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Bryant & Stratton College Blog Staff

How to Get Ahead in Life

If you're wondering how to get ahead in life, you're not alone. This is a common question that has several valuable answers. If you feel like you're lagging behind where you'd like to be, try these strategies for pulling ahead of the pack.

Practice Effective Goal-Setting

You can't get ahead if you don't know where you're going. Setting clear, actionable goals is the first step to accomplishing any dream, whether you're climbing on the treadmill or climbing Mt. Everest. Grab a notebook and list your top five goals for your life. Break these goals down into smaller segments, and divide those into actionable steps.

For example, if your goal is to earn six figures a year, you may break this down into landing a job in a lucrative field and earning steady promotions. That initial goal of getting into the field will break down into things you can act on now, such as getting the right degree, passing certification exams, and applying for an internship.

Whatever you choose, be sure it is something you enjoy because if you are going to be successful, you will be spending most of your time doing it. As Steve Jobs said, "The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”

Build a Strong Network

Who you know is just as important as what you know. A strong network of valuable contacts will open doors in every area of your life. A Pew Research Center survey revealed that Americans widely rank communication as the most important skill for success in life. If you carry yourself well, make strong introductions, and maintain positive relationships, you'll have a wealth of opportunities at your feet.

If you're wondering how to get ahead in business, you may find the answer is as simple as having the right recommendations for a promotion or making connections with the most valuable clients. With a diverse network of friends and professional contacts, you can easily connect with a top realtor when you're looking for a house or get an introduction to a well-placed job recruiter in your industry.

Enhance Your Skill Set

Are you concerned about how to get ahead in school? Focusing on the right skill set may be the answer. If you spread yourself too thin, you'll have adequate skills in several areas, but a focused specialty in none. Choose your niche and strive to become an expert in that area. With a laser focus on what you're most passionate about, you can become the best in your field, establishing yourself as the go-to source for your specialty. 

If you don't already have one, get a degree that's highly relevant to your field. Education is directly linked to employability. Employment is just 51 percent for people without a high school diploma, but 89 percent for those with a Bachelor's degree or higher. Having a degree is key.

Budget Your Funds

If you're focused on how to get ahead financially, maintaining a budget is invariably the first step. You can't achieve financial success if you don't know where your funds are going. Establish a savings fund so you can comfortably weather unexpected situations such as medical expenses or a job layoff. Put plans in place for retirement savings and a well-rounded investment portfolio as well. 

Manage your expenses so they're always less than your income, and look to the future so you're not living precariously from one paycheck to the next. List your financial goals and prioritize these, so you don't unwittingly spend $100 dining out this month when what you really wanted was a new pair of shoes. Keep your eyes on the goal and follow your funds so you know where they go.

Determining how to get ahead in life is different for each person, but these principles will help you harness success in nearly any area of your life. The right approach will help you excel in everything from landing the right job to building up your bank account, so you can finally feel like you're pulling ahead where you need to.

For more information on educational opportunities to help you reach your goals, contact the Admissions office at Bryant and Stratton College. We'd love to help.

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