A common fear I hear from clients is they worry they won’t fulfill their potential. I had this fear too. This thought that there was more to give, bigger problems to solve, a bigger impact to make…but not knowing what needed to be different.
On this week’s episode of the podcast, I’m digging into a concept I shared with a client about being in the sandbox and how that was preventing her from seeing what’s possible. I’m sharing with you what I shared with her and digging deeper into how you explore what might be possible for you and stop making decisions based on what makes sense, rather than what you really want.
What you’ll learn:
- How to explore your career potential
- The ways you might be playing small in your career
- 4 questions to ask yourself if you want more for your career but not sure what
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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. I hope that you’re having a great start to your summer. I’m definitely making up for lost time and we have a lot of trips planned to explore and enjoy what our world and even our area has to offer. There’s so much to see and experience in this world and that is really what I love about traveling. Not just the beautiful new places and delicious food, the incredible cultures, but it really humbles me real quick. It shows me the world is so much bigger than where I live and what my experience is that there are so many people out there doing incredible things with totally different thoughts and ideas. So it’s an incredible thing to do to go outside of your element and your comfort zone and explore that. And that is a lot of what this week’s episode is really about. This week, we’re going to be talking about the idea that you might be living or working in a sandbox. Now, when you think about a sandbox, what comes to mind? What do you think of? I think of those big plastic turtle sandboxes.
Have you seen those? Those were everywhere when I was younger. I actually haven’t seen them now for a while, but they used to be the fancy thing to have for the kids. Or I think about the wooden sandbox that was at the park near our house in Wisconsin. So there’s this physical idea of a sandbox, but then there’s the thought of what are sandboxes for? They’re for play, right? You might build a castle, play with a shovel, and a bucket. Or if you’re like my daughter, you ate the sand and your parents had to constantly stop you from trying to eat it like it was fruit snacks. It’s a space for creativity to just play. Even just sitting in the sand can feel really good. And the sandbox is constrained. It’s in a box or maybe even in a plastic turtle. So it’s confined play, confined creativity. And I think this is what work and even life is like for a lot of us. You might approach your career by looking at what is available for you to play with. What toys make sense for the sandbox? What would be silly to use in a sandbox?
For where you’re at, does a promotion make sense? Maybe even a lateral move to another department. But starting your own business, fueling your passion project, that’s silly, right? That is for other people. Or maybe that is for another playground. I’ll see how far I can get with this analogy. I don’t know if I’m stretching it too far already. You might be thinking, Okay, but there are appropriate places for sand, Melissa. There are appropriate places for sand toys, and there are definitely appropriate options for my career. And I hear you. But imagine you’re a little kid who only plays in the sandbox, who has amazing toys and maybe even every sandbox gadget available on Earth. But you never went on a swing. You never experienced the thrill of a fast slide. You never played tag with your friends. You didn’t even know that you could hop on one leg and play hopscotch, which was my jam. That and foursquare. So if you don’t know, you don’t know. You might love the swings, but you didn’t consider it because you were busy in your sandbox. When we look at what makes sense and what other people do, we shut ourselves off from possibility.
We limit the impact we can make. We limit the happiness that we can feel. We are keeping it confined in a safe box. So you might be thinking, Okay, I get it. What’s the alternative? The alternative is to look bigger, to intentionally explore what could be possible for you. So there are some questions that you could ask. You could ask, What do I do that I lose all sense of time? And if you think of the last time that you just… The time just went by so fast, you didn’t even realize how fast the time was going. What were you doing? What were you so engaged with? If you did a TED Talk, what would you talk about? Do you ever fantasize about doing that? You might be afraid of talking in front of all of those people, but let’s say you weren’t, and the TED Talk people contacted you and they said, We want to hear from you. We think that you have a lot to say. What would you choose to be your topic? What problems do you like to solve? When was the last time that you felt truly happy? What were you doing?
Get out of what makes sense and what the org chart says. Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that the sandbox won’t be your favorite thing to play with, or that it’s not a great toy to play with, or that it’s just a boring dumb choice. But wouldn’t you want to be clear and intentional about choosing it? Maybe know what toys you like to use most so you can have the most fun. Now, I want to put this in greater context. I have a client who came to me a few months ago because she was very uncomfortable and unfilled in her role. She worked in regulatory for decades. And when she started working with me, she was in tears about how she was good at it. She was good at the job that she had been doing. She had a strong expertise, but she wasn’t sure it was her ideal role. And she wanted to figure out what that was. She wanted to make a bigger impact and a bigger difference for the world. And she was a little nervous about going through my process because she was so unhappy, she thought it was going to require big changes that she wasn’t ready for, and this was a real concern.
