Every parent wants to give their child a great start in life. At the most basic level, it’s providing a safe place to live, nourishing food, a loving home and a good education.

And there are a host of other resources that parents turn to to help their children continue to develop and grow. Like tutoring, summer camp, music lessons and sports to name a few.

You give your child as much of a head start as you can because you know the world is full of unexpected surprises – both good and bad – and you want your child to be prepared.

Even though my parents raised us on a professor’s salary, they made sure my sister and I had access to the best resources they could afford including a 15-volume encyclopedia set (this was back before the days of Google and Wikipedia!) and ballet and music lessons.

But just giving your child a great start doesn’t guarantee they’ll keep developing. They need to have continued access to different resources and support to keep progressing.

The same is true for you in your career.

Beyond getting off to a great start this year (or in your career overall), you’ll also need to have access to the right resources and support in order to achieve the success that you aspire to.

In my experience there are three steps for building on the momentum of a great start and setting yourself up for success going forward:

  1. Tap into your “why”
  2. Get the resources you need
  3. Keep taking action

Let’s start with the first step.

Start by tapping into your “why”

They say the smarter and more experienced you are, the more you need to have a purpose for what you’re doing. To be able to answer the question “why am I doing this?”

When you have a “why” that truly motivates you, you can be unstoppable. Like the campaigner who finishes the marathon because it’s a cause she believes in or the 60-year-old who returns to college to finish her degree to finally complete a commitment she made to herself decades ago.

So what’s your “why” and how can you tap into it more consciously?

The more you have a purpose that resonates powerfully with you, the better you’ll be able to stick to and focus on your development.

Which brings us to the second step.

Go and get the resources you need

No one’s career is handed to them on a silver platter. Even the son or daughter of the founder has to prove themselves in some way. And for the rest of us, it takes even more conscious, deliberate and strategic approach.

As part of that, think about the resources you need to have access to in order to keep learning, growing and performing at higher levels. Because the bar just keeps rising. Expectations of you grow the longer you are in your career. So if you’re not moving forward, you risk falling behind.

Some of the resources I relied on during my career were people – like identifying mentors I could learn from and keeping in touch over time so I could call on them when needed. Other resources were written and online, which for me were self-help books and articles. For you it might be podcasts, blogs and subscriptions.

Still others were programs that provided leadership development opportunities. Like the week-long external women’s leadership development program that I got my department head to fund (and he also paid for two other colleagues to join me so we could get trained together!).

Just remember this…

It’s up to you to own your development

You’re the one who suffers most if you don’t have the resources you need. So don’t wait for your manager or organization to do it for you.

And don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s up to your organization to fund your development. Your employer is a great first port of call, but it will serve you well to also create your own budget for personal and professional development. Think of it as a competitive advantage to invest it in yourself each year.

Don’t be the person who says, “I’d love to get trained in this new skill (or have a coach, take a course, apply for a membership) but my company won’t pay for it”, and end up in a career dead end as a result.

Instead, be the young woman who told me, “I didn’t make the cut for the high potential program this year, so I figure I’d better hire a coach and improve myself so I can get into the program next year!”

So, what resources do you need to help you anticipate your future needs, keep you from going off track, and help you recover from mistakes? And how will you go about securing those resources?

And this brings us to the third step.

Keep taking action

Taking action is a crucial step for you continued success. Without action, even the best ideas and strategies won’t become a reality. And I want you to achieve your aspirations for your career and life!

Children are exceptionally good at the action taking part. When it’s learning how to walk, they keep trying no matter how many times they fall over until they finally learn to walk.

And then they start applying the same action taking to learning to run, jump, talk, swim and … well you get the picture.

Having been a child once, you can rest assured that you still have this ability to take action and keep at it until you develop to the level that you want and need. And it’s not that hard to resurrect that action-taking instinct, you just have to get started.

Even the smallest of “baby steps” will do the trick. Like signing up for that training you’ve been considering, clearing an hour in your calendar to read something that’s not directly related to your project, or sending a short email to a mentor to update them on what you’re up to these days.

Then you can rely on the laws of physics to keep you going: a body in motion tends to stay in motion!

So what are some small action steps you can take to set yourself up for continued success? And if you’re already taking steps, then what’s the next action that could make the biggest difference for your career if you take it now?

Set yourself up for continued success

If you started the year strong like the participants of our Career Mastery™ Kickstart Summit last week, then it’s time to build on that momentum. And if you’re just getting going, congratulations – there’s no time like the present to get the momentum started!

Either way, these three steps will help you set yourself up for career success – the kind that has a positive ripple effect on the rest of your life too.

  1. Tap into your “why” – having a clear purpose makes you unstoppable
  2. Get the resources you need – take ownership of identifying and securing the resources and support you need
  3. Keep taking action – even the best ideas and strategies need action to make them a reality

If you want a way to build momentum to reach the goals you’ve set out to achieve this year, then stay tuned because soon I’ll be sharing an effective resource that helps you to keep going strong throughout the year no matter what challenges and situations your career throws at you.

In the meantime, keep learning, keep growing, and keep going!