Everyone desires career growth but only those who spend time to invest in themselves usually get to the point where they live their dreams. Most people are motivated, but motivation is not enough because the bridge that connects motivation to reality is discipline. What I’m emphasising is that apart from listening to motivational speakers and reading motivational books, you need discipline to make your dreams a reality. And it is not a one-off thing, it takes consistency to achieve success. This agrees with the view of the late American businessman, Jim Rohn, whose formula for success, says “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” The same goes for career growth, there are basic fundamental steps you must take consistently to experience a leap in your career.

Self development is the key to experiencing career growth. We observe this in the story of the young Malawian inventor, William Kamkwamba. He was born into relative poverty and relied primarily on farming to survive. A season of crippling famine forced Kamkwamba to drop out of school. He was not able to return to school because his family was unable to afford the tuition fee. In a desperate attempt to retain his education, Kamkwamba began to frequently visit the library. It was at the local library where Kamkwamba discovered his true love for electronics.

He consistently visited the local library to update his knowledge on a makeshift windmill project he wanted to build. He gained fame in his country when, in 2002, he built a windmill to power a few electrical appliances in his family’s house in Masitala using blue gum trees, bicycle parts, and materials collected in a local scrap yard. Since then, he has built a solar-powered water pump that supplied the first drinking water in his village and other windmills. We have many lessons to learn from the Kamkwaba story, some of which I have highlighted below.

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1. Invest in yourself

This is a major determinant of career growth. You must invest in yourself if you must go higher in your career. Your present level in your career reflects the level of your self-development. Most people believe that personal development must come in the form of formal education. I disagree with such views. Personal development is a form of self empowerment that could involve transforming one’s mind, enhancing one’s skills or engaging in any other form of productive work that can help you achieve your goal.

No situation should be so challenging to make you abandon self development. When one does not pay attention to personal development, one cannot avoid stagnancy. Before you can change anything, or be a solution to people’s problems, you must first change your mind. You have to consciously invest in yourself by reading books that relate to your career path, attending seminars, workshops and also having a mentor whose experience you can learn from. Despite the fact that his parents were not able to pay his tuition fee, Kamkwamba went on to succeed by deciding to be his own personal tutor. He was always going to the local library to read and develop himself for the project he wanted to start; he never allowed his predicament to stop him.

2. Consistency

To succeed in personal development, you must imbibe the discipline of consistency. Most times, doing something once doesn’t produce the required result, but doing the same task consistently produces mastery. Kamkwamba consistently visited the local library. He did not just go once and stop. Likewise, to experience a career leap we should consistently do things that put us on the pedestal of self development. Don’t just attend one workshop or seminar or even read a book once and believe that will do the magic, you have to be consistent at it. Only then will you get the desired result.

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3. Determination

The fuel you need to carry on when things are not working as planned in your career is determination. Challenges are part of everyday life. Regardless of whatever challenge you may be facing, it is not an excuse to stop investing in yourself if you desire to see yourself at the crest of our career. Kamkwamba tried his project several times until he got the right result. He was determined that no matter how long the project might take him; he was ready to keep at it until he got the desired result. In the same way, you should be determined enough to “never let go” until you get the expected result.

4. Discipline

Discipline is a key to achievement in any area of life. No matter how talented you are, if you are not disciplined, it might make people not to recognise what you have. Discipline can be considered a type of selective training, creating new habits towards improving yourself to help you reach your goal. One of the ways to be disciplined is to schedule time for a task and keep to it. Discipline helps you focus on your priorities and by focusing on your task, it helps you avoid procrastination. To succeed in developing yourself requires staying disciplined to the schedule you have planned as a path for self improvement.

If you’ll follow the road map described above – investing in yourself while imbibing consistency, determination and discipline – be sure that you will experience a career leap. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves”