I often meet amazing women, and I think, “I want to be just like her when I grow up!” I then wonder what made this remarkable woman who she is today? What is her secret?
I always arrive at the same magic ingredient.
Before I tell you what the magic ingredient is, let me ask you a question. What is the biggest mistake you are making in your career today?
I can guess some of your answers:
- Don’t apply for jobs
- Don’t ask for a raise
- Don’t advocate for yourself
If you identify with one or all the above, keep reading!
The biggest mistake of your career is being complacent!
Let’s face it, not applying for jobs you are interested in, not asking for a raise, or not advocating for yourself are all forms of complacency. Why have you become complacent? Because it’s easy to get comfortable in a job. When you get comfortable, you stop paying attention and aren’t as engaged in your work. You go through the motions for a secure paycheck. Ultimately, you are not fulfilled with your work, and before you know it, years pass by.
What is the magic ingredient?
I have determined that there is one magic ingredient that those remarkable women have in common.
They aspire to be more.
They have a passion that propels them in their careers and hence are impressive individuals. You have heard that saying that if you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life, right? Well, that’s the idea here. When you figure out your passion or calling, you automatically aspire to be more! These remarkable women are like shining stars on a very bright journey because they are propelled to serve first in their profession. That is what attracts me and why I state that I want to be like them when I grow up!
4 Steps to Advance in your Career
There are 4 steps that you need to follow to advance in your career.
Today, we are focusing on Aspire. Aspire is the first step in advancing in your career. You dare to think about your dream career when you aspire to be more. You remain stuck and become stale in your career when you don’t desire to be more.
Who is responsible for your career development? I’m sure by now you realize that your career is your responsibility. Don’t wait for your boss to guide you in your career. You need to take the initiative in your career progression.
Where to start?
An excellent place to start is clearing your mind of the clutter about your progression. If your mindset is not in the growth mode, it will be difficult for you to advance in your career. I recommend you read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck for more information on the growth mode. If you are not a reader, listen on Audible.com. If you are not happy or not engaged in your job, you are just going through the motions and don’t have aspirations to advance in your career. That’s dangerous because when you are bored, your days are long. When you are not engaged, you aren’t getting promotions which means you don’t get raises. And if you don’t get raises, you can’t take care of yourself or your family the way you would like to take care of your family.
If you aren’t engaged in your work, maybe you are not in the right job. This is where you must spend some time soul searching to find your passion. Think about the types of things you love to do and see if you can find work where you can use those skills. If you love to play piano, you can always become a piano teacher. If you like to organize, prioritize and keep things on track, project management work could be a job you may enjoy. If you have excellent math skills, becoming an accountant or engineer would be good.
Be kind to yourself!
Give yourself love, appreciation, and compassion when thinking about what you aspire to be. It’s a process. Berating yourself is not OK when you are in the midst of this process. Telling yourself that you don’t deserve a promotion or aren’t smart enough to get to the next level is how you hold yourself back.
Your limiting beliefs hold you back.
Let’s figure out what limiting beliefs stop you from getting to that next level.
A limiting belief is a belief about yourself that holds you back or limits you somehow. Examples of limiting beliefs are:
- I’m not good enough
- I’m not worthy or deserving of the promotion
- I’m not smart enough
- I can’t apply for that job because I don’t have the necessary skills
The reality is that you are worthy, more than good enough, smart enough, and you can apply for jobs even if you don’t have all the skills in the job description.
Clearing your limiting beliefs
You must identify your limiting beliefs. Once you establish those negative thoughts, you clear that clutter from your mind.
How do you identify the limiting beliefs?
- Think about all those nasty negative thoughts you are constantly telling yourself and write them out.
- Once you have all the negative thoughts on paper, ask yourself if that one thought is true. Or is it just a fabrication in your head that is not true? If you have a hard time with this, ask a close friend or family member for help.
- Transform that thought into an affirming opinion that busts the original belief. Write out the new idea and throw out the old view.
You are re-programming your brain. This is possible because of neuroplasticity which means that your brain can grow and evolve. You are holding yourself back by not taking the time to identify your limiting beliefs. Identifying your limiting beliefs is a powerful exercise.
Your employer is lucky to have you, and you really need to believe that to aspire to be more. Consider yourself as a resource at work. If you like your job but are bored, consider changing things up. Ask your manager to take on different challenges like:
- Taking the lead role in a project
- Observing people on other teams to learn more about different roles within the organization
- Preparing a presentation
- Training new employees
You are an essential piece of the puzzle so that the company can be profitable. Did you know that if you’re happy in your career, your productivity increases and the company’s profitability goes up by 12 to 14%? It’s a win-win for you and your employer.
"Whether you think you can or you think you can't...you're right." Henry Ford
Getting your dream career
Once you overcome your limiting beliefs, you are free to pursue your dream career. Your enthusiasm and motivation will be the best tools in your toolbox to obtain your dream career.
Next, identify those jobs you would be thrilled and excited to earn. So how do you do that? You are going to be doing a little detective work. It’s always best to look for new opportunities right where you are. There may be other opportunities right within your organization.
- Search your organization’s job board first.
- Identify three or five jobs that you could see yourself doing.
- Identify a handful of employees that have that particular job you want.
- Network with those employees to ask them how they earned their position and provide you with advice.
- I recommend following the networking formula outlined in ‘The 20-Minute Networking Meeting‘ by Marcia Ballinger and Nathan Perez.
Networking is really just a conversation with a specific set of steps in 20 minutes to do research on jobs or companies you are interested in. Questions that you can ask are:
- How did you land your position?
- What are some of the skills that you think are the most important?
- What advice do you have for someone trying to apply at your company?
All you’re going to do is identify those jobs you’re going to be really excited about and try to gather information on some of the requirements you would need to apply for those positions.
Doing this type of research will help you identify the kind of job you would love to obtain. Did you know that networking is the number one way people get jobs? Work on mastering your networking skills.
My mission is to eradicate the gender gap in the corporate world by empowering women in their career development. This entire process will be a self-discovery journey to help you find the career of your dreams to have the life you love. Don’t worry about the how for this step. The goal is finding what you aspire to become. By doing these exercises in your self-discovery journey, you will be on your way to making great strides in advancing your career. You can get a seat at the table by believing in yourself!
The next installment of this newsletter will focus on step 2, which is Assess. Stay tuned!
Be Brave, Be Bold and Take Action!