1. Think big.
Successful professionals think big. They dream of powerful meetings, envision themselves in the corner office, plan the perfect announcement for that promotion to the next step up the ladder. If you’re not in the habit of thinking big, you are not going to make it big. What it means to think big is personal, and context-dependent. Still, whether you are job searching, have newly begun working, or are a seasoned professional, your ability to dream up big things for your career will be key in determining whether you will find success, fulfillment, and purpose in your career.
2. Be a student of your profession.
Your learning as a professional does not end the moment you begin your job. The best professionals are students first. They are inquisitive, curious, and passionate, even, about their field. As professionals, we are never done learning. At no point in your career will you know everything there is to know in any area of any profession. The more you dive in, the more you learn, the more you dedicate yourself to being a life-long student, the more successful you will be.
3. Demonstrate your expertise.
All of your studying (#2 above) will be for naught if you are not able to demonstrate to potential employers, colleagues, and clients that you have a decided expertise in your particular profession. The most successful professionals routinely demonstrate through their writing, speaking skills, contributions in client meetings, and more that they are supremely knowledgeable about the subject matter at hand and that the success of their work depends largely on their contribution.
4. Get involved.
To maximize your success, get involved in the community in which you practice. Attend networking events, get to know those in leadership positions, take on leadership positions, and make a network of close friends in your legal community. The more people you know, the more people you will have supporting you as you make your way in your career. In some ways, this is a dying art. Successful professionals of prior generations will attest, however, that getting involved in your community will be the cornerstone of your success.
Successful professionals lead. They look for opportunities to be leaders. When there aren’t any, they create these opportunities. If you want to be successful, no matter where you are currently positioned, make a choice again and again to lead. What you will find when you make this choice is that, over time, others will follow.
6. Seek and see the business proposition.
The best professionals understand that you must make a habit of seeking out and seeing the business proposition embedded in each of your interactions. Whether you are looking to get hired, build a book of business, or make a lateral move from one job to another, your daily interactions are full of opportunities to accomplish these business goals. To maximize your success, make a habit of identifying the business angle in your everyday.
7. Give back.
As professionals, we are part of a privileged community. We have education and resources and earning potential that many people will never experience. For this reason, highly successful professionals make a point of giving back, whether through pro bonowork, mentorship programs, volunteer positions, monetary donations, and other civic and charitable service. If you are not in the habit of serving others, you are missing a great opportunity to effect change, spread joy, and experience personal growth.