Separate ‘Must-Haves’ from ‘Nice-to-Haves’

There is a sea of information out there about how to be successful and pursue the opportunities that best align with who you are. Career coach and Berkeley alum Joy Lin ’09 stresses the importance of being selective about what you want—the true mark of a highly successful person.

Be selective about your career options

“I teach my clients how to create and apply an evaluation criteria to narrow in on their best career options and clarify what the most vital aspects of their ideal life are. When we distinguish must-haves from nice-to-haves, we can be more selective, intentional, and strategic about how we live and work,” Lin explains.

You may begin by defining the most important aspects of a job to you and then define where those aspects fall on your list of priorities. For example, you might look to define which benefits are your ‘must-haves’ versus ‘nice-to-haves.’ Then, figure out where benefits fall on your list of priorities. For example, are benefits more important to you than a flexible schedule? Defining what is essential and prioritizing makes you more selective and better able to find success.

“Discern the vital few from the unessential many. This selective-criteria approach has helped me in everything from apartment hunting to choosing business partnerships,” Lin says.

“When you get clear on what success looks like and feels like for you, you can channel your time, energy, and effort into the things you care most about …”

“When you get clear on what success looks like and feels like for you, you can channel your time, energy, and effort into the things you care most about and make the highest possible contribution towards the goals and activities that matter to you. Successful people, businesses, and relationships all focus on what is essential,” Lin explains.

If you’re having difficulty defining what success looks like for you, reflect on times you have felt successful and why. Then, you can look for similar opportunities for success.

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According to CNBC, 88% of wealthy individuals dedicate 30 minutes or more every day to reading. You might accomplish this by waking up 30 minutes earlier and starting your day with a book or by devoting 10-minute blocks to reading throughout the day.

“One of my favorite books is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. In this book, he introduces and breaks down what he calls ‘The Way of the Essentialist,’ which you can achieve by applying a more selective criteria for what is essential in your life,” Lin says.

Continue to grow professionally

By becoming selective in your career search, you can seek out opportunities that are aligned with your interests. Defining what success is to you can allow you to identify opportunities for success.

To connect with your fellow UC Berkeley alumni, consider joining the Berkeley Career Network, a local or cultural Alumni Chapter, the Cal alumni LinkedIn group, or subscribing to our career update emails. Check out the rest of Joy’s career motivation series below, and connect with her on Instagram.

imageFounder Joy Lin ’09 Shares Her Path from Cal to Career

imageNetworking Authentically

imageHow to Navigate Feeling Lost on Your Career Path

imageGetting Motivated During Your COVID-19 Job Search

Images courtesy of Joy Lin

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