Employees have spoken! These are the Best Places to Work in 2022. See the Winners!

Career Advice

5 Science-Backed Tips for a More Successful Career

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated May 8, 2018

If you want to succeed in the workplace, it is important to realize that it takes more than just grit and sheer effort.

There’s a limit to how much effort you can put in, and even when you put that effort in, there’s a right and wrong way to go about it. It’s much easier, however, to work on your mindset: some simple mindset changes can set you up for both immediate and long-term career success.

Read on to learn five simple research-backed mindset changes that will position you for a more successful career.

1. Carry Yourself Confidently

You might not think there's a connection between posture, how you carry your body, and success — however, tons of research has shown that posture can indeed influence success. Research shows that taller men and women have an advantaged over their shorter counterparts, with studies establishing that taller people earn more, and are viewed as smarter, more confident and more leader-like. Even more, the majority of Fortune 500 CEOs are taller than average. Of course, you can’t suddenly get taller, but having proper posture can make you appear taller — according to some sources, poor posture can rob you of up to two inches in height.

You can also take this to the next level by doing what Dr. Amy Cuddy calls “power posing.” According to Cuddy, doing expansive poses (such as leaning back in your chair) can make you appear more powerful while also boosting your confidence levels — this in turn positively impacts your career prospects.

2. Realize You Are in Control

As cliche as it sounds, there’s so much in our power that we relinquish control of. The simple mindset change of being active and realizing that you are in full control of your career choices — and what happens as a result of these choices — instead of being passive can make a whole lot of difference. The science of neuroplasticity has established that our brains can be trained to be really good at things we thought we weren’t naturally gifted at.

This was demonstrated in an experiment by Stanford University professor Dr. Carol Dweck. The experiment involved a group of seventh graders in a large New York City school. The students were split into two groups: both groups received skill training, but one of the groups received a “growth mindset” training, in which they were trained to realize that they could control their performance in subjects they weren’t “gifted” at. The result was amazing. The group without the mindset training made no progress and even suffered deteriorating performance despite an increase in skill training. The group with the growth mindset training, on the other hand, saw their scores soar. Once the “failing” group was introduced to mindset training, their scores went up as well. This was repeated on a larger scale with similar success.

According to Michael Corkery, CEO of Pool Guard USA, “Instead of resigning yourself to ‘fate,’ realize how much your actions can actually influence your career: Start to take more active control by intentionally networking, attending conferences and building up relevant skills to position you for career success. Don’t wait for things to happen to you; be proactive.”

3. Practice Positive Thinking

Another mindset change guaranteed to make you more successful in your career is positive thinking. Being more productive will undoubtedly make you more successful career-wise, but it should be no surprise that researchers have found a link between having a negative mindset and being unproductive at work. If you’re usually negative, you will be highly unproductive. Some tweaks for fostering positive thinking include:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal where you record what you’re thankful for every day.
  • Taking time daily to think about the positive things you experienced, no matter how bad the day was.

4. Understand How Essential Happiness Is to Your Success

We would all love to be happy, but very few people take active measures to seek their own happiness. What if the effect of your happiness on your career could be measured? Well, you might be surprised to know that researchers have found a link between employees’ happiness and productivity. When you’re happier, you’re more productive. Even something as simple as faking a smile can trick your brain into being happier and, as a result, positively impact your productivity.

5. Ditch Competitiveness & Develop a Team Mindset

When it comes to achieving career success, we tend to think that the fastest route is to put in more effort while outplaying and outcompeting our peers. Unfortunately, research has established that it doesn’t work that way. Instead, you will succeed much faster when you develop a team mindset and make a more concerted effort to play along with your team. Researchers have found that people with more emotional intelligence (i.e. people who connect more and are better team players) are more likely to succeed than their peers with higher IQ or experience.

John Stevens is the CEO of Hosting Facts. He is a regular contributor to top publications including Business Insider, Adweek, Internet Retailer and Entrepreneur.

banner blog 8

Browse Open Jobs

Find Jobs Near You