After struggling more than 13 years working in companies with an average income, only at the age 36, I knew that we could create our own future and be better in my career.
I grew up in a low-income family. My father was a self-employed who sold sweet corn (jagung rebus) at the street. After I graduated from university, I worked at a manufacturing plant. So, what I saw from my parents and colleagues that life’s indeed a struggle.
But things changed after I attended a 3-day property workshop.
In order to purchase properties, the property guru urged us to increase our borrowing capacity. One of his recommendations was for us to double our income within 5 years.
My first thought was impossible (especially when the annual increment rate at 4-5%). But the fact he said that, there must be something true about it.
I started to write down my first financial goal ie. To DOUBLE my income within 5 years. And true enough I achieved it in less than 5 years (while working in the same company).
This is one of the important lessons in my life. You can create your own future if you change the way you think, and the actions that you take. Herein I share;
9 Principles That Dramatically Improve My Career
Principle #1: Take 100% Responsibility for your life
Success is not easy. If it was easy, then everyone would be successful. To take control of your life and to be successful, you need to get rid of these three things;
Blaming, Complaining and Excuses.
When something happens not as per our wish, we tend to blame either the parents, the bosses, the clients, the government, the weather, the economy, etc.
But does blaming improve the situation? Definitely NOT.
So in order to be successful, you need to take 100% responsibility for your life. You have to give up all your excuses, or victim stories, or all the reasons why you can’t.
People normally complain to the wrong people.
Eg. They go to work and complain about their spouse, then they come home and complain to their spouse about the people at work.
Complaining on a regular basis may leave you feeling helpless, hopeless, and victimized.
“Don’t just sit there (and complain), do something”
It’s up to you to make the change. The world doesn’t owe you anything. You have to create it.
People make excuses for all sorts of things. There are excuses for why a person can’t get the promotion, why can’t save money every month, why a person can’t improve their lives, and so on. Excuses are what holds a person back.
Why excuse is bad for you:
- The more you make excuses, the easier it is to make even more excuses
- Making excuses is you’re giving up before you’re even begun
- You won’t fix your problems by making excuses
Your Life is 100% Your Responsibility
Nobody is coming to save you. If you wait for the government, or your boss, or your company, etc. to magically improve your life, you will be waiting for a long time.
To get what you want in life, you must take full charge of your life, work hard and make the necessary changes. Prospect more, change your diet, be physically active, improve your knowledge and skill – these are things that will make a difference.
Principle #2: Have Goals and Achieve Them
Success does not come overnight. Having clear goals and do as per action plans are really important to get you closer to what you want.
All highly successful people are very goal-oriented. They know exactly what they want, have a written plan, specific and measurable goals, and have a burning desire to accomplish them.
Having goals is like having clarity in life. The clearer you are about what you want, the more efficient you be. You move faster, you make better decisions, and you develop a better action and plan.
Ideas for building personal goals:
- Personal Master Plan – write down your most important goals of six areas and be specific. Eg. Financial, Career, Health, Family & Friends, Personal Growth, Contribution.
- Create a Vision Board – create a board of pictures of your important goals. Eg. picture of your dream home, photo holidays in Italy, etc.
- Visualization – Spend a few minutes in a day, picturing your success.
Principle #3: Be brave and overcome your fear
Everyone has experienced fear in life and that’s normal. I also have my own fear. I fear of heights, deep water, public speaking and do something really new.
However, I learned that if you overcome those fear, it will lead you to something great.
I was scared of public speaking. I remembered that I had only one night to prepare myself for my first speaking in front of the crowd. I did my very best for the speech and it built my confidence for the next speaking engagements.
The biggest public engagement that I did was at Busan Marine Convention with more than 700 audiences.
Ways to overcome your fear;
Strategic plan to overcome fear
1. Learn more about good diet, exercise, nutrition
2. Losing your job
2. Keep refining your strength, develop a good connection, be valuable at the office
3. Making major decision
3. Think on paper, plan ahead and seek good advice
4. Don’t take personally. Everyone experience some form of rejection
5. Public speaking
5. Take the opportunity to speak in a meeting, join Toastmaster
6. Learn about money and how it works. Set goals to save and invest from your income
Every time you face a change or something unfamiliar, it will be scary. Learn to overcome it, and your confidence will boost to the next level.
“Great things happen when you’re brave enough to start” – Khairul Abu Bakar
Principle #4: Seek new knowledge and skills
If I didn’t attend the 3-day property workshop, I would probably still be struggling with living paycheck to paycheck. A new knowledge that helps me change the way I think and shape the way I behave.
