By Nancy Fredericks
Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
Acceleration comes from physics, typically referring to the rate of velocity change. As in, things are going faster!
In our world, acceleration seems like a straightforward concept.
Think about it. When driving an automobile, the method of acceleration is obvious. There is a pedal. You press down to speed up, and the harder you push, the faster you go. It’s equally apparent which pedal is the brake.
Or with a bicycle, you know your feet directly correlate to you moving more rapidly, and it is your hands that bring progress to a standstill. Easy-peasy!
Not so much when it comes to career acceleration.
Unfortunately, often women believe their activities are boosting forward motion when quite the reverse is taking place. Sometimes you unknowingly have your foot firmly planted on the proverbial brake inhibiting career advancement.
Let’s check out two simple, practical tips to accelerate your career and two that will slow it down.
Know Your Brand. Tom Peters tells us why making sure you have an exceptional brand or reputation is critical to your career: The labor market worldwide is becoming astonishingly competitive, and you can no longer expect to survive by being essentially an anonymous bureaucrat in a purchasing department or logistics department or engineering department, but you really have to stand for something. He goes on to say, Come hell or high water, from the beginning of your career, you need to think about your areas of distinction.
Slowing Your Progress? Believing doing an excellent job as you complete project-after-project on time and under budget will win the day won’t accelerate your career. Honestly, that is low-level exposure.
Branding yourself is a shortcut to helping others—particularly senior management—recognize what you contribute and who you are to the organization.
Being known is essential. And no one knows you as well as you know yourself.
Therefore, it’s your job to strategically signal your bosses all your strengths, including your unique expertise, along with the intangible qualities that make up you and the added value you produce. Letting others figure out who you are isn’t enough—either you create your brand, or others do it for you, possibly not in the way you desire.
Be Open To Interrupting Your “To Do” List. I know you’re locked and loaded, fixed on pressing forward, completing projects no matter how hard you work and how many hours it takes. That’s what your company wants you to accept as the corporate culture. It’s good for them—not so good for your future. The reality is never disappointing or letting anyone down is not the pathway to success—no matter what you believe.
Slowing Your Progress? Stop metaphorically balling all your energy into a tight fist, ready to complete everything through sheer willpower alone. The most magical breakthroughs often come out of the blue and interfere with pre-set plans.
Leadership is not about dogged determination—that is low-level, grunt work—instead, it is about resiliency and embracing the unexpected as you turn it into golden outcomes.
So, say yes to the surprises. Especially if they touch the bottom line or connect you with influencers or provide the opportunity to acquire skill sets on your bucket list…. And guess what? The wonder of all wonders, these irritating interruptions may be the door to the great big future you’ve envisioned!
Accelerating your career is fun and empowering. In today’s competitive world, you can’t afford to leave it in the hands of others.
If you’re an executive woman interested in accelerating your careers, you’ll be interested in checking out THRIVE @ WORK MasterMind Forum. Become the best version of yourself through a community of like-minded professional women supporting, holding one another accountable, and committed to excel. It’s facilitated by one of the most experienced women’s thought leaders today – Nancy Fredericks – known for generating lively, content-rich dialogue through career-transforming “Aha’s.”
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