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How To Fill Up Your Career Rucksack


I often use my expedition experiences as a metaphor for managing your career effectively.

First off, you have to prepare:

Gain the necessary skills and experience to undertake the expedition you’re planning. For example, before climbing Huascaran in Peru, at over 22,000 ft high, I’d undertaken a number of previous expeditions in remote and high altitude locations. I knew what to expect physically and, importantly, I’d built the mental strengths and resilience to achieve the climb.

In your career, all of your previous experience, sometimes from outside of work as well as in, will help you to manage your next career step, whether that’s in the same organisation or beyond. You’ll have gained and practiced skills found personal qualities that demonstrate that you can reach the next peak on your journey. There is physical equipment that you need to have with you to do the job - spanners and screw drivers, laptops and projectors, theodolites, pens and paper or whatever’s necessary in your particular role. There’s also the training you’ve had, perhaps qualifications, and all those years of practical experience.

These are the metaphorical tents, sleeping bags, hiking boots, ropes and ice axes that you pack into your career rucksack.

On a real expedition, leaving without some of your equipment, letting it get old and damaged, or failing to practice can lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening consequences. That’s why you’ll often find us practicing using our ice axes on the lower slopes of a mountain or, as we did when following Shackleton’s footsteps across South Georgia, pitching tents and practicing crevasse rescue techniques on the deck of a ship in the Southern Ocean.

Have you checked your career rucksack lately?

Is your it in good order? Do you know what’s in there and how to use it best? Is there anything in there that you no longer need? Again, to use the mountain analogy, why carry equipment you don’t need: it uses up energy that you need to give you the best chance of success.

On an expedition, all of this preparation gives you the best chance of achieving your objective, whether that’s to reach a high peak or complete a wilderness journey, overcoming swollen rivers or snow blocked passes and enjoying the journey along the way.

In your career, it makes sure you’re set up to reach your goals, that you have the resilience and resources to successfully navigate any challenges, to achieve the amazing things that you are capable of and, above all, to enjoy every step of the journey.

Two key career backpack actions for you:

If you want to top up your career rucksack, I recommend signing up to Andy Bounds’ Tuesday Tips which will give you a regular flow of neat strategies to help you make your career a whole lot more enjoyable and successful.

Click here to sign up for Andy Bounds Tuesday Tips

And finally, because I’m on a mission to get the skills to help people enjoy their careers into the hands of as many people as possible, so please, if you haven’t already..

Take advantage of my free 9 Days to Career Success course

And if you are willing, please help me on my mission by sharing the link with your networks. You may also like to refer back to my blog.


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