The best advice for your professional career

In this post I am going to suggest that you define well the lifestyle you want to lead, asking yourself questions such as; place of residence, hours, level of professional intensity, type of work you want to do, level of income you want to achieve or time you want to spend with your family, and of course plan your career accordingly, you will surely have a higher level of happiness.
The best advice for your professional career

I was recently listening to an interview with one of my referents,  Cal Newport – renowned American university professor, writer, and lecturer -, about what for him was the best advice he could give anyone about his professional career. Cal gave the following advice: “fix the lifestyle you want. Then work backward from there.” I thought that was wise advice. Very unusual in relation to the professional career, since most of the pieces of advice have to do with working hard, having a well-defined strategy, and specifying long-term objectives and similar. And I couldn’t agree more with Cal Newport. Placing my personal life at the center of my strategy and adapting my career to it has been a constant in my life.

In my almost 25 years of professional career, I have done a little of everything. I have worked as an employee manager for a few years, as a freelancer for many years, some even combining it with my responsibility as a manager, I have been and I currently am a university professor and business owner. Some coaches or mentors with whom I have worked have “accused” me of not having a well-defined career strategy, of making different surprising changes, and of missing out on some great opportunities… But I have realized that, in my opinion, this has not been the case. My strategy (now, thanks to Cal’s words, I have it very clear), has been TO PRIORITIZE MY PERSONAL LIFE AND MAKE MY PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITY ADAPT TO MY PERSONAL LIFE AND NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. What has made me leave interesting projects because I wanted to continue living in my house, because I liked having more freedom to spend more time with my family or leisure.

According to Newport, most career advice may objectively help you progress in your career, but few of these common tips are going to make you happier. Defining well the lifestyle you want to lead and acting accordingly with your career will surely bring you a higher level of happiness.

And what does Newport mean by defining the kind of life you want to lead? Well, many things. For example, where do you want to live, how many hours do you want to work, what level of intensity do you want to have in your professional life, what type of work do you want to do, what level of income do you want to achieve, what time do you want to spend with your family and what leisure activities do you want to realize.

And once you are clear about the lifestyle you want, make this vision serve you to make the right decisions in your professional career. If you are clear about what kind of life you want to lead, you will have a compass that will guide you throughout your career. If you lead your professional career focused on your personal life, you will avoid the typical dilemma about which sector to work in, in what type of positions, or in what type of company you want to work. In this way, you will have a much more creative and innovative professional life that will surely make you much happier. Because in the end, WHY DO WE WANT A GOOD PROFESSIONAL CAREER IF IT IS NOT TO BE MUCH HAPPIER?

I finish with a quote from Cal Newport himself that I love and perfectly sums up the meaning of this post: “clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not”.

Xavi Roca

I am Talentist, I help organizations, managers and professionals to achieve high performance through enhancing their leadership and personal brand. I am passionate about leadership, high performance team management and Personal Branding, and I have dedicated my professional career to helping companies and professionals develop and enhance their talents and strengths to achieve their maximum development and performance.

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