Is your career on the move or is it stuck in status quo?  The concept of status quo is bothersome and some argue there’s no such thing. To wit, if you aren’t moving ahead, then you are most likely falling behind. Look around – nothing stays the same (at least not for very long). Take a look at the world’s top movers and shakers, you’ll quickly notice they parallel several important traits. Professionals climbing their ladder of success have common denominators, as well. Use these traits to measure areas in which you excel and those that need a call to action. Rate yourself: 1 = Needs attention; 2 = Steadily improving; 3 = Excelling

Pizzazz and style.
Successful professionals design their message to fit the audience and communicate in a succinct and clear way. They know doing so is paramount to building and maintaining credibility. They know solutions can be found through thinking, brainstorming, and drawing from experience. They are armed with data and can connect the dots between concept, plan, and execution. Their written words are as powerful.

Rising professionals actively listen with an open mind and entertains ideas of others, particularly those with differing experiences and vantage points. They advocate for their thoughts and ideas without being pushy, rude, or overbearing. They invite constructive questions and comments aimed toward a better result.

Soaring professionals know their strengths and how to use each one to build the foundation from which to launch advocates and build relationships. They spend time building on their strengths. They know how to use their strengths to get in front of key business decision makers and build a coalition among team members.

Positive disposition.
Adept professionals have a positive attitude and approach relationships and projects with enthusiasm. They know positivity begets positivity. Positive emotions release chemicals in the brain, that not only produce good feelings, but also take thinking and creativity to a higher level. They know happiness fuels success, not the other way around. A good mood is contagious and a flourishing professional knows how to spread it.

Look good.
Studies have proven looking good impacts confidence, which impacts performance. Successful professionals know first impressions are made within seconds. They show up every day ready to impress. They pay special attention to style, dress, and grooming. They move with grace and confidence. Their behavior is always consummate of a professional.

Astute professionals optimize their energy and performance by caring for their bodies. They know the importance of eating nutritious foods, regular exercise, getting the right amount of sleep and keeping stress levels in check. They schedule (and keep) regular doctor and dentist appointments.

Savvy business people recognize the importance of management and strive to make their managers look good by performing at the highest level possible. They build relationships with those in charge and communicate a desire for advancement. They are a team player but avoid participating in side conversations with peers and others that could be viewed as less-than positive. Even in times of disagreement, on-the-move professionals respect managerial decisions.

Virtual footprint.
Engaged professionals recognize first impressions are often drawn from digital platforms. They craft an online reputation that aligns with their personal brand. Online profiles and pictures are stellar. Timelines are checked regularly to identify any hacking or other nefarious behavior. They share valuable information that prompt others to connect.

Progressive professionals know the value of networking and build relationships inside and outside the office. They identify centers of influence and make a point to connect over coffee, lunch or drinks. They join professional groups and attend after work functions.

Smart professionals have a daily routine and priority list designed to maximize time and energy. They create time and space for creativity needed to enhance performance. They do not let others fill their time with idle, unproductive conversation. They focus diligently on the project at hand and delegate when appropriate.

High achievers are courageous and unafraid to embark on a journey to stretch their mind, thoughts, and goals. They actively seek information through reading, mentors, and classes. They are informed about issues that affect their industry, the workplace and the world and can speak intelligently about a variety of subjects.

Fiercely successful professionals look for opportunities to help them grow and get promoted. They attend conferences and invest in one-on-one coaching designed to hone specific skills.

It’s time to check the numbers and make a plan!

0-12: Excellent! You have taken the first step to becoming a professional on-the-move by recognizing specific areas for improvement. Prioritize a list of action steps that focus on your professional growth. For example, if your online presence is less than stellar, begin by deleting outdated and irrelevant information. Upload outstanding photos that present the new you. If you’re not sure where to begin, hire a coach to help you design a personalized plan of action.

13-22: Light a fire! It’s time to get to the next level. While you are moving, it is at a glacial pace. To become who you desire to be, it is necessary to speed up progress. To get it moving, sit down with a trusted colleague or mentor to get advice. Be prepared to ask specific questions, such as ‘how do you view my readiness for advancement?’ or ‘how can I improve my group presentation skills?’

23-32: Model yourself. You are moving along nicely but still have a few areas slated for improvement. Take a look at your 1 categories. Who do you know that ranks a 3 in those areas? Start modeling yourself after the person. If the model is inside your organization, invite them to coffee and ask for their input. They will likely be flattered and willing to help you. Be sure to take notice without copying; learn from them but develop your own application.

33-36: Hooray! You are a professional on the move and ready for the next step. Schedule a meeting with your manager and be armed with a self-evaluation of your progress and success. Now is not the time to be shy about sharing your accomplishments and career desire. If possible, know what positions are available. Ask for the opportunity to move up. Ask for the promotion.

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