I am in awe. I am amazed by the courage they have found within and the wisdom they have sought and then acquired. I am filled with gratitude at the depth of humility these incredibly successful people have. That they’re willing to share both great failures and great successes for the benefit of those who come behind them, so they may avoid a speed bump or two.
I’ve been to a number of leadership summits recently, across a range of industries. The speakers who’ve ‘made it’ are truly sending the elevator back down. Their stories seem to hold little back and they frequently invite connections afterwards. Oh how few take up that offer!
The speakers who are still progressing on their way to the top are equally generous, offering targeted and specific gems of advice.
In the realm of ‘must do’, the skills you need to gather, think cross-functional awareness, an understanding of the financials, technology and the customer; strategy, change management and creativity – and people management ALWAYS people management.
I’ve heard leaders bravely bare the pitfalls to be avoided – lessons sometimes hard won. The attraction of office gossip and the temptation to simply get on with what you’re doing and not take the time to put your hand up for the next, critically evaluated opportunity top this list.
But the point of this message isn’t to give you a check sheet of things you must do or not do, according to the inspiration around us. The point is to ask you: what comes next?
There is inspiration and advice to be found in abundance if you choose to seek it. That’s not usually the hard part. The hard part is remembering to do something with it once you get back to your desk.
Once the noise of ego and competing priorities sucks you back in to the demands of your day to day, how will you remember to apply what key words of brilliance struck you so deeply?
By way of disclaimer, you don’t need to have attended a global leadership conference to have been inspired. A passing word from a mentor or slogan from a new-release best seller on the business books list might just as easily strike a nerve for you.
THE FOUR CORNERS OF CAREER PRIORITISATION
There are two types of action you can take to move you forward and 2 purposes for action.
These are the actions you can take that draw on your own abilities and, well resources! It might be setting a calendar alert for each Friday afternoon to remind you to spend 15 minutes networking via LinkedIn. It might be sending an email to a senior associate whose skills in a particular area you admire, to ask a couple of questions with a view to possibly mentoring or at least a networking discussion. It may even be booking an hour long meeting with yourself to sit in a café and start to put serious think time to defining your authenticity. What is it you want to be known for, for instance?
Who and what can you tap into, to help you better understand / become more highly skilled / better engage your team / better read the market or the room or separate the essential from the noise?
ON YOUR RADAR
There are times when dedicated career focus would simply be negligent. If actively growing your career is your prime motivator for every interaction, you’ll quickly be known as self-serving at best. So while there are some times for active career growth work, the rest of the time you just need to be taking action to ensure that your career growth doesn’t slip off your radar.
Subscribing to industry publications – or to Gender Gap Gone are a great way to have someone else drip-feed content that periodically reminds you of the bigger picture of your career journey. It’s SO easy otherwise to be completely absorbed in just doing a great job today.
GROWING YOUR CAREER
These are the activities that tangibly shift your career forward. Specific skills training fits this category, as does establishing targeted mentor relationships. It may also include attending conferences for the content or the association, or professional networking events at an appropriate level to your direction.
Our Executive Presence Online Boot Camp might fit that category in fact!
Shameless self-promotion aside, these the are four areas to think about when you’re looking to move your career forward. Joining us for an upcoming webinar? You can be sure that I’ll be asking you afterwards what actions you’re going to take that align with these 4 Corners of Career Prioritisation.
Just a short article from me today. I’d really like you to reflect on the last few ideas or people who inspired you.
What did you do about it? How did you apply it?
How else could you be applying it?
What did you learn and who else could benefit from that lesson? How can you share it?
Here’s a soulful picture you can stare at for a moment as you ponder the answers. Then grab a pen or your mobile device and plot how else you can maximise that inspiration. Apply it in some meaningful way. Improve the odds that you’ll also be sharing an inspirational journey with others in the very near future.
Cath Nolan, CEO and Founder of Gender Gap Gone, is an Executive Coach and Key Note Speaker with background in organisational and individual development. With a team of associates Cath created Gender Gap Gone, enabling organisations to translate their diversity goals into lived reality for all employees with more women rising through the Leadership Pipeline. With a business model designed to fit around competing priorities, Gender Gap Gone helps more women into the roles of their choosing. Subscribe to get into the loop on free resources and our programs, or follow us on Twitter / Instagram / Facebook for regular inspiration.