Developing Careers: 10 Mistakes You Should Know About
Updated: May 21, 2020
Forgetting what's been shared with you is remarkably easy: The human mind is only able to process and store so much, so large portions of your day fade away, especially with time. This isn't always a bad thing — how many times you brushed each tooth has limited long-term value, for instance — but sometimes you let slip away bits of information that can actually help you.
This means that when you're talking with mentors or peers about business, you need to pay extra attention, in order to make sure you don't miss out. Casual asides, for instance, can sometimes carry intensely valuable insights, and they're the easiest to lose or miss. You hear what they are saying, but somehow it just doesn’t absorb until much later when you realize they had your best interests at heart, and that heeding their counsel could have prevented you a world of hurt.
Listening to the advice of your peers, friends, family, and colleagues requires some focus, and that isn't always easy. But, every now and then, someone offers a pearl of wisdom that can make all the difference in the next steps you take with your business. Heeding this advice may be just what you need to avoid an obstacle standing in your way.
Below, 10 members of Forbes Coaches Council share the one piece of business advice they wish they had followed early on in their career that they now share with all their clients. Here is what they had to say:
1. Get Help From A Mentor
A shocking 49% of entrepreneurs experience some type of mental illness. The expectations and pressures placed on a CEO or startup entrepreneur are magnified to the point of becoming inhuman. You become a “doing being” instead of a human being. Going it "alone" breeds depression and shuts down creativity. Find a mentor or coach early. Remember that getting help is not a sign of weakness. - Cheryl Amyx, 4CEO
2. Trust Yourself
Trust your instincts. It's critical to develop and cultivate a clear connection to your own vision and intuition such that you trust yourself and can exercise decisiveness to create the desired results. - Radiah Rhodes, Evok Life by Design
3. Be Careful Who You Partner With
In business and life, choose carefully who you partner with. Only partner with people you trust, who share your values, and make sure that those values are more important to you and them than the business you are in. - Gary Harpst, Six Disciplines
4. Stop Spreading Yourself Thin
Many of us are "polymaths" — we're good at a lot of different things. Early in my career, I wanted to do everything I was good at, keeping all options open. A sage piece of advice I was given was to stop "spraying and praying" because it spread me thin and made it confusing to figure out what my business was about. Since then, a narrower, sharper focus has benefited both me and my clients. - Sangita Kasturi, Action Inclusion
5. Be Your First And Most Important Client
An important business advice that I share with my clients, and that I wish I could have followed earlier on, is that I must be my first and most important client, always. When growing in a corporate career, it's usual to give all you have to serve your clients and your company. However, your health, relationships, and personal life may not be fulfilled. To succeed, balance is fundamental. - Mariana Lacombe, The Top Global Enterprises
6. Have Patience
Be patient as you develop your knowledge, skills and experience. You have lots of years to establish yourself. - Guy Gage, Partners Coach
7. Build A Home Team For Life
Earlier in my career, I saw my team as "disposable" assets. You lose one, you get another one. I have now realized they are my family, my home team. They might have to go on a journey to discover themselves, but that's doesn't mean we are done. It simply means not right now. It also changed the way I communicate with my team. - Ajit Nawalkha, Evercoach
8. Do Not Have A Plan ‘B’
When I was launching my consulting business in 1993, a colleague advised me, "Do not have a Plan 'B'.” Fully commit to making your business successful, regard every tough experience as a learning opportunity and keep focus on your goal. (If you have a Plan 'B,' you will default to that when the going gets tough.) I share this great advice with clients who are venturing into their own businesses. - Vicki Vandaveer, PhD, The Vandaveer Group, Inc.
9. Focus On Your Target Audience
Get clear on who you want to serve, develop a niche to better serve your chosen demographic and create products that your chosen target audience actually need. - Sierra Rainge, Sierra Rainge Global Enterprises
10. Stay In Touch
With access to the internet and platforms such as LinkedIn, it is incredibly easy and efficient to keep track of, and stay connected to a large community of colleagues, clients, and friends. You have little to lose in maintaining connections, whether for professional or personal reasons, but you may regret losing them. - Raleigh Mayer, Gravitas Guru