There are 5 things you can do today that will improve your career. Whether you want to get to the next level, are feeling stuck, or just want to enjoy work more, this episode is for you.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck
- The Stand Out Leader Incubator is opening for enrollment on July 6th. Learn more here.
What you’ll learn:
- 5 things you can do to improve your career
- The most underrated action that will give you big results
Work with Melissa:
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Welcome to Your Worthy Career, a podcast with me, Melissa Lawrence. I’m a career and life coach with all the corporate credit and talent development and organizational psychology. I help women like you get extraordinary results by being more you, not less. I won’t just help you have a career experience worthy of you, but I will help you build your self worth to shift what you think is possible and take the action that will create the career you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s more meaningful work you’re passionate about, making more money, getting to your next level, or being more effective as a leader, we are shattering the glass ceiling here. The one that exists for women at work and the one we put on ourselves with our doubt and inner critic. Each week you will get practical teachings grounded in neuroscience and effective career development strategies. You’ll experience deep mindset shifts and the perfect amount of rule so you can run your career with ease rather than your career running you. You were born for more, and I’m going to help you get there with maybe a few dance parties along the way. Your up level begins now.
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the podcast. Now, at the time that you’re listening to this, I need to make a confession. I am going to be on the sandy beaches of Mexico. Ellen and I haven’t had an adult-only zen out vacation in years. Between COVID and everything else going on, our vacations have been local or they have been visiting family and or for work trips or something like that. So consider this your sign to book that vacation for you, too. If you’ve been holding back, if you feel like you really just need some time for you or maybe some time with your partner to not take care of everything you take care of all of the time, then this is your sign. Taking time to take care of yourself is so important. And I know you hear it, but it really is true that rest enables you to be more productive. It allows you to be sharper and to have more energy. So after you listen today, look at your calendar. And if you haven’t taken some time for yourself, look at where and how you can do that. And I’m also going to let you in on a little secret.
Next week’s podcast is going to be really fun. Doing something I’ve never done before. So my wife, Ellen, who is also a leader in the pharma biotech industry, asked me if she could take over my podcast and turn the tables on me. And I let her. So we poured some wine on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, and she asked me her burning questions that she thought you would want to know the answer to. So if you’re not already subscribed to the podcast, you definitely want to hit subscribe so you don’t miss it or any other episode. And while you’re subscribing, if you would take just two seconds to leave me a review, I would be so grateful. I love hearing how the podcast has helped you or what you enjoy about it. It really makes my whole month when I see a new review come up on Apple podcast or any other platform. So if you are enjoying the podcast, please do that. It will just warm my heart. Thank you so much. All right, let’s dig into this week’s topic. This week we are talking about the things you can do to improve your career.
If you’re feeling like you’re in a slump, then this is for you. If you want to get to the next level and be energized by your work again, this is for you. If you just want to be sure that you’re taking advantage of your opportunities and excelling and growing as quickly and efficiently as possible, well, my friend, this is for you. So let’s go ahead and dive right in. Today I’m going to focus on some specific things that you can do to improve your career experience. This is not a complete list, but these five things that I’m going to share with you today are the things that I have found and seen to have the most impact. So you’re going to get the most bang for your buck, so to speak, when you implement one or all of these things. So let’s get right to it. So the first thing to do to improve your career, and this is a big one, is to remember who the F you are. Remember who you are. The first one, this very first one, it’s so important because it sounds simple, but it’s so common to lose yourself in your career.
If you work in a culture that gets you down, you can start to doubt yourself. You can start to feel less confident. You might start to think things like, Well, I used to be really good at really confident in my expertise, but now I’m wondering if I’m really good at that at all. You could get passed up for a promotion, or maybe you apply for a job and you don’t get it, and then you think, Well, maybe I’m not that great. When this happens, you’re missing one important component. These experiences you are having are external. They are other people’s opinions. Other people who are flawed, like we all are, giving you signals, you are the problem. Then we get caught up in trying to please those people, to look to others to what we should be doing, just trying to get ahead to do what makes sense. And when you do that over and over, you start to lose yourself little by little. You start to question yourself more. You start to wonder if you’re the problem. You start to forget that you really like certain things that maybe you just haven’t given any attention to, or what your real interests and passions are, or what you really want.
So don’t lose sight of your value and your expertise. Of course, there’s always room for growth and improvement, but that doesn’t mean that you suck right now. Your circumstances might suck, but you are always in the driver’s seat of changing that. So remember who you are. The next one is to expand your circle. Focusing on relationships is really big when it comes to your career. Relationships cannot be emphasized enough. Now, throughout my career, I would have work friends, bosses I loved, people I trusted, people that I didn’t. I had my circle for sure. And I didn’t spend time expanding my network as much as I should have and building those relationships early in my career. And this is a lesson that I had to learn. When I started to really focus on relationships, my career grew exponentially. When I put myself out there and talked to people that I didn’t know, had small talk that felt uncomfortable, got the nerves, you all know what that feels like, and reached out anyway, I not only learned more and became better at what I did, but I had a larger support network. It also made my career more enjoyable.
