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How Can I Be Successful in My Career?


My clients often tell me that they want to be successful in their careers. First, we nail down what success means to them and then figure out ways to make it happen. Oftentimes, it can be helpful to consider how other, once similarly situated people, achieved success. For example, if your goal is to make partner at a law firm by the time you are 33 years old, it may be helpful to look at the path other lawyers took to do this. Here are 3 ways to achieve success in your career:

  1.       Keep Tabs on Your Mental and Emotional Resources

Unsurprisingly, it is hard to be successful when you are exhausted. Unfortunately, we do not often recognize the early signs of exhaustion and only become aware after we are in the throes of it. The late recognition makes it more challenging to recharge your battery. Keep in mind that the lower your energy level goes, the faster it will drop. For example, your energy level will decrease from 20% to 10% faster than it will decrease from 70% to 60%. To counteract this, we want to be aware of when our battery level reaches 20% rather than 5%, as it becomes much easier and less time-consuming to recharge. You can start by making a list of your signs and symptoms of pre-exhaustion and exhaustion and then take appropriate action when these symptoms start to appear. You can store your list on your phone or near your workstation so you can keep this information top of mind.

  1.       Utilize Scaling for Making Multiple Choice Decisions

Success often depends on making decisions that align with our values and goals, in addition to prioritizing. There are many tools that can assist with prioritization, which incorporate the importance and urgency of the task. A simple way to capture this information is to use scaling, in this case from 1 to 10.

For example, John who works full-time and attends school part-time, is trying to decide between doing a school assignment (“SA”) or finishing a presentation for a client at work (“WP”). The scales would look like this:

Importance Scale (1=Unimportant, 10 = Extremely Important)


Time Sensitive Scale (1=Non-urgent 10=Pressing)


The next step is to add up the ratings and whichever project has a higher total rating is the one you choose. In this case, the work project (WP) is both more urgent and important and therefore should be prioritized.

  1.       Utilize Modified Scaling for Yes or No Decisions

You may also utilize modified scaling for making Yes or No decisions on whether to pursue a specific course of action. For example, if you were trying to decide between whether you want to accept a job offer or not, you could rate the offer on a scale from 1 through 10. However, there is one condition: you cannot use the number 7. According to entrepreneur and investor Tim Ferriss, in his book “Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from The Best in The World,” 7 is a safe number that is noncommittal and hedged. 6 and 8, however, give you a better idea and whether you should accept the offer or not. A rating of 8 would probably be a reason to accept the offer and a rating of 6 would probably mean that you would not accept the offer. Of course, there are a lot of other factors involved in this decision, but, nevertheless, modified scaling is a powerful tool to complement other decision-making techniques.

Career success is attainable if you are willing to put in the work. Please call Symmetry Counseling today at 312-578-9990 to get started with professional development and career counseling in Chicago.


Ferriss, Tim. Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2018.

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