Learning Lab: Redefine Career Success

Individual listening to music, in the zone.
3 min. read

More of everything equates to better … better pay, promotion, power, and prestige.

“More” makes you better than some but not as good as others.

How stupid. 

Why would comparing yourself to someone else define you, and define them?

Success is a pursuit, not an endpoint.

It’s finding meaning and purpose by having the autonomy to do the type of work that brings you joy.

It means engaging with interesting and interested people, and doing something collectively that makes a mark on the world.

These motivators come from within.
These internal motivators are far different and more rewarding than external motivators like pay and promotion. Go listen to your favorite song or piece of music. Turn up the volume. Tell me you’re not dancing around, smiling, or cherishing the moment with your eyes closed. That’s what success can feel like.

  • Success is liberating one’s internal motivation – what’s critical and important to you. 
  •  Success is based on building relationships, not personal achievements.
    All those years of education, being told to be the best, reaching for the stars, working harder, and now you’re telling me it’s about building relationships?  Great.
  •  Success does not follow a straight path. Really? Yes. Really.
  • Success is about growth, not an obsession with perfection or fear of failure. I mean it.
  • Success happens when you own your career development.
  1. Write down the last 3-5 big projects/positions you’ve held that you felt really good about.
  2.  Next to each project or position, jot down some notes:
    • What you’re most proud of
    • Who you’re happy you met/connected with
    • What was most rewarding for you
    • Any failures or things you’d do differently
  3. Look at your responses.
    • What do they say about what’s important for you?
    • What other wonderings or questions come up to explore?
    • What internal motivators will you seek out going forward?
  4. Now go out and find one person you can share your story and career success redefinition with.

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About the Ladderburner Learning Lab:
In Burn Ladders. Build Bridges. Pursuing Work with Meaning + Purpose, Patterson shares an essential formula for Ladderburners in pursuit of more at work. Chapter 7 dives into two of those skillsets – how to build a base of competence and credibility. This can be done through the Learning Lab – an approach to learning as much as you can about your job, the people around you, what success looks like, and how things really work inside the workplace. Learn more about the Ladderburner Learning Lab.