Career — 31 July 2012
Do you realise how far you’ve come in your career?

I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to live and work in Hong Kong between 2006 and 2008, but hadn’t been back to Hong Kong since returning to Australia until a few weeks ago.

I have to admit it was quite surreal going back after four years. Sure “Asia’s World City” had undergone a few cosmetic changes. The 114-storey International Commerce Centre – which I’d once seen as a giant hole in the ground – now stood in all its glory towering over Victoria Harbour. And a few of the world’s leading fashion labels had opened new flagship mega stores.

But when I walked past my old dry cleaner, the old woman behind the counter waved to me as if it had only been a few days since I last dropped my shirts off, and the little hole in the wall juice bar where I used to get my daily fresh juice was just as chaotic as I’d remembered. The humidity was beyond horrendous, the crowded streets and bright neon signs were still a complete sensory overload, and the pollution was as shocking as ever.

It was almost as if nothing had changed.

And yet standing in my hotel room, looking out the window at Hong Kong, I realised how much I had changed and how much I had achieved in the four years since I’d left.

Strangely enough, it took re-visiting a past time and place in my life for me to really appreciate how much I have accomplished both personally and professionally since then.

Now think about your career for a moment. Even if your surroundings haven’t changed all that much in the last few years, what have you achieved? What progress have you seen in your career? Have you been recognised for your efforts? But most important of all, are you proud of your accomplishments? And are you content with where you stand in your career today?

Often we are far too harsh on ourselves. Often we are by far our worst critics.

Career progress and professional development remain key to feeling a sense of personal success.

Sometimes we can get far too caught up in the current week, month, quarter or even year and feel that we are not where we should be “by now”.

But take a step back, take a mental break, and look out of your metaphorical hotel room window. Think back to where you may have been standing a few years ago.

Hopefully now you’ll see a different picture.


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(6) Readers Comments

  1. What a wonderful post…a timeless message and one well worth reflecting on, particularly duing those times when we feel that we are in a wheel and not really getting anywhere.

    It’s so easy to lose sight of the cumulative effect of all those little incidents, experiences…the myriad of learnings that we often don’t even notice. I love the idea of stepping back from time to time and reflecting. A great idea.

    Thanks for sharing, it made my day!

  2. Pingback: Creating order in a chaotic universe

  3. Someone once told me “if you are going to make it to the higher steps of the ladder, you will stumble at times”, the question is: can you keep your balance? The thirst to evaluate our results in a short window is reflective of our quarterly driven, mentality. Our self-criticism is driven by our “street” timing and we forget to step back. Simple but powerful post; perspective helps you take the next step. Thank you.

  4. It’s so true! We easily get so tied up in today and looking forward that we forget to look behind us and see how far we’ve come. We can draw great strength from seeing the cumulative effect of all those small steps and realising that we are making progress toward our goal. The important part of course is to ensure that we have set a goal so that all those little steps are headed in the direction that we want – up the mountain rather than just wandering around on the mountainside!

  5. “For many people a job is more than an income – it’s an important part of who we are. So a career transition of any sort is one of the most unsettling experiences you can face in your life. ”
    Paul Clitheroe

  6. Pingback: My top 5 career lessons, Career

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