You Need a Vision, Strategies, and a Plan
Create a vision for your career to avoid the risk of drifting and ending up in a role you don’t find satisfying.
Grow your skills for the job(s) you want.
Assess your strengths, weaknesses, obstacles, and threats and get feedback from others about your work, the industry you want to work in, and the marketplace.
Define and continually add to the portfolio of skills you will need to get to the next level.
Create a long-term vision and smaller strategic goals. Go after the assignments, roles, and relationships that can help you achieve them.
Think like a CEO—create a business plan for yourself.
Be bold about letting other people know what your vision is and where you want to land.
Know Who You Are and How You Land with Others
Remember that good leaders are self-aware and that self-awareness is developed with intention and work.
Cultivate self-awareness and remember that it is a lifelong journey. The sooner you begin, the farther and faster you’ll go.
Don’t let your inner voices hijack your thoughts.
Invest time in self-reflection. Think about interactions that didn’t go the way you would have liked and formulate a plan for a new strategy.
Get feedback from others about how your work habits, styles, and personality land with others. Resist the temptation to get defensive. Instead, be curious.
Create a new story based on the person you want to be in the world.
Identify specific practices that might help you be more intentional in your actions, especially in challenging circumstances.
Get Known for Something and Tell Your Story
Reputationality merges the work you do with the person you are.
Building your reputationality is essential. If you don’t do it, people may define it for you in a way you don’t prefer.
It’s not enough to know your reputationality. Develop effective communication strategies that help you highlight your accomplishments and advertise your achievements.
Find opportunities to share with others what you’ve accomplished, what excites you, and what your career goals are.
Creating reputationality helps you get the attention of decision-makers and influencers.
Install a Career GPS
Once you’ve established where you want to go, guidance and course corrections will help you arrive more quickly.
Remember that people’s perceptions of you are their reality. Take them seriously.
Feedback and action can help influence and change others’ perceptions.
Proactively seek advice and feedback, then decide on a course of action. Thank those who offer you the gift of feedback, and if appropriate, report back to them on the actions you’ve taken.
Alter others’ perceptions by taking strong action and using self-promotion. Talk about what you’re learning and the changes you’ve made.
Learn to make feedback your friend. Spend time thinking about it and allow it to help you grow.
Be Strategic about the Outcome You Want
Doing your job is essential and you need to match that with preparation and practice.
Professionals, whether they are athletes, actors, musicians, or corporate leaders, are always working to get better at their craft. Be that professional.
Before you begin practicing, get clear about your intentions and the outcome you want.
Preparation includes developing a perspective and being ready to contribute comments and questions in meaningful, positive ways.
Practicing so that you cannot get it wrong leads to confidence, influence, and personal power.
Assemble a Posse
Flying solo in your career is inefficient, exhausting, and unnecessary. You need more than a village if you want a thriving career that is sustainable. Find a “city” of people and build mutually beneficial relationships with them.
Asking for help and giving it can be a great source of career power.
Expand the way you think about building relationships. You want diversity among the people on your team of mentors, advisors, cheerleaders, and shoulders to lean on.
Get clear about your capabilities and career goals and communicate them to people in your posse.
Consciously cultivate your posse by scheduling time to stay in touch, help others, maintain long-term relationships, and build new ones.
Before We Go The Deliberate Career
GET CLEAR ABOUT YOUR VALUES
Your values are the North Star in guiding your choices. If you’re not sure how to define or articulate your values, many online assessments are available to help you examine and define what is most important to you. Search online using the term “values assessments” and find an assessment tool that resonates with you. Once you’re clear about your core values, it’s much easier to focus on what truly matters and direct the best of your energy there.
PRACTICE SAYING NO
This is the corollary to too many yes answers. Keep in mind that how you say no matters. If you can, offer a solution that aligns your goals with those of the person asking something from you. “John, I know it is important to you that we meet the financials we set for the year and I really need to focus on achieving my team’s goals, too. I am unable to give that 100 percent right now, but I know someone who might help you if you’re interested,” or “I know you care about this and it is important to your goal, so I’d be happy to talk with Ed to try and line up resources for you.”
NEGOTIATE FOR FLEXIBILITY
This is big. In almost every organization and group of women we’ve coached, we’ve observed that the ability for women to negotiate for flexibility about important things can make a big difference. Some women have negotiated leaving the office at a certain time to pick up kids from school, then getting back online in the evening. Others have needed more options for travel schedules. If you are considering a role within a new organization, ask about flexibility. When you have identified what’s important to you, you can often find ways to negotiate a winning outcome for all.
How do you feel when you are thriving? What does it look like when you are just surviving? No one is on either end of the spectrum 100 percent of the time, but you can consistently aim for the thriving end. Make a list of what helps you feel healthy and sane and what conditions are needed for you to be at your best. Then make a list of things that drain your energy and compare them. Choose wisely. Studies show that in the long run, the most productive people are those who take breaks and unplug from time to time.