Etiquette Tips

5 Secrets of a Successful Career

By Deborah King

Wouldn’t it be great to have a career that you loved so much you couldn’t wait for Monday mornings? I am happy to say that I do!

Recently, I was named Highline Community College 2010 Most Distinguished Alumni. What an incredible honor! The award was presented to me at commencement where I was asked to give a short speech. As I prepared, I thought about how I am often told I am so lucky to do what I love. I don’t believe luck has much to do with where I am today. My life is nothing more than the result of a series of choices I have made since youth, and, so is yours. Here are five secrets of a successful career.

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  1. Passion – What you are passionate about is often a key to what you are called to do. Passion energizes, motivates, inspires and rejuvenates you. It is the fuel that gets you through each day.
  2. Mastery – Learn all there is to know about your subject. And, keep learning.
  3. Excellence – Whatever you do, do it well! Excellence is doing the right thing every time – even when no one is looking.
  4. Civility – Treat all people, as well as animals and the environment, with respect, care and consideration. This will be reflected in your appearance, behavior and communication.
  5. Gratitude – Maintain an attitude of gratitude. Look for something to be grateful for every day. Some claim to be self-made. In reality, the success of one is only realized by the investment of many. Teachers, coaches, mentors, colleagues, clients, friends and family have all had a part in shaping who we have become.

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Highline had a part in shaping who I am today. Every teacher and every class added something unique to me. Dr. Buchan is one of those teachers who modeled for me the secrets of success. I can’t tell you everything he taught in each class, much to his sorrow I am sure, but I can tell you how he inspired me.

He was a master of every subject he taught. He did not simply recite stale information from a book. He breathed life into every topic and provided an experience as real as my morning coffee. He demonstrated excellence in all he did and said in the classroom. I am sure that was not easy to do, especially on those cold, rainy Seattle mornings when we had an 8am class. He delivered each subject with passion. Even if you were not interested in the subject initially, his passion was compelling and intoxicating. He treated every student respectfully – even those who chose to sleep through class.

Every successful person I know has discovered their passion and pursued it. They do not simply look for where the most money can be made, or what is the hot market of the day. They study their passion and achieve a level of mastery that others admire. They deliver all they do with a spirit of excellence. And, they have found a way to serve others from their field.

Their passion, mastery and excellence inspire all who meet them. Their Monday mornings are just as exciting as their Friday afternoons. Are you one of those individuals!

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