At what point should I be at _______ position in my career?

How do I get to a management position?

When I’m 29 I am going to release ______ product, and when I am 34 I am going to launch _____ continuing education product.

When I’m ___ years old I am going to open my own gym.

It’s uncommon in my conversations with personal trainers and strength coaches to say statements like the one above. Hell, I was the last statement…just waiting to open my own gym when I was 27.

Needless to say, we’ve been there at one point or another in our life….just wondering how to progress our careers.

Here’s my quick take (maybe advice?) to those wanting to advance their career.

1) Define what a ‘successful’ career is for you.

This is hands down the most important. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been in the industry for a little bit of time. What is the top for you? Is it owning your own facility? Is it being a department director? WHY do you want this/these positions? What value will these positions bring to your life that your current status/position doesn’t?

Success isn’t a linear path and success isn’t the same to everyone. Define WHAT qualities you want from your career and let those pieces help create your path to your own success.

2) Compete against yourself, not time, and not other people, to achieve what you want.

Avoid the pitfall of time. Meaning, if you ‘feel’ or ‘want’ to hold _____ position by the time you’re ____ years old you’ve already lost the long game. Time isn’t a variable that controls your actions. The only variable that dictates your success is you. Your attention to detail. Your willingness to go above and beyond current responsibilities. Your time management. Your willingness to expand and add skill sets.

Compete against yourself to achieve what you want, not time. Time is linear. We all know that success is a gigantic squiggly line that (hopefully) trends upward. You control how fast that line increases.

3) Spend more time networking than you currently do.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in 7+ years since graduating college is that your network will be your biggest career asset. Training questions, questions outside your scope of practice, idea sessions, and career advancement opportunities, are all going to be answered and presented by the people in your network who can vouch for you, open doors, and come to you with opportunities before they get posted to the open job market.

Networking tip- help others. Offer your time. Be genuine in your actions. Don’t mail it in.

Making time for others will give them the trust they need to make time for you. Probably when you need it the most.