3 Strategies To Seriously Make A Mark In Your Career.
“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” – John Maxwell.
A lot has happened for me in the past 10 years of my career. The 2010s took me from a shy university graduate with no real world experience, sitting on the filing room floor of my first HR role. To 2020, a confident woman who’s taken control of her life and career, running HR for corporations, started her own business and coaching others on how to do the same.
Let me clear on one thing – this transition was by no fluke or coincidence. It has taken years of intentional planning, dedication and seriously hard work for me to get to the point where I am today. Here are 3 strategies to make a meaningful and significant mark in your career:
One of the most impactful ways I’ve made a mark in my career has been finding a mentor. I suppose you could say I was lucky in a sense that early in my career, I reported into a C-Suite executive who took time out of her busy and stressful day to mentor and coach me. She taught me the importance of doing my own personal PR. She taught me that it’s not just about doing great work. It’s also important to pride yourself on your reputation. How you are perceived in an organisation really matters.
My husband has also had a significant impact on my career (and life). We started dating in 2010 and since then, he has constantly supported me and pushed me beyond my comfort zone. He has encouraged me to put myself forward for jobs that I never felt ready for. (I’ve since learned that’s the only way you’ll ever step up). Without a doubt, he has been instrumental in getting me to the point of my career where I find myself today.
In today’s digital world, there are so many opportunities to be coached or mentored by people who are excelling their career or in your industry. And for those of you who are thinking right now that you don’t have anyone in your network who can act as a mentor or guide you… Go to events. Find a way to connect with others. Read biographies of people who’s careers you admire. Listen to podcasts.
The opportunity to learn from inspiring and successful people is endless. We have a plethora of knowledge and information available and accessible to us. It is up to you to proactively seek it.
There is no denying the power of having a really strong work ethic. It’s no secret that I have made many personal sacrifices to get ahead. These have included working extremely long hours in high pressure environments. I would often find myself in the office until 11pm on Friday nights, when everyone else was out for dinners, drinks or spending time at home with their partners or families. I was letting my friends and families down, missing the gym, experiencing burnout… the list goes on. I’m not particularly proud of these things and it’s certainly nothing to brag about, but it’s the truth. I positioned myself as someone who did whatever it took to get the job done, and to do it well.
Whilst I’m not suggesting this is something you should do (only you can determine what you are willing to sacrifice to get ahead). However, there is no doubt these personal sacrifices helped me fast track my career. They helped me to get promoted and get pay increases that were far beyond the ‘standard’. I was willing to go beyond the ‘standard.
Ann Miura-Ko, founder of Floodgate Venture Capitalist Firm, a lecturer in entrepreneurship at Stanford and named by Forbes as the most powerful woman in startups has talked to her goal of continuously delivering a world class performance.
Regardless of whether it was photocopying documents, or picking up donuts, Ann’s father would ask her “Are you going to deliver a world-class performance?” This question was instilled in Ann from a young age and transpired from her childhood, through to her studies and professional career. When it came to photocopying documents, Ann decided that a world-class performance meant really crisp copies, where you couldn’t tell it was a photocopy. She would spend time focusing on the details and ensuring everything was straight and colour matched. When it came to picking up donuts, Ann would ensure she would pick up the fresh donuts, instead of the ones that had been standing out in the basket for a while. So at every step of the way, it was “What can I do to make this experience delightful?” Or, “What can I do to make this world class?”
Take pride in the small details. Make a point to ask yourself – are you going to deliver a world class performance?
What are some of the ways you have made a mark in your career? I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experiences – please leave your comments below!