Real-life ways to build a successful career starting today

We’re not shy about how much Ciara Lee inspires us. We had the pleasure of hosting a fireside chat with Ciara with The Mentor Method members. Our fireside chats are small groups of professional women that get together to ask a mentor their career questions, share their experiences and get advice in a close-knit environment.

In a world where drama and negative commentary can take over, it’s refreshing to have mentors like Ciara share the ways they’ve become success while taking the high road. Here’s Ciara’s advice on how to create a successful career while staying positive, being authentic, and keeping your hustle.

Stay organized from the start. Ciara recommends using a Panda Planner with a morning reflection section as well as a passion planner for goal setting.

Build your network through connecting with people. When it comes to growing her network, Ciara focuses on making connections that matter. “When I see people that are happy and doing what they love, I feel compelled to get to know them and learn from them on how they got to where they are.”

Let workplace drama go. Ciara had a toxic coworker take credit for her hard work. Instead of paying evil for evil, she let the drama go and continued to persevere and let her hard work speak for itself. 3 months later, that same team member left the company and the work they took credit for was quickly revealed as Ciara’s. “All the drama I faced in the workplace makes me stronger. There’s always a lesson to be learned to develop as a person and a professional to be used at your advantage.”

Find out your team’s communication style. When working on a team, communication is critical. Ciara recommends asking your coworkers and boss how they prefer to communicate. Have a technical coworker that prefers chatting through Slack? Or a boss that prefers you stop by their office? Using a team member’s preferred communication style, and making yours clear upfront, will help build strong relationships with your team and show you understand team dynamics.

Learn to say “no” early in your career. “Never directly say ‘no’, but make a timeframe for when unrealistic timelines can be completed and have limits and boundaries.” Saying something along the lines of, “I have XYZ on my plate and I can get 1 of the 5 items on your list completed by Wednesday. But if you need immediate assistance, I will not be able to at this time.” is a professional way to set realistic expectations and providing a solution to help your team get things done.

Voice your ambition early. Ciara recommends knowing your route to solidify a position. “Put it out there because someone can always help you get there. As young professionals, we sometimes think that we don’t have the right to think about it. But we do. Make sure that your supervisor, in addition to everyone around you, knows where you want to go”

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post

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