We choose our work based on a number of factors: perhaps we were drawn to the field as a child, or we received a scholarship in college, or perhaps our parents influenced us towards a particular career path. Whatever the case may be, it’s very important for you to take a good, hard look at yourself, and ask yourself honestly: is this the work I want to be doing? If the answer is “yes,” congratulations! Advancement and success will surely come to you with some focused effort. If the answer is “no,” you may want to consider a change. If you don’t enjoy your work, it will be difficult for you to excel in it, and you’ll likely find yourself frustrated and unhappy.

It’s a tricky issue, of course. If you’re unhappy, it may simply be the result of your specific employer, not necessarily the job. Assess yourself and your situation as accurately as you can. As an example, if you’re a medical assistant and feel bored and stagnant in your work, you may want to go back to school and pursue a position as a registered nurse or another position in allied healthcare. Conversely, if you manage a whole team of nurses and feel stressed, overburdened, and unhappy, you may want to let go of your extra responsibility and return to simply nursing, if the option is available. Make your happiness at work a priority: it’s the best way to ensure success.