When you have a holiday party at work, just imagine this, you have a holiday party at work, and you can walk into the room and you have 20 people that you can go up and talk to at all the little tables, those holiday parties are a lot more enjoyable. When you stay in your small circle of just those couple of people that you consider your work besties or your work friends, when you go to those events or big gatherings, you’re going to feel more uncomfortable if you don’t go with someone or if you don’t know anyone that’s going to be there. So when you build your network and relationships, you have that ripple effect. You’re more likely to see people that you know when you go and do new things that are going to just expand your network and expand your career possibilities. Plus, when you only focus on your immediate circle, you’re really limiting your opportunities that are available to you. I’ve shared this before on the podcast, but when I was able to create my role with my last company, it wasn’t because my boss thought it was a good idea. In fact, she was against it for a while.
It’s because I made relationships and allies and demonstrated my value to people outside of my group, outside of my country even. I met people and I showcased my expertise and I over-delivered. This gave me a really great reputation and other people who would advocate for me when I wanted something down the road. When I said, When you only focus on your group or your location, you are putting all of your eggs in one basket. And instead, I want you to just consider sprinkling those eggs around. You never know what opportunities might come up for you. I laughed a little bit there because you can’t see me, but I was sprinkling my fingers like I’m sprinkling the eggs around for you. So I just had someone I worked with get a new job really quickly because the hiring manager asked around and knew some people who knew the person and had a good experience with her. So they didn’t even have to check references, and her reputation really preceded her. It’s like getting a VIP entrance to the job that you want. So when you’re building relationships, I suggest focusing on people you really want to know and not be slimy about it.
People can see through that if you’re just looking to get something from them. So start small and it’s going to pay you back over and over. The industry is so well connected, especially in the pharma biotech space that you want to have people who know you, who know what you do, and that they think highly of you. And you’ll do that by expanding your reach and building relationships. Okay, so the next thing you can do to improve your career is to say yes strategically. Now, back when I led the network of women with my last industry job, I gave all of the members a pin that said, Just say yes. I ordered them on ETSY, and they were these cute purple circle pins. And members started putting them on their lanyards, which really just delighted me because they did that on their own. And it just made me so happy to see that impact I was having and how it was going to impact them to make different choices for themselves. So it was a ripple effect, and it just formed my heart. And those pins were just a simple reminder for them to say yes to strategic opportunities, to not let that fear hold them back.
That saying yes, even when you’re scared or nervous, is going to help you get more visibility. Plus, you’re going to have more fun and you’re going to advance your career more quickly. Now, I say to say yes strategically because this isn’t just about saying yes to everything. Because you have to know that when you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else because we only have so much capacity. So if you’re saying yes to everything, the things that you’re saying no to are probably your free time and your family time. So what is common is we get opportunities or we see opportunities and tell ourselves we are too busy, that we don’t have the time or it’s outside our expertise. And we do this sometimes because we’re scared. We’re scared we’re going to screw it up, scared of the visibility, scared to try something new, scared to not be perfect. But that keeps you small. Instead, look at the opportunities around you and ask yourself, Will this help me with my goals? Will this help me with who I want to be and how I want to be seen? An example for me is when I suggested that we train all of our managers on disk, which is a communication tool that I now use with my clients, it was approved.
But then I was asked to lead the roll out to train senior leaders. I was really nervous that I had this idea that I wanted, I believed in it, but that I would fall short in the delivery and that I wouldn’t be taken seriously anymore. That next time I had an idea to improve culture, that it would just be ignored and my career would suffer and I wouldn’t be able to do the work I wanted to do. It just felt like the lot was riding on this. Now, of course, at first I didn’t realize that this was my fear, that I was scared this might happen, that I would screw it up. At first, it presented itself as a really logical reason not to do it. I’m too busy. I don’t have the bandwidth. Being a leader is saying no. I should demonstrate that by saying no. So sneaky, right? Our brains have really logical reasons for keeping a small and staying safe. Luckily, I caught on and I asked myself these four questions. What is the benefit of me doing this? What is the best case scenario? What is the worst case scenario? How will I handle the worst?
Now, this allowed me to see that it was more beneficial for me to do this, to showcase my expertise, and that I really was the most qualified person to do it, and it would give me the visibility I needed. It also helped me face that I thought things that might go wrong and to really figure out what those were and then solve for that ahead of time. So I was more prepared and then prevented those things from happening. But then if they did, I also had a backup plan of what I would do. So take more shots as I say, take more opportunities. Use these four questions I shared with you to help you figure out when you should say yes. Practice being courageous. When you do things that are uncomfortable, you build your confidence to do more uncomfortable things. When you’re uncomfortable and then you get comfortable with that discomfort, you’re going to be confident and you’re going to trust yourself to handle anything.
