieving a certain value of income and benefits, their professional development, and even a change of field or owning a business.
There are many factors to consider when making or achieving career goals, for example: health, luck, timing, education/skills/innate abilities, economic conditions, laws & culture in the country, stability of company, corporate policies & values, relationships with your superior, subordinates & other colleagues, social support, and mentors. But I believe that pursuing excellence is the most valuable factor in achieving career goals.
According to an online dictionary, excellence is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. Excellence is not just an end itself, but a means for something else. Excellence is pursued for a specific goal; in this case, a great career. Excellence varies from person to person because we each have different abilities & stories. A company may impose a benchmark, but in my opinion, a person may be excellent without reaching that benchmark. And in another perspective, one may not have reached excellence even after exceeding that benchmark. This is because each person has a different capacity. A person who has polio is excellent when she runs 3km the same way my friend Jona runs 33km in Italy. A person is excellent when she habitually fulfills her potential. It was Aristotle who said that “Excellence is not an act but a habit.” A ballroom dancer, named Maxim, I’ve once danced with at a Fred Astaire party wrote on his Facebook that “You cannot squeeze a lemon more than it has already been squeezed.”
So with regards to pursuing excellence, my advice is to not compare yourself with others as this will most likely lead to negative feelings. The first step to achieve your career goals is to make them personalized to your own abilities, situation, and strengths. Remember that your career goals and your experiences are uniquely your own. Achieving excellence is not a walk in the park, but it can be done with perseverance, discipline, and continuous improvements. Be tenacious with your career goals. Practice excellence, and hopefully, your career goals will come to fruition.
Lastly, take time to step back and compose yourself. Let me leave you with the serenity prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”