This is the eleventh article in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties, and today we’re talking about commitment. In other words, always following through on promises and finishing what you start. The last thing you want to do is gain a reputation for being a ‘non-finisher’. As you get on in your career, you’ll find that this reputation becomes increasingly hard to shake off, so don’t start down that road. This doesn’t necessarily mean giving up all of your free time to finish a task because you’ve over-promised - it’s more about being open and honest with yourself and your colleagues.
The importance of time management
Commitment isn’t about getting a flawless 100% task completion record. It’s about intelligent use of time and transparency. If you take on a task that proves to be too time consuming and you’re worried about shooting past a deadline, just be honest about it. Speak to the project manager and explain in advance, or use your initiative to enlist more help. Commitment is about doing what’s needed to achieve an objective for the business, and sometimes that means admitting to yourself that you’ve perhaps bitten off more than you can chew.
Always be an open book
We all struggle with our workloads from time to time so there's no shame in asking for help. It takes a lot of confidence and foresight to assess your workload and realise that things might not go as smoothly as you’d hoped. It also shows a wider awareness of the needs of the business as a whole, and by being honest with your superiors about your workload and concerns, you’re demonstrating your ability to put the business first. That’s promotion material.
Work hard and you’ll be rewarded
At times, resources can be so stretched in a business that you might feel stuck with a seemingly unattainable goal. This can be demoralising, but don’t let it get you down. These trying times can be what define you as an employee, and by choosing to throw yourself into your work and get through the hard times you’ll show great leadership qualities and ability to work under pressure. If you’re feeling the pressure, the chances are your colleagues are too. Speak to those you trust, and make it clear to your line manager that you’re willing to put more effort or time in to help get the business on track. Even if you fall short, it won’t be your fault and your employer will appreciate the effort and commitment you put in.
At the end of the day, commitment should not be confused with success. While one often follows the other, they are not linked. It’s possible to be fully committed, keep your promises and go above and beyond the call of duty, and still fall short of a target. Commitment is your ability to be open and honest about this with your colleagues and keep moving when the going gets tough.