I’ve made a habit of checking LinkedIn every day and follow a wide array of inspirational thought leaders – from Bill Gates and Richard Branson to successful corporate executives to founders of growing start-up companies and non for profit organisations – it almost seems as if every person on this platform is doing something incredible with their career.
And it’s great! Everyone should be working on something they’re excited about. For Indar, his motivation for leaving PwC and establishing Workspired was to have a story worth telling to his children (read about it here). Without an impetus for change, however, most people become complacent and satisfied with a role that’s “not bad”, consequently missing out on opportunities to advance their career or do something more fulfilling.
I was the same, until I read a quote by Farrah Gray, an entrepreneur and self-made millionaire – “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs”. His advice really hit home, and from it, I was able to gain a fresh perspective on how to approach the new year. Behold, my 2018 game plan.
#1 TAKE ACTION AND RISKS.
If you’ve read my last article (here), you would know that the most effective way to achieve your new year resolution is to not focus on the end goal, but the process of getting there. Regardless of which industry you’re in or where you want to take your career, the same rings true for all professions – you need to take risks to grow.
I know it’s easier said than done. Risk aversion is a human evolutionary adaptation (*proven by science), and it can be difficult to deny the red lights and blaring sirens going off in your brain when you do something socially perilous. However, our other human tendencies, to procrastinate and overthink, are often guilty of compounding negative emotions which can make the risk seem so much worse than it actually is.
One action I want to focus on in 2018 is networking. Last year I had the pleasure of hearing Kistin Gunnis, founder of Professional Women’s Lunches, provide insight on how to make the most out of a networking event. One tip in particular stood out: ‘Find the person with the most power in the room and sit next to them’. As an introvert, the very thought of doing this seems crazy wild, but for the sake of advancing my career it’s a risk worth taking.
#2 BECOME THE DRIVER.
What do I mean by this? You need to take control of your career and steer it in the direction you want to go. Don’t be a backseat passenger.
Your boss or the organisation you work for will not present opportunities to you unless you let them know you’re interested. One way to do this is to ask for regular feedback, in both formal and informal settings, where you can voice your own ambitions as well. Know what you’re working towards – A promotion? A new project? – and make your journey a visible venture to your team and employer.
I once heard a corporate executive compare her career to a game. She said, ‘you need to know the rules of the game in order to know how to play and how to win’. If you’re not taking control of your career, you’re immediately putting yourself at a disadvantage to all your co-workers who are in it to win it.
#3 PURSUE MY PASSION.
Honestly, the word “passion” feels almost cliché at this stage. 2017 was the year where I really started delving into self-help books and reading stories of people who found their life’s purpose and saw phenomenal success in their career. Time and time again, this word “passion” would come up and I would semi roll my eyes, but I kept reading anyway. There’s something so undeniably riveting about people who are passionate, and always, without fault, they attribute all or part of their success to “passion”.
As a result, one of my resolutions this year is to dive deeper into my interests and unearth the thing I’m most passionate about.