Beam (or Teleport) Yourself to Career Success with Captain Kirk

  • by: Rafael Herrera, Career Coach, Online Campus Support Center
  • September 25, 2013
  • Tips-For-Success

CTU Career Success - Tips from Captain KirkMy gateway introduction to the “Star Trek™” universe was the 2009 J.J. Abrams movie, “Star Trek,” and the rebooted James T. Kirk has taught me a great deal that’s useful in my day-to-day life. He showed me how to battle Romulans, for example, and make friends in the workplace, but mostly he’s demonstrated how to move yourself boldly toward success. Follow these three key Kirk rules, and you too may be ready for your own captain’s chair.

Right Place, Right Time

The Captain Kirk remix on this well-known idea: Place yourself in the right place, and the right time is all the time. Many people believe success can be an accident, as if it is something that will just “happen” to them. Kirk and I would disagree. Kirk didn’t become captain by accident. He put himself in the environment to succeed. Of course, he joined Starfleet, but even before that he surrounded himself socially with Starfleet officers. He immersed himself in the Starfleet culture before he ever set foot on a starship. This is a move every aspiring captain of industry should make.

If you truly care about your industry, be around it. Talk to industry thought leaders and read what they are reading. Learn from them what is valuable about your field. The more you are within the environment, the easier it will be for you to absorb the environment and for the environment to absorb you. No matter which rung of the corporate ladder you’re on, at least you are on the ladder. After all, every rung is temporary.

Set Your Course

Setting goals in your life is more powerful than a photon torpedo locked and launched at your warp reactor. Kirk’s life was catapulted the moment he set the goal to become a starship captain. At that moment, the idea became a reality, only one set in the future. Research has shown that goal setting increases the likelihood a person will achieve that goal, especially if s/he writes it down. In this case, Kirk is our research example. He set out to be a starship captain. He may not have written it down, but he declared it loudly, confidently and, most importantly, specifically. He was informed about what the role was, he had spoken to a captain about the job, and he set a timeline. It was researched, defined and measureable. He had set a goal with a plan to obtain it. Often this is the difference between a dream and reality.

Don’t Believe in “No-Win Scenarios”

This is the Kirk way of life. There is always a way, even if it takes additional, unexpected effort. Your goals can often feel like no-win scenarios, but have you combated the obstacles with a Kirk-like cockiness? If we begin to believe that our goal is unobtainable, we have already lost the battle. Though “believing” and “hoping” are powerful, they are not the only components of success. What workarounds have you found for your obstacles? Kirk famously beat the Kobayashi Maru test by thinking out of the box. He managed to hack an unbeatable program that no one else had been able to find a solution to and defeated the virtual attackers.  You have to admire a person for never giving up on what s/he hopes to achieve. Take ownership of your career and your goals, and find a workaround, even if it is unorthodox. 

CTU Staff - Rafael HerreraRafael Herrera serves as a career coach at Colorado Technical University, where he works with students through career courses and coaching. He holds a master’s degree in community counseling from Argosy University and a bachelor’s in psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Rafael also publishes CTU’s biweekly career-services newsletter.

Image Credit: Flickr/Purple Slog

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