When you’re knee-deep in your job search, you have to have a mindset that’s going for progress. The 12-step programs have it right when they say, “progress, not perfection.”
Again, the goal of this blog series is to help you get a clear definition of what it means to hustle in your career. First, I said to truly hustle means you’ll have to engage the process and push through setbacks. Then, I went even further and said having a hustle mentality for your career happens when you choose to persist through the challenges that will come (and they WILL come).
And so that brings us to today, my final installment of “How To Hustle.” The last insight I want to offer you as you hustle to change your job situation is this -- you have to go for progress. Seeking out progress may be most critical piece of your hustle. Here’s what I mean.
Going for Progress
As you’re putting forth the effort and energy to change your job or your career, you need to be seeing progress along the way. Progress is important because progress shows you how you’re winning (and you need to know if you’re winning or not).
Here are two ways you can go for progress on your career journey.
Two Ways To See Progress on Your Career Journey
1. Track and Measure Everything
In your effort to hustle in your career, tracking and measuring everything is the easiest way I know that can help you start to see how you’re winning. This is low-hanging fruit kind of stuff.
Try this -- write out every position you’ve applied for so far in your job search. Then, for every position, write out how you’ve interacted with them. Did you send a resume and a cover letter? Did you just apply online and that’s it? Write all of those things out. Did a company say “no” to you? Okay, then draw a big line through their spot on your list and keep moving.
Every time I’ve been on the job hunt myself, I’ve always written out a list and tracked my progress along the way. See some of my pictures below:
Images from the personal photo library of Randy Mahoney, Jr.
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Make a list. Create a spreadsheet. Use post-it notes. I don’t care what method you use. But you need to start tracking and measuring your progress. It’s an easy way to get (and stay) encouraged as you hustle on your career journey.
But what if you don’t want to make a list? What if you have a fear of all things Microsoft Excel?
Fear not, my awesome reader. You’re in luck because I have one more way you can go for progress in your career hustle. But you will need a friend to help you…
2. Share Your Career Stories with A Friend
If you don’t make a list for yourself, the next best thing to help you see how you’re progressing in your career is to share your stories with a trusted friend. Notice I said trusted friend here. You don’t have time for any “Negative Nancy” or “Debbie Downer” types. You want someone you can be completely truthful with. Got that friend in your mind? Good. Here’s what to do next.
When you’re sitting across from your friend, armed with a mocha latte, tell them your career hustle stories. Tell them the ins and outs, the good and the bad (telling the bad keeps you honest). Hold nothing back in your conversations. And this should be more than just one coffee meeting -- this is your life we’re talking about.
This may sound a bit scary at first, but sharing your career hustle with a trusted friend will help you hear how far you’ve come since you started your hustle to make wise career decisions. Either you’ll hear it in your own voice or your trusted friend will tell you. The trusted friend is important for you because they should be mature and objective (read: they love you) enough to tell you how you’re doing well and how you can adjust. (Learn more about why you need authentic friendships in my free e-book.)
I hope you see my point here -- if you don’t make a list to see your progress, share your stories with a trusted friend.
Let’s review. I believe to really hustle in your career means you have to push persistently to progress. You have to actually engage in the process, take an active role, and push. Then, as you’re going along, you need to choose to persist through the challenges that will come. And then, finally, you have to go for progress and not perfection.
When you do these three things, I can’t promise that your career journey will be easy. But I will say you’ll be better prepared than most. You’ll have started taking ownership of the work you do and the life you’re living, and that alone should be reason enough for you to start living out all I’ve talked about in this series.
In case it’s not, I want to leave you with two final words: Be willing. Your career journey isn’t easy, but if you’re willing to push, it can be. If you’re willing to persist, it can be. If you’re willing to see progress, it can be.
You’ve learned a clear definition of hustle. Now, be willing to live it out. Be willing.