How to Be at Your Best in a World of Change and Challenge

There is a wide range of ideas about what it means to have a successful career—it’s up to you to come up with your own definition. Some people are happiest climbing the career ladder into positions of increasing authority, visibility, and compensation. Others are most satisfied in a job where they are able to do what they love and have stability. Maybe you see work not a career but as a job—something you do to make money that enables you to pursue interests or adventures that give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment. All of these—and many other variations—are all good definitions. It depends on you and what you want your life to be.

Within this diversity, I believe there is a common interest in doing what you do well. You can focus on taking pride in your work, knowing your efforts make the lives of others better, or that you really earned that paycheck. But there are many things that get in the way of doing your best. Some are internal: Your mind belittling your accomplishments or insisting people are out to get you. Others are external: Sometimes people really are out to get you and there are limitations due to job culture, industry goals, and economics that can keep you from being all you can be. Frequently personal situations like a change in your health, having children, getting divorced, or caring for aging parents create circumstances where hopes and dreams take a backseat to the need to provide for those you love.

As if all that weren’t enough, your life, your career, and even your job is a journey that will take you places you never imagined and trap you in places you never wanted to be. So how do you rise up from the seemingly endless challenges of life and find ways to do your best? Start with self-awareness—understand yourself, how you respond to stress, to joy, and to change. Become as strong as you can and surround yourself with good people.

The world is fantastic and full of opportunity, yet also baffling and terrifying. So it goes. To do your best in a world where complexity is likely impossible to fully grasp, you have to make conscious decisions about what parts of the world you want to interact with. Research those areas, know those industries, and understand how the pieces work. This knowledge will help you to navigate changes, keep your skills relevant, and help you to look into what futures are the most probable. Engagement with the world will help keep you from being surprised and will help you make the best possible decisions regarding how you plan your life, career, and finances.

If this is an area you need more support in, or if you would be interested in career counseling services, please contact us at We have proven methods to help you work toward being your best, however you define it.

Article Author:  Bryan J. Dennis, Ph.D.