Today marks 25 years since I launched Wisnik Career Enterprises. I left a secure job as the Director of Recruiting and Training at one of the country’s top law firms because I saw a market and needs I could serve. I was 33 years old, my husband had just launched his own legal practice, and we had a three-year-old son. We had no savings and funded the first year of business on credit cards. We did have a rent-stabilized Manhattan apartment and tons of courage.
I have spent the past week quarantining and recovering from COVID, and used the time to reflect on my biggest learnings from the past 25 years. These are the 5 things I have learned about career success that I want to share with you:
- To find your dream job you need to know yourself. The people I have been able to help most did the hard work and have the self-awareness needed to articulate their unique talents and which work values are musts for them. For example, I can best help those who know the kind of firm culture and the work-style of the type of boss who brings out the best in them.
- The most successful professionals invest in relationships and value them greatly. One of the most rewarding parts of my job has been the many people I have had a chance to work with over and over again throughout the years. These professionals know the importance of long-term relationships. I have witnessed dozens of firms disappear over the past 25 years. The greatest job security you can ever have is in the trusted relationships you build and maintain.
- You can be successful and not feel successful. A few years ago when I hit age 50, I struggled with the feeling of “Is this all there is?” I still loved my work and clients and had all the trappings of success, but something was missing. I signed up for a year-long immersive Tony Robbins’ program and spent 260 hours learning how to lead a fulfilling, not just successful, life. Some of the key takeaways I learned included how to manage my critical inner voice, how to confront the fear my mind excels at generating, and how to really take in all the good stuff in my life and live in gratitude. Managing my mind and living in gratitude is a daily practice that has shifted my mind-set and allowed me to experience success and fulfillment.
- Don’t become a dinosaur. If you’re not learning and growing, you will become obsolete. The candidates I can place easily have a growth mindset. They invest in learning new things, whether it’s mastering new practice areas, technology or executive coaching. In my own life, I have found that taking online classes, such as the Institute for Integrative Nutrition certification course I completed during the pandemic, allow me to have more to offer our clients, such as well-being webinars. No matter where you are in your career, learning new skills and information will keep you relevant and increase your career control.
- To lead a truly successful life you must focus on serving others. I’ve met many “successful” professionals with great LinkedIn profiles who feel disappointed because something is lacking. I have studied these people and they are driven by the need for status (external significance) and certainty (high need for control). As we all witnessed over the past year, certainty is an illusion, life can change in seconds and we don’t have as much control over it as we thought we did. What I learned on my journey is that focusing on what we can contribute to others to make their lives better is what makes our lives feel meaningful. Contribution is what drove me to spend five months of the pandemic writing a book for 19 to 24 year-olds. I am very fortunate to still love helping professionals find the right fit job and plan to continue placing top talent for many years. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic and I start my 26th year in business, I do have an added mission, which I plan to accomplish through the launch of the Your Fairy Job Mentor digital platform. I will share information, insights and inspiration with this new generation so they can have the tools to launch the successful and fulfilling career they deserve. It’s time to give back in a big way!