Your Future Resides In The Palm of Your Hands
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.thrivewithnancy.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
Women workers took a much bigger hit than men during the pandemic. According to ADP Research, more than 10.6 million women lost their jobs or left the labor force compared to 9 million men. Juxtapose that with a recent Harris Poll that reveals 1 in 5 say they regret leaving their position during the pandemic. Simply reading these studies is disheartening.
What’s a woman to do?
I can tell you the answer is the same whether you left or remained employed through the pandemic.
I talk to women executives all day long. Some recent hires while others are long-term employees. One of the saddest considerations I hear from these talented executive women is: I’m waiting to find out what is happening with my career.
One of my clients, who I’d coached to find her passions, and explore possibilities, took a very different approach. Veronica called me excitedly. Guess what? I just pitched a job position based on everything you taught me. I realized I didn’t want to be a leader. I want to work in an area of my passion and strengths. I looked around my company and realized that we were paying big bucks to an outside consultancy company to do work I love. So, I proposed taking over the job for an increase in salary, and continued as a full-time employee with all the benefits. Congratulate me. We released the outside consultant firm saving the company money, and I have my dream job!
I get where waiting seems as though it’s the right decision. Yes… your company is responsible for making strategic judgments—who stays, who goes, what projects are funded, what aren’t, and other significant operational determinations. But that’s at the macro-level.
You control the micro-level decisions, just as Veronica did, where hopes, dreams, and inspiring careers become a reality.
If you’re anticipating your boss will provide career direction leading to working within your passions and strengths, you lose.
Your company is too busy vying for market share to craft personalized career pathways for the entire workforce—even high-potential employees. And truthfully, no one else can envision your fulfilling, satisfying career—but you!
Don’t allow yourself to be boxed into an uninspiring position you may perform well, but one that doesn’t energize you. Without this stimulant, a thriving career is infeasible.
See what is possible, as Veronica did, when you explore your passions and strengths and then envision possible career assignments that intersect with your organization’s best interests.
I urge you to take the reins of your career into your hands by focusing on your strengths. Why?
Gallup’s research says it all. When you tap into them on the job, you are six times more likely to be engaged. But that’s not the least of it. You’ll have more fun, perform better, be more productive, and excited to come to work with bells on every day—well, the bells part may be a bit fanciful though not the rest!
Conversely, 52 percent of Americans who use their strengths for only three hours a day or less are stressed out. Identifying your business strong suit will dramatically improve your work experience, which rests in your hands. Do you want to be part of that unsatisfied 52 percent? I hope not.
And did you hear how Veronica achieved her dream job by positioning it as profitable for the company—not simply an idea to satisfy her? Always keep the company’s values in mind. After all, it is the primary measurement of business success! By improving your company’s earnings or aligning them to better compete in the marketplace, you will gain more influence, respect, and rewards.
It’s up to you to take charge, be creative, and recognize opportunities. Then, start focusing on business areas that are of interest to you.
Yes, you heard me…Of interest to you!
Why would you ever want to initiate a career or take on additional responsibilities unless they will grow who you are, your strengths, and your passions? Or why would you ever explore spending time or energy on a project that doesn’t benefit your company?
If, by chance, your organization is proactively supporting your career development in the direction you want, Celebrate! And if you receive a huge career breakthrough out of the blue… Congratulations! It’s a gift! These are the exceptions rather than the rule. Your career can’t afford you waiting in the wings.
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