November 1, 2023

The CEO of Your Career

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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There is a shift I made that allowed me to have a role created for me that had never existed before, that allowed me to start my business, and that I coach my clients on that empowers them to create the career they want.

Today I’m talking about making a shift from an employee mindset to a CEO mindset. You’ll hear examples of how this difference changes your reaction to being turned down for a promotion, not seeing the job you want, and managing your workload.

You’ll get an exercise for you to identify which mindset you operate from and what to do if you want to change your results.

What you’ll learn:

  • The difference between an employee mindset and CEO mindset
  • How to problem solve 3 different work situations by shifting your perspective
  • An exercise that will tell you which mindset you operate from
  • How to embody a CEO mindset to drive your career in the right direction

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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 woo, 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 today I have a new concept that I want to share with you. And if you listened to last week’s episode on why your strategy isn’t working, this is a great follow-up to that. Now, this concept is not completely new. It’s really the backbone of my philosophy around career development. I just haven’t talked about it on the podcast in this way until today, and we are going to just dive into it. No big warm-up, no foreplay. Now, are you ready? What I want you to consider is whether you’re treating your career like you are an employee or like you are a CEO. You might be thinking right away, Well, I am an employee. What do you mean? So just keep listening. Over the last few years that I’ve been full-time in my business, I have had to develop a whole new identity as a CEO. I approach problems differently. I think about myself and my career differently. I think about what is possible very differently. I’ve embodied a growth mindset more than I knew that I could have, where I take action and I rebound quickly from failure.

I’m no longer afraid and I’ve overcome that need to be perfect. I had to take on this identity or mindset shift because I became a CEO. But I think I really took this on before that. I saw myself as in control of my career when I influenced my leadership to have a role created for me and my skills that had never existed before in that part of the business. I saw myself as the CEO of my career when I hired a coach when I wasn’t making the progress I wanted in my career and I wanted help to really overcome my blind spots and expedite my results. When I took the leap to start my business, I did that with a specific mindset that allowed me to take that risk, not knowing what the outcome would be without millions of dollars in the bank to back me up. As I’ve been coaching my client, what I have helped them do is to embody this CEO energy for themselves. When I coach them to figure out what they want, to find jobs that didn’t exist, to have roles created for them, to become the leader they want to be, and to step out and stand out, have the hard conversations, and see every obstacle as a problem to solve, what I’ve been doing is building their skill and mindset to see themselves as CEOs of their career.

I want you to really think about this. Instead of your career happening to you, you create what you want. When your boss tells you no to your promotion, you find another way. When you plan out your time, you are intentionally traditional and take your time seriously. You’re a hot commodity, my friend. You don’t just waste your time. You don’t just let people consume all of your time and leave nothing for you. When you were thinking like an employee, what do you do? You work hard. You look to what leaders need from you. You make decisions based on what other people tell you to do or what other people have decided are your options, like on an org chart. You’re reactive. When your boss drops a new project on you when you’re already busy, you just try to squeeze it in so you don’t let anyone down. You wait for opportunities. You check the boxes and do all the right things. You don’t think that your career is in your control. Now, you might be thinking, Well, of course, this is how it is because I am an employee, right? But this is something that people don’t tell you.

This is a new way of thinking that is going to change the way that you think about your career and the decisions that you make and the way that you think about what is possible and to empower you to really create what you want, right? Because in companies, they want you to have that employee mindset. It’s to their benefit that you work hard, that you take on more than you can handle, that you sacrifice your family time and your sleep to deliver for them. That you sacrifice what you really want for your career to fit yourself into a mold that they need. That is to the company’s benefit. This is so common. But I’m calling this out because I know that if you’re a listener of mine, if you listen to this podcast, if you’ve ever worked with me before, that you’re not common. You are not meant to live your career and your life that way. I know that you are meant for something more and that you have the potential to be the CEO of your career and change your perspective on this. Sometimes all it takes is just bringing awareness to what you’re doing now that isn’t working and what you need to do instead.