All right, let’s move on to the next one. The next one is growth mindset. Now, having a growth mindset, you might have heard of this before, is really just being open to new ideas, continuing to develop, to see opportunities. When you have a fixed mindset, you might think that things are just the way they are. They are confident people, and then they’re not confident people, and it’s not something that you can learn or grow to be. Or when you take trainings that are available to you and only those trainings, and that’s the only place to get your development, that’s another way of having a fixed mindset. For example, if you want to be a better communicator, you might look at what your work offers, and if they don’t have something available to you when you need it, and maybe it’s down the road, you might sign up for the next class that’s offered in a few months and just not focus on that right now. And instead of deciding, I want to be a better communicator and there’s not a class available, or there’s not one for several months, you could decide to just develop yourself in that moment to find a resource, to find a person, to find a mentor to help you become a better communicator sooner. You’re being more innovative and creative in problem solving and how you can build the skill that you want to have, because the sooner that you build those skills, the sooner you’ll have that reality that you want to have. In this case, being a better communicator.
So you don’t have to be a don’t have to wait for things. You can just take control and grow however you want right now. It’s deeper than that, though. If you’re avoiding challenges, then you’re stuck in a fixed mindset. If you give up when things get hard, that is also a sign that you have a fixed mindset. So when you are unhappy and you say that you’ve tried everything, which is really sneaky, when you say you’ve tried everything, it stops your brain from finding other opportunities or solutions. Because think about it, you are literally saying, your brain is saying that there aren’t any other options, that you’ve tried them all. And so, of course, your brain is not going to be looking for other options because you’re already saying there aren’t any. So instead, I encourage you to ask different questions like, what haven’t I tried? If I knew what to do, what would be the answer? Just open up your mind a little bit more. This is another benefit of coaching because you’re put in an environment where you’re guided through opening your mind, considering different perspectives. And it’s happening in a strategic and supportive way.
It’s building your muscle to be growth oriented and to always find your best answer. Now, if you want a resource for this, the book Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck is a great book that you can pick up that explains growth mindset and the science behind it. It’s really very fascinating. I’ve considered doing a whole podcast just around what’s in this book. I have sent this book to several clients. I highly recommend it. So I will put a link to the show notes so that you can grab a copy if you’re interested. Okay, now, let’s talk about the last thing to do to improve your career that I am going to talk about today, and that is to create an objective, safe space for yourself. This is the last suggestion I have for you today. Work can be hard, not just in the technical aspect, but the climate, the culture. There is a lot of change. There are a lot of personalities. There’s a lot of roadblocks to getting where you want to go. And going back to the very first thing that I talked about, remembering who you are. When you get lost, having an objective and safe space for yourself to work through your career can just that alone be the thing that makes a huge difference in your happiness at work.
Unfortunately, HR isn’t always a safe space. Your boss isn’t always a safe space. Even if you have an amazing boss, you don’t want your boss to know every little doubt you have or every complaint. If you’re not sure what to do with an employee or if you should change jobs, those are things that you don’t want to talk to even the best boss about. And your work friends, let’s talk about them. They make work fun and they totally mean well, but they aren’t the best advice givers because they’re in the pool with you. If you’re in the pool unhappy and they can understand where you’re coming from, they’re experiencing it too. Maybe they work at your company also, they’re going to jump in that pool with you, and then you’re both just going to be unhappy wading water together. Instead, you want to have some objective sound boards. And if you can, a community that can support you through whatever it is you’re going through and help you identify the best path forward for you that’s going to help you see those different perspectives that you can’t see. Now, of course, coaching gives you this.
It’s why I have started facilitating group coaching programs also because that community aspect has just had a huge positive impact. I saw the impact that I had in the very first group that I launched a year or two ago. When you have a group of other women in the industry who have been curated, filtered through a process to be high achievers who get it, who are invested in your success and they aren’t in the pool with you, they can see things more objectively and share their advice and experience. When you’re getting coached by me in this setting, you get to see things really clearly and I can see when you’re sabotaging yourself or there’s a different perspective that you should really consider.
So you end up taking more action and not being stuck. You get the answers you need, you don’t stress or think you’re the problem. You have a community you belong in and that is rooting for you. This is a big part of the Stand Out Leader Incubator. But even if you are in one of my programs, you can still seek other people, mentors, a board of directors, which is a group of allies you call on and go to support for guidance, whether it’s former professors, former bosses, mentors with or outside of your company. Having a neutral sounding board and support system that isn’t in the pool of negativity and bias with you will just take you so far, much further than trying to wait it alone.
All right, so these are my five things that you can do right now to improve your career. Try one or try all. Let me know how they go for you, whether it’s sending me a note on LinkedIn or leaving it in a review. And I want you to save the date because the Stand Out Leader Incubator is enrolling July 6th. You can head to yourworthycareer.com/incubator to get all of the details and join the waitlist so that you are informed.
All right, have an amazing week. I will talk to you soon.