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Discovering Career Success: Insights on Leadership Development


Emerging into adulthood and career success requires powerful leadership skills that enable you to shape up your destiny and abide by the commitment to your goals. In this blog, we will be focusing on the factors of career leadership and how to achieve career freedom. I would like to acknowledge that I have been given the permission to share thoughts and key highlights from my meeting with one of my research professors in my respected field but to keep his name anonymous; he will be referred to as Mr. O. Throughout our discussion, I was able to comprehend what career leadership I truly wanted, along with the risks and the efforts that coexist with achieving this status.

1.   Redefining Career Leadership

During our time discussing what the future could hold for the younger generation, Mr. O pointed out a key aspect of career leadership and pointed at both of us; meaning the ability to spend time doing things he desires. In his vision, career leadership is the ability to balance your work and social life, the ability to excel at your work while balancing resilience, adaptability, and self-growth. He emphasizes that it is not entirely based on one’s achievements getting constant promotions, but rather their ability to be self-acceptance within themselves, to find the time out of the day to do things they enjoy, and to lead/inspire others with honesty and motivation. This vision resonates with me as an aspiring engineer since it undermines the goal of being self-determinant within your personal and professional life. I learned that professional development success does not only feature an aspect of career leadership, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle and integrity is what helps you last.

2.   Enjoy it While Lasts

“Enjoy it while it lasts” is a phrase I am sure everyone has heard at one point in their lives. This meaningful phrase underscores the importance of not taking everything for granted and enjoying each moment. Mr. O was in full support of this phrase and advocated for this lifestyle. He pointed out that our careers are not about the achievements we create but the journeys we embark on, this allows us to experience events that will create lasting memories and gain knowledge from them as they shape us the way we are. Mr. O reflects on his days as a young professor and reminisces the experiences and friends he met along, knowing that his life is fulfilled; he’s glad that he took in each moment. I came to an understanding that perhaps the destination is not the solely important aspect of life, but rather the journey of it. Our success is built upon the experiences and memories we bring along.

3.   Dealing with Adult Stress

Stress is an expression of a range of emotions an individual may experience; especially during their adult life, as maintaining a personal and professional life can be difficult at times. Mr. O had mentioned throughout his career, that he’s been under constant stress, not used to having free time, he would get even more stressed if he had nothing to do. However, he noticed a slump of change in his well-being after he implemented three key points to stay healthy and stress-free. Boundaries, and setting a timeline for work and personal time are a few of the factors Mr. O advocated for, he also underscored the importance of seeking help, whether it’s from a family member or a professional advisor; acknowledging and addressing stress will save you from health problems. Lastly, he highlighted the fact that things take time, be cautious and patient about things in your life, and do not stress about the future while you are in the present. The main takeaway I took from this is that; one has to manage and endure stress to gain success. There are two ways that I want to apply to manage stress; setting boundaries and seeking support.

4.   Networking

Networking is one of the most beneficial tools that is utilized to further improve your professional and personal life. Mr. O has underscored the importance of networking and reflected on how this tool has enabled him to open new opportunities and gain valuable lessons from mentors. He’s also quoted that “Networking goes a long way, it isn’t only about landing a few contacts; instead, it can open up to limitless opportunities for personal and professional improvements.” He highlighted that focusing on these three aspects such as paying attention, exchanging ideas, and asking for clarification will enable you to create relationships that can open endless opportunities. I discovered that real networking is built upon meaningful relationships that one can leverage for a long-term personal life, rather than an exchange business card used only when needed.

5.   Create a Secure Personal Brand

In our last fifteen minutes of discussion, Mr. O pointed out to me and said, your confidence will enable you to go further in the future because the majority of students are too shy to ask questions, let alone set up a coffee meeting. He undermined the importance of a strong personal brand and supported students to have self-confidence within themselves to obtain a strong brand. He mentioned that a personal brand demonstrates your identity, and who you are as an individual. It isn’t only about what you can achieve; it’s also the key to showcase and convey your special qualities and habits to others. He noted three key steps that enable you to create a secure personal brand:

-        Define what your values and qualities are

-        Listen for feedback and self-improvement

-        Share your knowledge to the public

Implementing these three key concepts will allow you to achieve a secure personal brand that will not only shape you as an individual but also enable you to create a long-term impact on your personal and professional life. From this, I came to understand the significance of what a strong personal brand can accomplish for you. In order to stand out in both my professional and personal life; I must continue to build my confidence within myself and skills and seek judgement from mentors whenever needed.


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