Do you know what it takes to build a successful career?

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to climb the career ladder to the top of their profession whilst others seem to get stuck on a rung and cannot seem to move off? For some, career success seems ever allusive whilst for others it can appear to almost fall in their lap.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”
– Ronald E. Osborn


“Genius is seldom recognised for what it is: a great capacity for hard work.”
– Henry Ford


“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
– Malcolm Forbes

I spent 20 years fostering a successful career in accounting before leaving the profession to start my own business; helping other women to create their own successful careers and businesses. I entered my profession with no formal qualifications as an accounts assistant and exited a qualified CPA/CIMA and a CFO. I also accumulated 10+ years leadership experience along the way.

Throughout my journey I saw many people who did not make progress in their areas of expertise and it was often not due to lack of talent or not having the necessary education. Some people stay on their rung of the ladder through choice, others through fear of letting go of their rung and reaching out for the next. But the majority will have some kind of thinking, a value or a belief about themself, success or even money that will be holding them back.

Successful people have things in common and it’s not an outstanding IQ or being born into the right family; it’s about the way they think and the things they believe.

One of the most enduring experts on the topic of success is Napoleon Hill. During his lifetime Hill interview over 500 of America’s most successful people and wrote extensively on the topic.

He believed:

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”


Here are some of my key tips on how to build your own successful career.

  1. Do what you love and love what you do

In order to build a career that will last long enough for you to climb your ladder, you need to choose a job that you love and that you are passionate about.

Building a successful career does not happen over night which means you need to make sure what you are doing is sustainable for the long haul.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ― – Confucius

Showing passion for what you love will also help you to stand out from the crowd and mean you will be in a better position for promotion when the time arises.


  1. Take responsibility for your own success AND failures

I see way too many people in their careers, their business and in their lives not taking full responsibility for their outcomes.

I hear statements like, ‘it wasn’t my fault, my boss made the decision’ or ‘yeah it went well, I guess I got lucky’.

When you attribute external factors to the things that go right and wrong you are giving away your power to improve and allowing yourself to become a victim of circumstance.

What this means is that you are powerless to control your own outcomes and you will start to feel frustrated and your self-esteem will suffer.

The great news is there is another way!

It’s all about asking yourself better questions.

Someone who is not taking responsibility for all their outcomes will ask themselves questions like, ‘Why has this happened to me?’ or ‘Why did [insert name] do that to me?’

When things go right or wrong, instead ask yourself ‘What can I learn from this situation?’ or ‘How can I improve or do things differently next time?’ or ‘What can I be grateful for here?’

In every situation in life there will be something you can find that will help you to improve and that will change the outcome next time.

As you start to ask yourself better quality questions you will then feel more in control and because of this you will start to see substantial changes to the quality of your outcomes.


  1. Do more than the minimum

Get yourself fully immersed in your job. No one is ever noticed or rewarded for just doing their job; it’s what you do over and above that counts.

Put your hand up for projects that come up, add value and insight where ever you can. You need to get involved in the business and not just show up, do your job and go home.


  1. Build relationships

Never underestimate the power of relationship building.   Ultimately people do business with people they like.

How often have you walked into an interview or a business meeting and thought, this isn’t going to go anywhere and you know this to be true within the first five minutes? The most likely cause is that there is a lack of rapport.

If your rapport with your colleagues is low then will be stunting your career growth. Being able to build relationships at every level in an organisation is vital to your career progression.

There are many ways to improve your communication skills and the quality of your relationships. One of the quickest and most effective ways is to work with a coach who will be able to help you identify effective strategies that will improve your ability to quickly build rapport with not only your colleagues but with all your relationships.



  1. Show your grit!

Building a successful career takes grit and determination.

Angela Lee Duckworth, a USA psychologist, through her research has identified that one of the most important traits that exist in those that succeed is what she calls Grit.

Lee Duckworth says:

“Grit is passion and perseverance to achieve very long term goals. Grit is having stamina and sticking with your future, day in day out. Not just for the week, not just for the month but for years and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

See Lee Duckworth’s inspiring TedEx here.


Building a successful career means being in it for a long time and not just when the going is good. It means you have to be prepared to fail along the way and not falter along your journey when you do. You have to be prepared to ask yourself the hard questions and act on the honest answers, no matter how hard they are to swallow.

In short, you must BE better to DO better.

For more information about how a coach can help you to get more from your career, contact:

Claire Whitelaw Brown
CWB Personal Growth Strategies
0402 891144 or


Claire Whitelaw Brown
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Claire Whitelaw Brown

Business Consultant at CWB Growth Business Strategies
Claire is a business strategist passionate about helping accountants grow revenue, profits and cash flow.

As well as being a Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA) and ex-CFO with over 20 years experience, she has also worked extensively with small and medium sized business owners to help them grow profitable businesses.

She's also a certified coach, NLP practitioner, Metadynamics TM Consultant and contributor for Kochie’s Business Builders.
Claire Whitelaw Brown
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