You might not be surprised that my process covers and plans for that. You are in safe hands. So we went through my career discovery process, and what we discovered is that 70% or more of her job was something she actually really enjoyed and wanted to continue to do. And it was 30% or less that neededimprovement. So what we did is we identified those changes through my process, the type of work, the project, the people, all the things, and then I helped her with a strategy to influence her management to incorporate those things she wanted to do and gradually remove the things that she didn’t. And while we were at it, we positioned this as a promotion. What she truly wanted wasn’t that far off. She just needed help figuring out what it was she wanted and then the strategy to make that happen. Because this is my area of expertise. I not only have the process I created that I want to prove it works, but I can see things you can’t because you’re in the thick of your unhappiness. As well as, like I say, your brain can’t solve your brain’s problems.
It’s too biased. And it’s not just you, it was me, too. When I was in the thick of my unhappiness, I couldn’t see what was possible for me. I also got some outside perspective on that. Well, exciting news for her is that she just found out her promotion was approved and she is going to be promoted to an Associate Director. She is going to be getting paid more to do more of what she wants to do. How amazing is this? Now, I share this with you not just to brag on my client or my process, but I want to share this with you to say that you might be scared at first to look outside the sandbox. You might want to focus on what is logical to you in this moment, and I want to invite you to look differently at your options. Just like when I talked about travel in the beginning of this episode, when I travel, I learn so much and get such different perspectives that I didn’t even realize were available to me. When we went to Mexico, for example, in June, we took a bartending class. And the lovely person, Cesar, who taught the class shared that Mexico doesn’t want the American corn because it’s treated so heavily with various different products.
And it’s bad for us. It’s bad for humans, is what he was saying. So they’re trying to figure out in Mexico how to get corn because they need it. And there’s a shortage, but without getting corn that they don’t think is healthy. That even with making drinks, he uses a natural sweetener like agave as opposed to heavy syrups that we might use in America. This is a different perspective, right? Had I not made friends with him, I wouldn’t have even asked him to be the facilitator of our bar tending class, and I wouldn’t have had the friendliness with him to have the types of conversations that we did. So to figure out what toys are your favorite, what is outside your box, what you really want for your career, I invite you to explore. That’s why I share these stories with you because there’s so much out there that you might not be seeing right now. And to consider what you want may be different than what you have, or maybe it just needs some tweaks. Now, you can ask yourself the questions that I posed earlier in the episode to start your exploration on what is possible for you, what your potential might be.
You can also download, I have a guide right now on my website called Lead With Your Values that goes through a different exploration exercise to help you figure out what you want. So you can grab that now. And if you’re listening to this months or years in the future, it might be gone because I change up those resources pretty regularly. So grab it now. All right. So I want you to go out there because the world is your playground. I want you to have fun finding your favorite toys, looking outside of what maybe you’re used to playing with or what you’ve grown up knowing to be the right thing. And instead, look at what you really want, what is really possible. Because if you have that feeling that there is something more for you than there is, if you have that feeling that you’re not living up to your potential, then you’re not. I was there to take it from me. Now, before I go, there have been some exciting updates in the way that you can work with me. And I just want to give you a quick little update on that. If you’re interested in career leadership coaching, you can join the Stand Out Leader Incubator, which is open right now.
That is for leaders that are either aspiring or current women in the pharma biotech industry. Now, I also have something brand new coming called Beyond The Ceiling, where you’re going to shatter the glass ceiling in the industry and also the one that exists in us that keeps us small with all that overthinking and doubt. So this is for you if you’re looking to figure out your best career move or advance your career in the pharma biotech industry. And if you’re wondering if I still offer private coaching, one on one, I definitely do. But it has become very limited in the last year. So if this is something that you’re interested in, I encourage you to schedule a consultation with me to see when my next availability is. You can find information about the Stand Out Leader Incubator, Beyond the Ceiling, and private coaching on my website www.yourworthycareer.com. There’s also a link in the show notes. Have an amazing week.