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​Applying wise words from inspirational black people to your career

  • Publish Date: Posted over 1 year ago
  • Author:by MERJE

October brings with it Black History Month, and this year we decided to honour the occasion with a selection of inspirational quotes from five celebrated black people and explore how they can be applied to your career.

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

Nelson Mandela, activist and the first president of South Africa

Education plays an important part in staying competitive and enhancing your skills. Whether you’re starting out in your career or continuing to build upon your years of experience, pursuing educational training has a variety of benefits:

  • Gain practical skills and knowledge that can be applied to your career

  • Pick up additional soft skills as well, such as communication, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, etc.

  • Further education demonstrates strong work ethic and commitment to skill enhancement, great qualities to showcase on your CV / help set a great example to your team

  • Gets you involved in networks of likeminded individuals whom you can bounce ideas off, learn from, and who can help progress your career

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."

Martin Luther King, civil rights activist

When it comes to advancing your career pathway, always being open to new opportunities will stand you in good stead.

Whether that’s changing career paths altogether, accepting on a new role in your current business, or even just taking on some additional responsibility, each incremental change advances your skills and experience and, therefore, your career as a whole.

Career progression isn’t always about huge jumps in salary or significant changes in job title. As King’s quote alludes to, even the smallest of advancements is still and step in the right direction.

"You can only become accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you."

Maya Angelou, poet and memoirist

The fact of the matter is that being happy at work and loving what you do is an overall productivity booster and enhances performance. People who enjoy their jobs are more likely to be optimistic, motivated, learn faster and make fewer mistakes and better business decisions.

Doing work you love is energising and creates a positive loop that fuels productivity and overall success. The trick is figuring out how to make yourself love your work, even the most mundane of tasks.

Try tapping into aspects of your job or your business which motivate you to do better. This could be your passion for problem-solving, your desire to deliver great services/products to your customers, or your commitment to the company’s overall vision.

"Every time you state what you want or believe, you're the first to hear it. It's a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don't put a ceiling on yourself."

Oprah Winfrey, talk show host and television producer

While career advancement is affected by a variety of external factors, many of which are out of your control, it is also helped – or hindered – by something internal as well. Your own self-belief.

As Oprah proclaims in this quote, it’s vital not to hamper your own journey by putting obstacles and challenges in the way; there are enough of those out there already!

Studies have shown that those with higher confidence levels tend to have better earning potential and get promoted quicker, so if you’re looking for another way to advance your career, working on your confidence or self-belief levels could be a good option.

"I don't have a feeling of inferiority. Never had. I'm as good as anybody, but no better."

Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician

Knowing your worth at work and not letting colleagues get you down will prove yourself fit and ready for future career opportunities. It helps you become more driven, ambitious and capable of managing challenging situations.

People who appreciate their own self-worth tend to be more inclined to face their fears and tackle new goals, but not everyone is born with that kind of assurance.

To build on this, you can start by listing all the attributes, capabilities, qualities, personality traits, and beliefs you think make you good at your job. Next, jot down your achievements, no matter how big or small they seem to be, then, examine how you used your traits to create a difference in your organisation.

Creating your own professional development plan will help you to appreciate the value you currently bring to your job, as well as the areas you’d like to improve and the direction you want to you’re your career in.

Looking for career advice? Get in touch.

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