If you’re hoping for some St. Patrick’s Day luck to rub off on your career, there is a better way to make sure you’re on the path to progression!

According to the newly released Emerging Workforce® Study, you are the captain of your career and the catalyst to advancement. Your outlook, performance and initiative will determine how much (or how little) you excel in your career.

Outlook. Your perception of who’s in control of your career and the opportunities before you will either hoist you forward or hold you back. Recent findings show there is a resurgence of emergent workers with an increased free-agency mindset. The Study asked workers how the recession impacted their career pursuits. Forty-six percent of workers strongly agree/agree that it has made them more interested in pursuing work arrangements outside of traditional employment. What does this reveal? Workers are not sitting idle waiting for circumstances to shape the outcome of their career—they are taking their career into their own hands and making things happen!

Performance. In light of the economy, your job performance is being scrutinized more closely than ever. As companies pursue cost-effective, leaner workforce structures, their top performers will be the ones they retain. It’s simply not enough to do your job and get by—your current employment status and future career prospects depend on your performance and the value you deliver. If you want to excel, you must prove you are valuable and worthy of promotion.

Initiative. Those who enjoy an escalating career initiate the actions that keep them advancing—whether it is gaining new skills, keeping pace with industry advancements, pursuing training opportunities, or volunteering for projects that add to their experience and increase their exposure. Workers of this caliber are not content to sit stagnant in a position hoping for a promotion. They actively pursue it and if opportunity calls elsewhere, they move on.

It boils down to this: Nobody controls your career but you. If you make the most of the opportunities before you, prove your value with your performance and initiate the actions that make you promotable, you will excel—no luck required.