Seven Tips to Drive Career Growth & Success in Life

By Phylicia Teymer

The quest for success varies by individual. A myriad of choices beg for your attention and decisive action daily on your journey to the proverbial pinnacle of life. There’s no right way to live your life and you’ll choose how to spend the time you won’t get back to get where you aim to go. As my 29th birthday quickly approaches, it presents an opportunity to reflect and share what I’ve learned not only while working at IBM, but on my overall life adventure thus far. Below I’ve shared seven tips I feel, if used, will propel you forward on your journey to achieving your career and life goals.


Challenge complacency

Comfort is an anchor. It keeps you from exploring your life’s possibilities and holds you back from pushing past your boundaries. As IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty, has said, “Growth and comfort do not co-exist”. You must take calculated risks & challenge yourself. Have you ever had an idea, but a tinge of fear crept up upon its consideration? – Ask yourself, “why”. If your reason doesn’t involve life or death, then take that calculated risk. You’ll learn, grow, and thank yourself afterwards.

Build Your Network

It’s really true, the saying you’ve heard multiple times, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. You’re as smart and as powerful as your network, which also relates to significance of collaboration. Build your connections with those who will help you along the way and more. Want to learn about a new field or build your knowledge on a topic? Reach out and connect with others. They can open doors to new opportunities, and expand your perspective.


It’s great to dream big, but it’s another to execute the goals you’ve set to make your “dream” come true. The Worldwide Vice-President of IBM Collaboration Solutions & Kenexa Marketing, Elizabeth (Liz) Urheim, has also marked its importance saying, “Execution is critical”. Every day presents the opportunity to achieve smaller priorities that will enable you to accomplish your larger, more ultimate goals. Your goal is the “what”, your execution is the “how”, and your passion is the “why”.

Measurement = The power to prove it

I’ve experienced the power of measurement in multiple jobs from within sales to marketing and it also applies in life. If you have a goal or commitment to yourself or someone else, you need to be able to show how you’ve either progressed or achieved it. A great leader who has shown the significance of this is the Director of Digital, Social, and Influencers for IBM Commerce, Amber Armstrong. One key point I’ve learned under her leadership is that your goal should be quantifiable. It gives you the power to prove you’re closer or have accomplished what you set out to do.

Dream Big, Plan Backwards

Your dream is the BIG picture. When planning to accomplish it, plan your actions backwards from your dream to where you are now. If you don’t know what steps it takes to get there, ask your network. If your network doesn’t know, then expand your network. The power technology, social media, & other collaborative tools shrink your world to give you access to more people & knowledge.

Reflect & Protect

In tackling your goals, it’s important to take a moment to reflect. Have you learned something along the way that requires you to re-examine them? In the same token, it’s important to protect yourself and your goals along your journey. You may experience others who will try to deter you from continuing towards your goals. Stay focused on moving forward.

Mind Your Manners

One of my favorite authors and poet, Maya Angelou, once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. Those who’ve had the greatest impact on my development and will always be remembered are those who not only made me feel empowered by helping me realize my potential, but those who challenged me to believe in what and how I could accomplish my goals. What’s the common denominator? They had made me feel special. Consider this concept in your everyday interactions with those around you. Be considerate. You never know who you may cross paths with again and how they may help you along your path.


I hope my tips aid you along your journey toward continual growth & success. I look forward to continuing the conversation, so feel free to connect with me via my personal blog,, via Twitter and Linkedin.

Phylicia Teymer is a Social Media Strategist at IBM

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