“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” or so the saying goes. It means that we shouldn’t be working all the time and instead, we should learn to enjoy life instead. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially in today’s ultra-competitive society.

We’ve been told since young to study hard so we can get a good job — a good career. All this so that we can lead comfortable lives and provide for our families without needing to suffer through the tough times. It’s stressful, and it can wreak havoc on your health — like feeling tired all the time and acne popping up as indicators of your stress levels, but it really is important to make good career decisions.

If you want to reach your career goals as quickly as possible, you’re going to need to avoid making any bad career moves as best as you can. Here are some ways on how you can learn to make better and smarter career decisions.


Determine Your Career Self-Efficacy

Career self-efficacy is the level of belief in your capability to perform at work that will satisfy your definition of career development. That level of belief to make good choices and perform to standards and expectations required in the next step you choose has a massive impact on whether or not you perform well. In turn, this affects whether or not you will regret your decision in the first place.

Examining your career self-efficacy won’t just help you recognise what level of belief you have in yourself to make smart career decisions. You will also learn why you make decisions the way you do. Whether it is through verbal persuasion, obtaining advice from people you respect, environmental factors or the level of emotional and personal satisfaction you think you’ll receive — these are all factors which would influence your decisions.

Dedicate yourself to this, and in time you will be able to consolidate greater trust in yourself to make decisions which don’t just serve your present goals, but also your future ones.


Take Ownership And Set Milestones For Your Career

Do you wait for opportunities to come knocking at your door? If so, you’re not in charge of determining where you’ll end up — you’re at the mercy of someone else’s decision-making. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if you want to progress faster, it’s time for you step up and take charge of your career choices.

Regardless of whether you’re an employee or a business owner, don’t wait for instructions to be dictated to you. You are responsible for your own success or failures, and whether you succeed or not is mostly up to you. Once you recognise and acknowledge this, you will gain the confidence to push yourself to greater heights. That, in itself, will be hard to achieve.

Set goals for yourself, like what you want to achieve by when. Whether it’s based on position or salary, with clear goals in mind, you will know what you need to do to be where you want in future.


Learn To See Your Mistakes As Progress

Failure is inevitable, that much is certain. As prepared as you are, mistakes may happen, because we’re only human. There may be other factors that get in your way too, so it may not even be a fault of your own.

But who says mistakes have to be a bad thing? We have learned from our time studying history about all the past mistakes that important people have made, and we learn from them so that we do not make the same mistakes in our lifetime. The same can be done for our personal lives. By practising and learning to look for the lessons in every bad career decision, you’ll find it difficult to regret any future career move you make.

Embracing awareness of how bad decisions make you nosedive mentally, emotionally and physically can be your biggest teacher to making far better choices. These lessons can be painful and may even derail many areas of your life, not just your career. However, after spending time processing the collateral damage, you will learn from them and come out better, faster, and stronger. You’ll spend less time delaying your career progression by not wasting as much time and energy in avoidance-mode and realising you have the resources within you to rebound from any setbacks.


Find Mentors That Can Provide Good Advice

It’s essential for you to seek and plug into mentors, mastermind groups and others who have attained the life goals you are gunning for. They’ve already gone through what you’re currently going through, so who better to ask and get accurate advice and feedback?

Ask questions. Offer to volunteer on projects. Invite them to assess your competence and performance. Through them, you’ll quickly learn your limits, make even more informed career decisions at every step and build incredible relationships that can reap opportunities and rewards in ways you can’t yet see.