Your Career Success Depends on Patience

But patience alone won’t do the trick. You also need determination and a healthy dose of ambition. Together, these qualities can propel you to the career success you want. A key question is whether or not you recognize their value and are prepared to put them into practice in your job search and career management planning.

how Does Patience help Your Career Success?

Patience concept.

A popular quote says that “good things come to those who wait.” Does that mean you should sit on your hands and expect your career success to take care of itself? Hardly! What it does mean is that you’ll encounter situations in your career where patience helps get you over rough spots.

For example, if you’re faced with circumstances you can’t control or at least have relatively little influence over, exercising patience can enable you to “hang in there” until the problem can be solved or otherwise avoided.

Applying patience to difficult circumstances can be challenging, because your instinct is often telling you to push-push-push ahead. Obviously, you need to make sure you’re aware of the ramifications of that situation. In some cases, there might actually be one or more actions you can take that will be useful in resolving the situation. On the other hand, giving in to the impulsion to push could be detrimental to your career success. You need to recognize the difference.

Patience Plus Determination

When faced with an obstacle to your career success, it’s a good idea to start with a bit of patience–at least enough to let you take a careful look at what you’re facing and assess key aspects of it. Here are just a few questions you might ask yourself:

  • How big a problem is this (is it critical to my long-term career success)?
  • Are there clear alternatives that would let me move forward now? If so, what are they?
  • What seems to be standing in my way, and can I realistically control any or all of it?

Once you’ve evaluated what’s going on, you can apply determination to choose a career path and pursue it effectively. Sometimes that requires ignoring small distractions that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. so you can concentrate your time and energy on actions you know you can and should implement. It might also indicate that you should seek advice from mentors and others you trust, then choose your course and move forward without letting self-defeating doubts (or the doubts of others) discourage you.

The thing to remember here is that few things worth having come without effort, and some of the best outcomes require significant determination to achieve.

Ambition’s Role in Your Career Success

Depositphotos_73413961_m-2015Determination and ambition generally go hand-in-hand. However, you can be determined to achieve a particular goal that might not be directly related to career advancement; in such a case, ambition would be at most a peripheral element. Often, though, career success does require adding ambition to the mix. defines ambition as “an earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction…and the willingness to strive for its attainment.” If career success seriously matters to you, ambition could already be part of the picture, but you might not have recognized or fully acknowledged it yet.

In order to pursue your goal effectively, it’s important to recognize that ambition not only can but should play an active part–assuming you don’t carry it to totally self-centered extremes. To quote 17th-century writer William Congreve, “All ambitions are lawful except those which climb upward on the miseries or credulities of mankind.”

If ambition drives you to trample other people on your way up, it’s destructive, not positive. In the long run, you might pay a higher price than your career success is worth.



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