As we look toward the new year in a couple weeks, it's a great time to evaluate your goals and what you really want. It's also the perfect time to look at what's not working and how to make the necessary adjustments for greater success.
Over the last 20 years coaching and training professionals around the world, I’ve watched women build careers they thought would make them happy, only to wake up one day to realize they're anything but happy and confused on how they go there. Trying to hide or deny that they're miserable, out of panic or fear, they start the "job hop" process searching for something more. But it doesn't work. Ultimately, the end up doing work that lacks meaning, impact and the compensation they know they deserve.
But there's something magical that happens when women come into my tribe and begin to repair the damage to their confidence and get clear on what they're meant to do in the world. While these high-achieving women come to me frustrated and confused, once I'm able to diagnose what's been holding them back and the barriers that have kept them from thriving in their life and career, these women become warriors and courageous leaders.
That’s when my job get's exciting, and frankly, fun.
The first step is to make a decision, and commitment, to stop doing what you've been doing, and to start doing things differently.
It's not easy, particularly for women. My research has found that it takes a shift in their thoughts and an alteration of their story to master the career accelerators and have the career they truly want.
What are career accelerators?
Career accelerators are the levers necessary to advance or accelerate your career forward. Without clarity, confidence and a commitment to change it can be challenging, if not impossible, to pull these levers and achieve the goal of having a fulfilling career and doing meaningful work.
Accelerator #1: Failing to Unveil Your Superpowers
As we step into midlife it's common for self-doubt to creep in around who we are and whether or not we have anything significant to offer. When my clients get into this space, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to see the plethora of amazing gifts, skills, strengths and abilities they have to offer the world.
When you've had a successful career in a particular you can become myopic and singular about what you can do. As a result, the focus tends to be on what you don't know, skills or education your don't have, or tasks and functions you can't do.
Until you can get clear on all of that you have to offer, or unveil what I call your superpowers, you won't be able to leverage or monetize them for a fulfilling and thriving career.
Accelerator #2 - Operating Without a Vision
In Proverbs 29:18 it says, "Without a vision the people will perish," and this is particularly true for those who want a thriving career. So many women I've worked with never truly had a vision for the career other than the typical "great title and great income." So when asked what they really want, they often don't have a clear answer.
If you've lost that vision for what you wanted to be when you grew up, or never had one to begin with, you're more likely to be trapped in a job or career you hate. It takes clarity of vision to have the courage to go after what you want.
Accelerator #3 - Lacking the Art of Self-Promotion
Studies have shown that women struggle with communicating their accomplishments. They believe they'll come across as arrogant, "bragging" or as if they're trying to take the spotlight or credit. On average, women tend to wait for others to notice and acknowledge their accomplishments or successes and as a result their contributions are less remembered and celebrated. Women have been taught to play small which has created a clear gender bias when it comes to how we're perceived when we stand in our leadership and power.
However, acknowledging your achievements will actually serve to advance your confidence, competence and courage, allowing you to make a greater impact. As Marianne Williamson noted, “Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking…As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Accelerator #4 - Giving In To Your Kryptonite
Many of the women asking to be coached by me or join a career coaching program are plagued by a horrible boss, struggling with the imposter syndrome, feeling ostracized at work, or have trouble speaking up for themselves. I call these things, and other mindset gremlins, kryptonite. When women give into their kryptonite they tend to isolate, fail to seek support and guidance, and are unable to network effectively. It's at this time however, that you need to connect into a community of support.
Without a powerful support system, you'll severely limit your opportunities for access, growth and exciting new roles or promotions. So get the support you need to deal with those mental barriers, real and imagined.
Accelerator #5 - You Don't Believe
There's a scene in the movie The Matrix, when Morpheous told Neo, "You gotta let it all go Neo. Fear, doubt, disbelief. Free your mind." In many ways, I feel like the Morpheous to my client's Neo, reminding them that, "I can only show you the door...you have to walk through it." Therein usually lies the problem.
Career advancement, change and growth requires a little faith and belief in the unknown, and walking through an unknown door can feel scary. However, when you have clarity and knowledge of self, your vision, your gifts, and your path, it's easier to have faith in your ability to achieve your goals on the other side. But the question that stops so many dead in their tracks is, "What if I fail?" Are you ready for the answer? "So, what if you do?"
You see, the problem isn't whether you fail or succeed, the problem is your perception of failure and your lack of belief. Everything that happens to you in your career is nothing more than an opportunity for your growth, development and learning. This new knowledge equips you to take on (and overcome) greater obstacles and challenges and enhances your competency and self-efficacy.
Tap into the inner strength, power, faith and belief. Once you do you'll expand your capacity for ambiguity and reach new heights in your life and career.
As you review this list of career accelerators, assess where you're situated within each of them. Once you're clear get support for added accountability and then craft a plan of action that will help you to step into your calling and design a thriving career.
To identify the barriers that may be negatively impacting your life and career, schedule a call to learn more about my career coaching and development programs.
You can also watch my segment on AM Northwest Morning Show, Making a Midlife Career Change.
Live, laugh and unapologetically shine,