Spring is finally here. And it’s a season of hope and new beginnings. It brings with it a recurring theme of renewal, rebirth, rejuvenation, and significant positive change.
As the weather becomes milder, and as the flowers begin to bloom, we’re often inspired to have a ‘spring clean’, throwing out the clutter and replacing it with something more meaningful to our lives in the here and now. And this is a chance to spark the same kind of beneficial and meaningful changes in our own careers, too.
If you’ve been considering taking action to accelerate your career, there’s never been a better time. Here are 6 ways to help yourself get one step ahead this season:
1. Focus on You
You can’t build a house unless you have a solid foundation. And we can use this same notion when it comes to accelerating our careers. You can’t move forward – you can’t grow – unless you’re starting off from a strong and robust place. So the first step should always be to focus on yourself: to start preparing yourself both mentally and emotionally for taking the next exciting step in building and launching your career.
Right now, try to practise self-care. Get to know yourself. Tackle your personal challenges head-on. Acknowledge where your vulnerabilities lie. See where your strengths are. Develop the self-confidence that’s needed to step out of your comfort zone and move up to the next rung on the ladder; one step closer to your dreams.
Self-care is something Forward Ladies CEO, Griselda Togobo feels passionate about. She says, “I had a candidate who walked away from a job and higher income because she believed she wasn’t worthy… self-esteem and self-worth have a direct correlation to our pay and career progression.”
2. Be Clear on What You Want
When you have a good grasp on the ‘what’, you can more accurately develop your ‘how’. And that’s essential. Unless you know which direction you want to head in, it’s going to be difficult to understand what opportunities for acceleration are worth taking, and which opportunities could have you going down a different path.
It’s a good idea to create goals – ideally, SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-defined) goals to help you define what you want to gain from your career acceleration, and what your acceleration will look like.
We recommend SMART goals, in this instance, primarily for the final element: time defined. Spring only lasts for three months, so any goals that you set shouldn’t be over-the-top or overwhelming. They should be powerful, and they should take you in the right direction, but they should also be achievable in the second quarter.
3. Engage in More Non-Work Activities
A big – and very common – mistake that many ambitious women make is focusing only on the end goal. And in a landscape that has been dominated by men for far too long, it’s easy to see why. It can feel like, if you want to be in a leadership position, you have to home in on this idea to get yourself where you want to be; you want to fast track your way into a position that women should already be in.
But it doesn’t work like that. It’s a bit like getting ready to participate in a big bike race. You can’t train effectively just by cycling. You’ll need to do strength exercises, endurance workouts, and other activities that empower you to perform your best. Accelerating your career is the same. It’s not just about that end goal, but about participating in associated non-work activities that prepare you for success.
Consider taking advantage of any professional programs or leadership development opportunities that your business may offer. It’s also worth attending any networking events that are held in your area. Networking is not only a chance to boost your visibility in your industry, but also an opportunity to be inspired, to be motivated, and learn from other strong women who are on a similar journey.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Support
Let’s be clear. This spring, it’s YOU who needs to take action. No one except you is going to make good things happen for your career. But that doesn’t mean you need to approach career acceleration alone. In fact, it’s good to ask for support!
Perhaps you already look up to some successful leaders. Take note of their behaviours. Study how they operate. Look at how they align their own individual capabilities with what they do and how they position themselves within their business, and within their role. Use this insight and leverage it to your advantage.
Another option is to work with a mentor; to build a relationship with a powerful female leader who understands where you are, because she’s been there herself. And who understands where you want to be because she’s there right now. From helping you build the right connections to supporting you as you figure out what acceleration opportunities will help you reach your goals, a good mentor is key.
5. Take up Leadership Positions
Are you beginning to feel a little restless at your company? You’re not alone. Spring is actually one of the busiest times in the recruitment industry, with the season of change-making employees think about their jobs and consider if there could be more out there for them. However, this is an area where you should be careful.
What can happen – and does happen – is that we become so eager to move forward that we accept offers for jobs that pay more, or sound more interesting, without stopping to consider whether the role will do anything to impact long term success. Accelerating your career doesn’t always mean making more money or working on specific projects. It means moving into positions that are going to thrust you forward in the right direction. It’s important to understand this difference.
What this means is that to accelerate your career, you should be looking (where possible, of course) to take leadership positions, rather than simply making a lateral move for a greater pay packet. Of course, salary matters. You must be able to afford to live. But don’t be afraid to step into a similar-paying job that offers you more benefits in non-monetary ways. It’s not wasted time. See it as an investment in your own future.
6. Invest in the Success of Others
When you’re trying to accelerate your career, it can sometimes feel like it’s a case of ‘every woman for herself’. And make no mistake, the job market can be a competitive place. But it’s important to remember that we’re still living in a male-dominated world. And as much as we all want to be that one woman who changes it all, true change won’t occur unless we all work together to make it happen.
Accelerating your career means there must be people at the top who are willing to provide you with opportunities. And at the end of the day, that’s more likely to happen when today’s leaders can easily see the value and the power that women can bring to the table. It’s up to us to show them. And that means not only demonstrating our own personal power but the power of women everywhere.
Looking after yourself and your own needs is important. But it’s also crucial that we’re able to invest in the success of others, celebrate the achievements of other women, and raise each other up. Forward Ladies contributor and Founder of JoJo Maman Bébé, Laura Tenison, wholeheartedly agrees with this, stating that “women still need support from others who understand their language and the problems they are facing”.
READY TO ACCELERATE YOUR CAREER?
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This month, we’re pleased to welcome Christina Lawford to take us along her journey of growing her business DiamondAir International ltd, which was impacted during the pandemic due to the ban on travel, and how she has since bounced back by diversifying and growing into new markets. Her business is thriving and that is a testament to her exemplary leadership during testing times.
During this candid conversation with Christina, members will have the opportunity to see behind the curtains and get an insight into the travel industry from a renowned expert. Christina is also one of the unstoppable women featured in the book!
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