In a world that changes rapidly, your knowledge must double every two or three years in order to be sustainable. If your knowledge is not increasing at the same speed that general knowledge is increasing, you will be in great danger of becoming obsolete.
The main reason that people are laid off is that companies need new forms of knowledge and skills. They need knowledgeable people in newer and more specialized areas.
Build to the sky.
If you want to know how high they are going to build an office building, you can tell by looking at how deep they dig the foundation. The same principle applies to you.
You can tell how high you will rise in life by how deeply you dig your foundation of practical knowledge and skills.
Knowledge is power.
The key to expanding your knowledge is to read widely, attend seminars or training, listen to podcasts or audio learning and seek good advice from someone who has had a similar experience.
Principle #5: Communicate better
“If you learn to communicate better, both writing and person, you increase your value at least 50%” – Warren Buffet
4 Ways to improve your communication;
· Active listening
It means listen twice as much as u speak; listen with your whole body, be alert and interested in the other person.
· Be clear
When you are speaking, don’t complicate it or use too much jargon. Less is more when it comes to speaking.
Just speak plain English.
To ensure you hear correctly, clarify what you have heard. This shows that you are listening to the other person, and also checks you have the message correct.
· Never make others feel small
Speak with sincerity and treat your listeners with respect. You are not out to prove people wrong.
Principle #6: Make plan
Do you sometimes (or always) feel like you have too many things to do? I was in Procurement for more than 20 years. Most of the time, the works was hectic with managing suppliers, end-users, hundreds of emails every day, meetings back-to-back, and fire-fighting (huhh… this one really got me itchy).
However, I learned to focus, improved my productivity and eventually get more things done in a day. Here are my two TIPS;
1. Have a to-do list.
It helps you to track of what needs to be done at work, home, and beyond. Simply write down on paper what you want to do (3 -7 task) the night before. And commit to doing it the next day. Not only you don’t miss out on the important task but you also feel relieved when you finally tick off the last item (you will feel Wahhh bestnyer !!) .
2. Spend at least 30 minutes every morning to think & plan.
Yes, this is not an easy task. Especially for those in operations, things can be very overwhelming that sometimes you feel like don’t have time to eat or even breathe. But trust me, thinking and planning ahead will give clarity on how to plan your day, execute tasks better and minimize mistakes. ‘Every minute spent in planning saves ten minutes in execution’
Principle #7: Stop hinting. Just ask the question
Hinting is not the same as asking. You have no right to blame the other party for doing nothing.
Ask for what you want. Although it sounds easy, a lot of people don’t ask properly. Here are some examples:
Hinting: I haven’t had a raise for a few years. The company has made profit recently.
Ask Question: Would you consider giving me a raise of $500 a month?
Hinting: We haven’t been on a holiday together.
Ask Question: Would you like to go on a holiday with me this year?
Hinting: I don’t know where the place is.
Ask Question: Where is the place?
Asking is one of the most powerful success principles of all.
But, people are afraid to ask. They are afraid of looking needy, looking foolish, and afraid of hearing the word ‘No’. Plus, they are afraid of what they are going to hear, especially the truth.
The truth is the truth. You are better off knowing the truth than not knowing it. Once you know, you can do something or improve your life.
Start asking today.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by asking.
Principle #8: Speed of Implementation
Everyone today is impatient. When you do something quickly, you are considered to be more competent. Your quality of work is thought to be of higher quality as well. Speed gives you an edge over your competition in almost every area.
The faster you get things done, the success you become. A lot of people have syndrome ‘analysis by paralyzes’. They overthink and overanalyze until they paralyze from making decisions or executing things.
All you need is an idea for serving customers that is 10% faster than the competition. Speed is a real source of value that people will gladly pay for.
Principle #9: Be financially confident
One of your most important goals in life is to be financially independent. You need enough money, to not be worry or vulnerable. If you have more money than you need, you will be able to relax and focus on your career.
Be financial literacy is an essential component to success.
Among the things that I do;
· I always have an emergency fund.
· I don’t spend recklessly
· I diversify my investment in the Unit Trust, ASB, SSPN, insurance, and properties
· I keep a healthy balance on credit card
· I also save for long-term
When you are financially strong, you will be automatically confident about your life.
Invest in yourself and live your best lives.
These are the principles that worked for me and helped me achieved many things during my corporate career. I believe it can work for you as well.