There are endless articles written about women in the workforce and the struggles we face. Such articles cover everything from how to be heard, how to negotiate, how to get a seat at the table, to unequal pay… you name it, it’s out there. It is possible to find success through this noise. And it is just that. Noise. Women naturally think of their accomplishments in different manners than our male counterparts. We are quick to say ‘we did this’ or ‘the team had success’. If you led the charge, ensure you are being recognized for it. This is not an exercise in bragging, rather ensuring you are noticed. It is also not our first reaction to raise our hand to go for that promotion, we think our boss knows what we have been working on. Newsflash: Your boss is juggling a lot more than just you!
Here are my top 5 areas to build upon at any stage in your career to ensure you achieve your goals.
5. Know Your Worth
Take this in terms of both dollars and cents as well as your own accomplishments. From a dollars and cents perspective, simple research will indicate whether you are paid in alignment with the market standards. This is particularly helpful if you happen to be in an interviewing stage of your career.
Keep a list of your accomplishments. This will come in handy on several occasions. When you are having a bad day and that terrible self-doubt starts to creep in, push it right back out by reviewing the great things you have accomplished. When you are questioning whether you are qualified for a new role or if you deserve a promotion… you guessed it, pull out the list. The list also serves as your foundation as to why you are qualified for a new role and/or deserve that merit increase.
My career coach encouraged me to create a list of accomplishments and I was able to recall things all the way back into my 20’s when I first started my career!
4. Ask. Just Ask.
If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. How many times have you heard this? If you are unclear what is next for you, ask someone, your boss or an influencer, what you can be working on that will have an impact on the organization. Feel you are ready for a promotion? Don’t simply ask for the promotion, ask what the steps would be for the process. Then prepare to state your case. (See #5 above) If you don’t understand how your work fits into the wider plan, definitely ask so you know you are working on the right things.
3. Don’t Skimp on Self-Care
You cannot give your best self to work if you do not take care of yourself first. Self-care looks different for everyone. Working out, meditation, walking the dog, stepping away for lunch, getting enough sleep are all examples of self-care. Find what you need to feel balanced and make a commitment to yourself to stick to a routine. Self-care is the first thing that goes out the window during busy times for me, but it is the worst thing I could do because my best self is no longer present at work. I still struggle. I’ve taken to surrounding myself with people that will hold me accountable and it helps since I don’t enjoy letting people down.
2. Find a Mentor
This is crucial to your success. A mentor will coach and guide you through many facets of your career and help you navigate a variety of situations. Mentors are everywhere. They are inside your organization, outside and even at previous employers. Inside your organization doesn’t necessarily translate to on your team, in fact, I’d encourage you to look beyond your team. This goes back to #4. Find someone you respect that has been around long enough to have experiences to draw from and ask them if they’d be open to being your mentor!
1. Be True to Your Authentic Self
People will tell you all sorts of things; how to run your team, how to communicate a message, how to behave, how to be more assertive…everything. That style they are pushing on you only works if it resonates with you, if it aligns with who you are at your core. If you try, for example, to deliver a message using the words from someone else, it likely feels inauthentic because it’s not you. People will see right through an inauthentic message. You can achieve the same end goal with your own style. When your authentic self shines through, people will buy into that and get on board with you.
There is no need to put on a mask at work. You were hired based on your skills, personality and what you bring to the table. What you bring to the table as your authentic self is likely pretty amazing. Trust me, or go ask your mentor.