The longer we work, the more we learn: what not to do during an interview, how to deal with a bad boss, when it’s appropriate to ask for a raise.
But some of the key things we uncover from our career failures, challenges, and achievements tend to get lost in the sea of knowledge we pick up on a regular basis. And it’s about time we had a refresher.
So, here are five career lessons we know all too well, but need to be reminded of if we want to keep moving forward.
1. Your Next Mistake Won’t Be Your Last
You may think this time things will be different, but chances are another mishap will come along. Not because you’re destined for failure, but because making mistakes is all part of the process.
Rather than believe you’re flawless and nothing can go wrong, accept that obstacles are bound to show up and that you’ll be prepared for them when they do. This is how you’ll ultimately build mental strength and set yourself up better for success.
2. You Have to Ask for What You Want
It would be awesome if your boss just handed you that raise or promotion, but the reality is it all lies on you. If you want something, ask for it (and prove why you deserve it). No one can read your mind but you, so the only way you’ll turn thoughts into actions is to actually act on them.
Read This: Expert Advice for Getting What You Want
3. Career Happiness Requires Work
You may admire those around you who leave work in a chipper mood every day, and wonder what their secret is. Maybe they got lucky, maybe they’re more talented than you, maybe they’re better connected.
But the real secret is that that person worked really hard to get where they are. They may not have always loved their job, but they put in their due diligence—networked, submitted tailored applications, worked crappy jobs, and took on side gigs.
Everyone deserves to love their career, but more importantly everyone has the ability to do so. It won’t happen immediately (read on for why), but if you set your sights on seeking happiness, you’re that much closer to reaching it.
4. Success Takes Time
Just as being happy in your career doesn’t come with the snap of your fingers, reaching success takes time—and accepting this requires patience.
More importantly, success doesn’t happen by taking one giant leap. Don’t discount the little steps you take along the way—they may seem insignificant and tedious now, but two, five, 10 years from now you’ll be glad you took them.
5. Work and Life Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
Trying to keep work at work sounds good in theory, but it’s just not the case anymore (you can blame technology).
Because we all know that when things aren’t going so great in our personal lives, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand. On the contrary, when work is a struggle, it’s hard to enjoy our time outside the office.
This means that work and life should be treated equally and in tandem. Our decisions should align with our values outside work, while our choices should support the lives we want to create.
We hear these (somewhat clichéd) lessons all the time, but every once in a while we need a reminder of why they’re so important. Because if we keep these top of mind, we can ensure we’re heading down the right path.
Photo of person thinking courtesy of xavierarnau/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author