The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Career Changers - Effective Interactions and Collaboration  

By Gillian Watson, Associate Elect & Legends Report Writer

In this fourth part of the Guide To Your Dream Career, we recap on our first 3 habits of personal and career effectiveness and explore the importance of developing relationships that are mutually beneficial to you achieving your dreams while helping others achieve theirs.

Change Can Be Scary, But Failing to Change Can Be Worse  

As we’ve been discussing, looking at changes in your career can be a daunting exercise, but it can also be invigorating if you create the right action plan for your dream career.

We have looked at the three habits of personal and career effectiveness as beginning points of focus and change that, while we are specifically looking at your career options now, they can be introduced at any time in your life.

In order to continue to move forward, take some time to reflect back on the journey we’ve been on so far.  Write these down, think about them often and refer to them as many times as you need:

  1. Be Proactive!
    Become the designer of your life - Take responsibility for your own career and personal growth by continuously learning, researching and giving yourself time to be curious and imaginative.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
    Create your own design- Come up with a vision of what you want your future career to be and design your life around that.
  3. Put First Things First  
    Bring your design to life - Start creating an action plan to prioritise what will help you achieve your ideal future career.

Remember, new habits and change takes time and practise! Think of some ways to trigger your memory for achieving new habits. This could be anything from a daily reminder on your phone or a post-it note on the mirror, to scheduled time in your diary.  Building these new ways of living your life will start creating your personal and career development.

We've been speaking about being independent, mainly doing things by ourselves, but to be truly effective, no one succeeds alone! This is a fundamental principle of building a successful career. Often we struggle with motivation, discipline or just doing what we need to do! The next steps in our series, will be working on how to be more effective in your relationships and communication with others.

Think Win-Win or No Deal

Have you ever looked at people who succeed and they do that by ensuring someone else fails? You may have looked at others and thought "I don't want to be that person!" or "Do I have to have that same kind of dog-eat-dog attitude?

Most of us at some point have based our self-worth on comparisons and competition with others, possibly even going as far as using them to get ahead in our careers.  Realising that a lot of life is TOTALLY reliant on relationships and that the results you reap are affected by how you manage those relationships, is a big step towards understanding how to create bonds that are mutually beneficial.  That everyone involved can win, like Dr Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

“When one side benefits more than the other, that’s a win-lose situation. To the winner, it might look like success for a while, but in the long run, it breeds resentment and distrust”.  

When last did you attend a networking event to come home with many business cards in your pocket but not one real human connection made?  That everyone just wanted you to know about their business and not listen to your ideas? Did that feel like a genuinely effective way to spend your time?

Have you walked away from an introduction only thinking about how you could use that connection when next you need (insert appropriate favour here)...  Was your intention behind those thoughts to 'use' or to be 'useful'?

What we want to focus on instead is the Win-Win approach. It is about cooperation, not competition. This means agreements and solutions need to be equally satisfying, requiring a balancing act between courage and consideration of each other.

How Can You Start Introducing ‘Win-Win’ Into Your Relationships? 

Relationships are about communication and understanding. This does not mean you have to be 'nice' all the time! But it does mean you need to approach each interaction with openness and a need for both sides to benefit.  Here are three helpful considerations to keep in mind during any interactions - Remember to act with:

  1. Integrity - stay true to your values, feelings and commitments
  2. Maturity - express ideas and feelings with courage, while offering empathy and consideration to others thoughts and ideas
  3. An abundance mentality - Seeing that there is enough for everyone! Not that for you to win, others should fail.

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.”  – Vera Nazarian, Author and Publisher

Finding The Right Support Is Key

What sets successful career professionals apart is often how they lead and manage their relationship building and importantly, who they go to for support.  Changing how we approach every relationship is not easy but reaching out can often be the step that moves your dreams into actionable goals.  Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg once said:

“'The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.'

When you are looking for guidance but aren’t sure about how to go about finding it, approach the challenge with a thought on what value you are able to add to a potential relationship, think win-win. Ask yourself whether you are hungry to learn and invest in your own future before you ask someone else to invest in it?

If you are willing to put in the necessary effort, it will then make it worthwhile to seek out external guidance and help. Your willingness to be proactive, create your vision and schedule your priorities are all vital steps to being ready to find an effective mentoring relationship!

There are many benefits to becoming a mentee, read more here:  Looking for a Mentor - Here’s Sheryl Sandberg’s Advice 

How can you start developing your awareness of which relationships are currently helping you achieve optimal results towards your dream career?

How To Apply This


Which one of the following statements can you relate to at work?

1. I want to progress but I feel like everyone around me is more confident and if I ask questions they will think I'm stupid and I don't want to risk that.2. I struggle to trust people at work because everyone seems to be in it for themselves.3. I get on well with people at work but I don't know how to go to the next level and build relationships with my superiors.4. I can't seem to find the right support at work to progress.5. Other


Does the idea of having a life and career plan for your future appeal to you?


Yes it doesI'm not sureNo thank you



Would you value having some guidance from a career mentor to talk you through some options on how to progress?
Yes pleaseNo thank you



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