Do you know where you are going?
In addition, most of us concentrate on doing the most we can right now, getting todays work done, and as women that is usually both in and out of the workplace, so it is no wonder that at key points in our life we almost wake up and think “what am I doing here?” or “this is not what I planned for myself”.
Coasting through life might be fun along the way but will it really stretch you, will you really meet your full potential? I am a great believer in fate but also in putting yourself out there to give fate a bit of hand, after all it’s your life and it is up to you to get the most from it.
That is why it is crucial to build opportunities for rest and regeneration into your life, and also to make time to review your aspirations and career. After all what you wanted at 20 is unlikely to be what you still want at 40.
For example, a friend of mine always wanted to make sure she could have flexible working when the time came to have a family. She knew she wanted to run her own business and offer alternative therapies so she worked hard to become a qualified therapist in her spare time. But what impressed me most about her was that, because she knew that, she also offered to take on roles in her day job that would help her when it came to it, skills like budgeting, marketing and finance. This meant that she had much more relevant and broader experience when the time came, but it also meant her employer had someone interested in their role, someone willing to volunteer and try new things – a win-win.
How can you better your career?
1. Reflect and review – we all tend to do a bit of this at year end or as part of our new year’s resolutions, but I think it is worth doing more often than that. What has happened in the last quarter? Where do you want to be in a year or two or five? And what could you be doing in the next quarter to help you take a step towards that?
2. Say yes - try new things, invest in activities that you are intrigued by and interested in and see what happens, it worked for Steve Jobs! You will develop and stretch yourself and who knows what opportunities it might open up or how, later on in life, it might stand you in good stead. Only then you will see how you have “joined the dots”.
3. Collect evidence – when you get good feedback and when you have done a good job, ask for a testimonial or a recommendation on LinkedIn. At the very least email yourself a note of the challenge, what you did, how it went and the results you achieved – that way you have to hand all of your achievements if you ever need them.
4. Ask for experience – what do you want to be better at, what do you want to learn? Find out if there is any synergy with you doing that in your current role, or maybe in a different role but with the same employer.
5. Become social leader – what are you passionate about, or interested in, or want to be known for? Whatever it is you really can carve your niche by sharing your views and opinions via your own blog and social media. There has never been a better time to stand out from the crowd.
Life might not take you down your planned path, but by following these ideas you can be sure you have given fate just a little bit of help to take you further even you could ever have thought possible.