In today’s economy, it is more important than ever before to take ownership of your own career and take some time to plan your growth. Following are some tips to help you do just that. Which tips you use are not what is important. What is important is consistently stepping out of your comfort zone in your career – for that is the only time you truly reach new heights!

1. Ask a stranger to share their “story” of how they achieved career success – ideally someone in a career you are curious about exploring for yourself

2. Volunteer for an organization you are passionate about – choose a role that would give you an opportunity to develop new skills.

3. Take a class on something different than your “norm” – something you would ordinarily pass up or say “I could not possibly learn that”.

4. Learn a new skill – something you never thought was “you” – and see if you unearth some hidden talent

5. Take a new approach – if you are usually quiet, initiate a conversation with a stranger. If you are usually talkative, get someone else talking without saying anything about you

6. Become an observer for a day – watching how you act and interact in your current position – as if you were seeing yourself as a colleague sees you

7. Ask for a new responsibility – one that will help you learn and grow in ways you aspire to.

8. Say no to something – a stretch for most of us!

9. Evaluate where you are too comfortable in your career and what would stretch you

10. Refrain from negative self talk for a whole day – only positive thoughts and words

11. Ask someone you admire to be your mentor – schedule time to meet regularly

12. Change your behavior for a day – if you are always planned, try something spontaneous. Always go with the flow, plan something specific this week

13. Awaken your creativity – brainstorm wild and imaginative career possibilities for yourself

14. Take the first step in starting that business you have been dreaming about – that could include several of the steps listed above

15. Let go of identifying with a job title – and look at the “you” underneath – what you are most passionate about doing and being.

16. Take a Vocation Vacation experience that thrusts you into your dream career

17. Go for it – take a chance and create that program or develop your ideas instead of waiting or hoping you will be asked

18. Challenge yourself to go farther in either how or what you are doing – imagine a coach or trainer egging you on

19. Create your 20 year career vision – describe it in detail including your role and environment

20. Try on a different way of being. Type A personality? Slow you pace by half for a day. Type B personality? Choose one activity and speed your pace.

Now that you have read through these 20 tips, which 3-5 do you believe would make the greatest impact on your career and life?