I want to be part of the journey - not part of the scenery at the destination
If there is one approach I have adopted - its the path of "enlightened self interest". I do not have much to say about this other than the three words - so I won't. Suffice to say it tends to the self centred - not the selfish. I very strongly believe we need to enjoy our work life - it is important to extract stimulation and enjoyment from what we spend most of our time doing. I also believe work is not about the number of transactions - but the impact created in each transaction. Each thing done has to be approached with passion and pleasure, to generate tremendous quality and impact in the output. Another value I hold very close is uniqueness - there is no point having a career being one amongst many. This may be safe - but it is not rewarding to the individual. Those who strike out in unexplored directions (typically the entreprenuer) create superb positions for themselves while having a ball at the same time. If this thinking goes into employment (i.e. uniqueness) - you can have the pleasure of entrepreneurship without the risk and the heartburn. Stress - a bugbear of modern professional living. I think it is overrated. Stress to my mind is more self induced - genuine stress only results when life is imbalanced. I think today's world makes it far more possible to find balance in life - as an example, I am genuinely stressed if I have to turn up at office everyday and cannot make exceptions for intrusion of personal life (child's illness, family tragedy or just a plain old holiday on an off day). In yester years this was difficult to achieve - work meant presence in the office. Today with automation and communication technologies our productivity has become location independent - this is genuine destress. The true aspect of stress we experience today is self induced - this is silly. You only agonise over missing a train if you are running to catch it - so chill for a while. Plan well and be prepared for the occasional roundabouts and you'll be fine.
When you start thinking like this - an automatic extension is the thinking on self sufficiency and the absolute scale. Two things here - I believe I can add value ; and I will. I do not require external sources to enable my journey to contributing in my professional life. Leading on from this - it is foolish to index own achievement basis other's - many other people will do better and worse than me; this should make no difference to me. Run the race against yourself.
I remember, when I left ITC to join HCL Technologies, a lot of my well wishers were aghast. According to many I was attacking my own career with a triple pronged assault. Moving from an established leader in the CPG industry to a fairly fledgling IT Service player (industry assault), that too joining the No. 5 player in this fledgling industry (company assault) and moving into marketing - seen as an also ran support function in this industry (functional assault). In hindsight I can say it was the best move of my life - you see; I want to be part of the journey, not the scenery at the destination.