19 Ways to Nudge Your Career in the Right Direction

When you’re asked to explain why you should be promoted, get a raise or be hired for a new job, it can make you feel uncomfortable. Why? Because you’re forced to talk about yourself—something that your mother told you never to do.

Well, there’s a better way to get noticed and nudge your career in the right direction without having to say a word. Here’s a checklist that will tell you what you need to do to progress in 2020:


1) Possess awarenessEnsure your antennae are always up. Never stop observing and gathering information, which allows you to read situations accurately and anticipate outcomes.

2) Act honorably. Be known for being candid. If you say you’ll do it, others should know they can count on you. You’re open—not guarded—and you don’t come up with excuses.

3) Demonstrate confidence. Take time to accurately read yourself, both your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s worth the effort. You’ll avoid the dangers of becoming viewed as overconfident.

4) Present effectively. Recognize that nothing receives more positive feedback than being an effective presenter. Your team will look to you to be persuasive and deliver the goods.

5) Express yourself clearly. Dashing off memos, letters, emails, texts or voice messages has consequences. Namely, confusing recipients and earning the right to be ignored. Taking time to frame your thoughts for clarity is a gamechanger.

6) Contribute generously. What you do every day when arriving at work goes beyond your job description. Contributing ideas and making suggestions will improve your performance and help the business succeed.

7) Possess an aiding attitude. The workplace is often competitive, and everyone is cautious and keeps their cards close to their chest. Yet, everyone needs help, so be the outlier and offer it. Don’t look for a “help needed” sign—you can sense it. The payback will be instant.

8) Show some imagination. Many good ideas get killed before we express them. Why? Because a little voice in our head tells us that others will think we’re stupid. Take a chance. Let your mind play with possibilities and say, “You know, I was thinking….”

9) Stay focused. Some call it being mindful, others call it being single-minded. Whatever the word, you’re focused on what you’re doing and are neither distracted or distracting.

10) Simplify endlessly. At some point, jobs take on a life of their own—and somehow become unnecessarily complicated. It just happens and most people accept it. Don’t be one of them. Ask yourself, “How can I simplify this and get rid of all the stuff that keeps me from being more productive and helpful?”

11) See the bigger picture. A career isn’t only about doing quality work. It’s also seeing yourself as part of an organization, recognizing its challenges, opportunities and vision.

12) Be consistent. This is what you don’t want to hear from your boss: “You have some helpful ideas, but you’re unpredictable. Your work is all over the place. As much as we would like to, we can’t count on you.”

13) Avoid jumping to conclusions. Some shortcuts are helpful, but not this one. It keeps us from slowing down long enough to accurately evaluate ideas, situations and people. Rushed, distorted judgments result in poor decision making.

14) Be a thought leader. It’s easy to spot these people. They are the go-to people, whether on a team or in a department or an office. Others are drawn to them for their knowledge and expertise.

15) Celebrate others. It doesn’t need to be something big, any act of helpfulness qualifies. Celebrating those around us sends the message that they matter.

16) Recognize the blind spots. We all have them. If you want to get ahead, make a list. Then, tackle them one at a time. You’ll stand out from your coworkers.

17) Welcome new challenges. Many people like working in a groove, where the routine never changes, there’s little pressure and surprises are few and far between. Be the exception. Seek out new opportunities, even when it’s a little scary.

18) Stay on top of things. Falling behind can be fatal, so don’t rely on your memory. Use an app to keep track of everything. You’ll get a reputation as someone who has it together.

19) Take a stand. There will always be those who go with the flow, don’t speak up and keep a low profile. It’s the perfect prescription for being ignored, lost in the crowd and never missed. Don’t be one of them.


Keep on nudging and you’ll find yourself going in the right direction.

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