“Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.”– Ralph Charell
Looking back over my career, I realize so much, early on, was jumping into learning situations, taking risks, being fearless, and making lots of mistakes.
I didn’t take a ladder approach, although I did want to progress upwards in my career; instead, I took a lot of side moves to get the context I needed to drive more enterprise value.
Some people saw lateral moves as stagnation. I saw it as an opportunity. Each lateral move was expanding my knowledge, leadership, and responsibility. All of the rotations built a toolbox of skills that I would end up being so grateful for and serve me well in my future career.
And that is the point of this week’s blog. Pave your path, define your success, create your opportunities, and be your authentic self.
The Changing World and Assessing New Opportunities…
Careers are changing rapidly. When we only think in terms of moving up, we limit ourselves to a robust and rich future career.
When thinking about a new opportunity, I have found it helpful to assess the following things:
- Who is the leader you will report to. This is a very critical person for your career. Are you aligned with there leadership style? Can you learn from them?
- Will you learn new skills and grow in your abilities? Are these the skills for the future of where you want to go?
- Is it matched to what feeds your energy, and will you be happy?
- Is the money or title, more than the opportunity exciting you? If yes, think hard about what your day will be like when that wears off. And I assure you it will.
- What is the risk for you in terms of maybe not being successful, and will you get help to grow?
When I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In,” I connected to the imagery of careers being more like jungle gyms rather than ladders. My whole career has been that way, and it has allowed me to be adaptive, resilient, and comfortable with change.
Only you can determine if your career is on the right track.
When we compare ourselves with others, it overshadows our happiness and our ability to add value in all that we do.
Money will never make you singularly happy. Sometimes that is what we think, for example: if I just had a higher salary.
There are trade-offs of time, risk, accountability, and flexibility the more you move up and the more you earn. Be sure you’re clear on the trade-offs and satisfied in the decision.
Life has different cadences depending on various life events. For example, a new parent may not want to take a new role where they have to travel 80% of their time, even if it had a considerable increase in pay. Or maybe you want to go back to school and now isn’t the right time to take on more responsibility at work. It’s ok; life is about trade-offs and timing.
When you look at it, your career will span decades, so you have all the time you need.
Make sure that the career decisions you make now, help you along your journey and also are right for you and your family.
Navigate your career like a boss and Shine Brightly!