This is what the conversation is that I’m having with you today. Is what this is all about. Now, I want to ask you to rise up and think about how you would approach your career if you thought of yourself as a CEO. Ceos decide what is needed and they create the opportunities. They create the marketplace for what they want. They take responsibility for their current result, and they see obstacles as problems to solve. You don’t see CEOs saying, Well, it’s not my problem. We’ll just see what happens. That’s not something you can do as a CEO. They’re intentional and strategic, and they don’t lead with emotion or make hasty decisions when things don’t go their way. They are emotional because they are humans like myself. I am a human. I have a lot of emotions. That is the human experience. But when something doesn’t go well, if I fail at something, if things aren’t going the way that I want them to, I don’t just quit my business. I don’t decide to just move on to something else. I look at what it is that I contributed to this? Is this still a strategic priority for me?

And how do I solve that problem? Where as an employee, you might think, Well, I’m at this company, things aren’t going my way. I don’t like my boss. I’m not getting what I want. I’m just going to quit. That’s an employee mindset. That is fine. You can continue to think that way. But if you shift to the CEO mindset, it’s just going to change so many things for you now and in the future. Let me give you some examples. Let’s say that you ask your boss for a promotion and they say no. An employee mindset would say, You need to wait until the next promotion cycle and ask again. There’s nothing you can do and you might just get fed up and look for another job. A CEO mindset would think, I’m not making my promotion a business need. How can I do that? I’m going to ask more questions. I must be missing something because they said no. If you want a new job and you aren’t seeing what you want posted anywhere, an employee mindset would think, I’m stuck where I am until something opens up. My ideal job doesn’t exist right now.

I have to settle. When you’re thinking like a CEO, you will influence your current boss or hiring manager if you’re looking for a new job to change your responsibilities to align with what you want to have the role created for you. You find the job you want by tapping into your network and that hidden job market. When you don’t know how to do those things, you get help. There’s always a way. Now, let’s say you’re overworked and burnt out. An employee mindset would think, This is just how the job or industry is. It’s not in your control. You don’t set the timelines. There’s nothing you can do but figure out a way to get everything done. A CEO mindset would think, I need to escalate these resource constraints. Boundaries make me a better employee. I am in charge of my schedule. I decide my hours and problem-solve and escalate as needed. Okay, so do you see the difference? You might hear and think, Oh, that isn’t realistic. It’s not realistic for me to take on that mindset or perspective or you’re making it sound easier than what it is. But believe me, this is totally doable.

This is what I help my clients with all the time. This is the shift that they make. They do this through our coaching process. I’m not sitting down and teaching them school and saying, Let’s talk about CEO mindset. It’s just happening in the way that we’re coaching and the way that they are taking accountability for where they are processing what they want, deciding what they want for the future through my process, and then taking consistent action towards it. There’s always an option to move forward. Now, I’m not saying that you just leave your deliverables undone and you walk away. When we talk about competing deadlines or priorities, you have to manage your stakeholders and you have to be strategic. But that is what having a CEO mindset will allow you to do so that you get what you want without it negatively affecting your career. You might be wondering if you have an employee mindset or a CEO mindset, or maybe you think you’re somewhere in the middle, so let’s talk about it. Now, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re thinking like a CEO of your career. Number one, do you think you are empowered to make decisions?

Do you think that is up to you? Do you see obstacles as problems you can solve? Do you see your career as being in your control? Do you have boundaries of what you will tolerate? And do you have consequences for how you will handle things when things blur those boundaries? Do you think about the big picture or long-term consequences of the decisions that you are making today? Are you intentional with your time? Do you prioritize your greatest asset, which is you and your brain? Or are you always putting yourself last? Do you consider yourself reactive or proactive when it comes to your career? Are you thinking strategically ahead of time about what you want? Or are you waiting until something is a problem and then trying to fix it? Take some time and really think through these questions. If you say yes to some and no to others, then you have an action plan that you can work on to take more charge of your career. This is a shift that you can make that will 100 % change the results that you have. If you don’t think that your results are in your control, then you won’t do the work needed to create the career that you want.

Take that in. If you don’t think your results are in your control, then you won’t do the work needed to create the career that you want. The first step of embodying that CEO mindset is taking 100% accountability for where you are and for what you want. Then you will be able to make anything happen.

All right, have an amazing week. And I will talk to you again next week.

The episode is over, but your next up-level is just beginning. If you’re ready to have the career that you really want, I invite you to schedule a coaching consultation to work with me where you will identify a career path to your next step, build your confidence to tackle any career challenge, make more money and work and stress less with my proven process. Head over to to get started.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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