5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want to Have a Successful Career

This post is from guest author Melissa Davidson. You can find her on Twitter @madtris

If you’re just going through the motions every day, but not fully present in your job, you’re not giving it your all. It’s time to take action.

Sometimes, taking action simply means giving up the things that no longer serve you. It’s not necessarily some major overhaul of your life.

Everyone has a different definition of success and what constitutes action. Here are five things to give up today if you want to have a successful career:

Treating Your Body Poorly

If your body really is your temple, you’re aware of what you eat and drink throughout the work day. You might notice if you eat something unhealthy, it makes you feel sluggish or sick to your stomach. Pay attention to your energy levels and only consume the foods that make you feel good.

After work, it’s common for colleagues to commiserate over drinks. While it may be fun to do Happy Hour, it’s not so fun to wake up with a hangover, or worse, getting socked with a costly DUI on the way home.

In addition to healthy eating and drinking, it’s just as important to get some exercise. Most of us sit at a computer all day and forget that going for a walk is part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Another way to stay fit and bond with coworkers is organizing company hikes or joining a softball league.

You’re never too busy to take care of yourself. Your health is essential for a happy life.

Dulling Your Own Light

Don’t make yourself so small that no one else sees you. Every single person has something valuable to offer the world, including in the workplace.

As author Marianne Williamson said, “You playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”

When we let our light shine, we are also giving other people permission to do the same. Wouldn’t it be cool if we all appreciated each other and let go of the fear that’s holding us back?

Refusing to Give it Your All

If you are showing up to work and only giving the bare minimum to your job and customers, it’s a poor reflection on you. Challenge yourself every day by going above and beyond of what’s expected of you. People will notice.

Part of challenging yourself includes learning new skills, staying on top of technology, and taking on new projects. The same old way of doing business doesn’t keep you challenged and makes you appear irrelevant or stubborn.

A stellar career doesn’t just happen. Be the best you and it will pay off down the road.

Failing to Look Ahead

No matter how stable your job is, you should keep your resume accurate and updated. You never know what the future holds. Setting goals and planning ahead can keep you excited about the future and prevent current job stagnation.

Keep your eye out for that “dream job,” check job openings, network and make a five-year plan. However, there’s also nothing wrong with living in the moment because you don’t want life to pass you by if you’re looking too far ahead. Think of it like the eclipse on Aug. 21. If you’re busy taking photos and have your nose buried in your phone because you want to preserve the moment, you’re missing out on the real live once-in-a-lifetime event.

Gossiping and Blaming

Nobody likes a gossip. It’s unprofessional and catty. Everyone probably says things about other people behind their backs at some point or talks about the company in a negative light, but if the habit continues, you could get fired. Stop the gossip mongering by not engaging or just walking away from the conversation. How self aware are you on this issue?

Blaming others is another common tactic at work to appear as the victim. These people blame everyone but themselves and fail to take accountability for their own actions. They may feel cornered when they are caught doing something they shouldn’t, or blame someone else for missing their deadline or blame the boss for having it out for them. These type of people don’t take control of their own situation and think everyone is out to get them.

Negative behaviors, such as blaming others and gossiping, don’t necessary mean you’re a bad person, but they will reflect poorly on you if you keep it up —  and may even cost you your job.

The secret to a successful career is all the little things that have a cumulative effect. Making a commitment to overcoming bad habit or weaknesses, setting goals, and improving yourself no matter what your position in the company is will lead you down the right path.

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