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Three things you can do to maintain momentum in your career

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Unless you’ve got a bag of magic beans, it’s unlikely you’ll see your career grow from seedling to success overnight. But daily watering is draining when there’s little growth to motivate you: before long, your career plan starts to wilt before it had a chance to bloom.

Of course, we all expect a bit of chaos here and there. Setbacks will happen; unprecedented events will see our journey to the top take twists and turns we couldn’t have planned for. It’s the attitude we adopt and the actions we take through these challenges that will propel our careers forward and get us back on track to success.

It’s all about momentum.

“Get your head in the game,” says a motivational poster on the wall opposite your desk.  “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” says another, a stock image of a smiling businesswoman shaking hands with a man in a suit is used to illustrate the point. If every working day seems like a monotonous struggle, it’s likely these overused slogans mean very little to you.

Nevertheless, maintaining momentum in your career is possible: you just have to put your mind to it and make a few changes. It all starts with a few simple steps:

Never stop learning

The working world is changing fast: keeping ahead of the curve in regard to skills in demand will not only ensure that you’re competitive as a Candidate but open to a range of career options. By committing just twenty minutes a day to a new discipline, you secure your place atop a list of promotable Employees in your current workplace and add strings to the bow of your CV.

With the wealth of online courses and training resources available today, all that it takes to diversify your skill set is less than half an hour of your free time every day: that’s just one episode of Friends, one game of FIFA or one session of counting out 1800 seconds (everyone’s favourite weeknight activity!)

Strike a balance

If you allow your career to take over your life, your work will suffer. It’s as simple as that. Excessively watering your plant won’t make it grow faster: if anything, it will drown from the abundance of attention. Professional burnout is the primary killer of momentum; it’s the perfect recipe for exhaustion and resentment.

Working harder won’t necessarily help you to climb the career ladder if your energy levels are depleted and the quality of your work has slipped. Similarly, if drama from your personal life is creeping into your working day, there’s no way for you to progress in your professional career. Striking a balance is the key to success: you need to make time to clear your head and recharge your batteries if you’re ever going to get ahead.

Nurture your network

Whether you’re in employment or searching for the next step, a wide and diverse network can make all the difference in driving your career forward. Why? Because the more people you know, the more potential opportunities you open yourself up to. By building professional relationships with key players and specialist recruiters, you place yourself at the centre of the sector: should any exciting opportunities arise, you’ll be in line for an interview or meeting thanks to the effort you put into growing your network.

As an extra, it’s important to stay positive. While setbacks can leave us feeling stuck, the worst thing we can do is wallow. After all, momentum is a mindset; it’s the active commitment to bettering and taking care of ourselves no matter the circumstances that sees a small seed grow into a beautiful flower.

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