For years I thought the only way to have a successful career was to work as hard as possible. Say yes to absolutely everything that came my way, and ultimately push my needs to one side in favour of achieving my next promotion. Ermm hello to constant stress and nearing burnout on more than one occasion!
We are often conditioned to believe that success only comes from hard work. We take the long hours and feelings of pressure and overwhelm as a right of passage. Quite often coupling this with a nice dose of self-doubt, and will do a great job of keeping you awake at night!
I’m not saying there’s a shortcut to being successful in your career. However, I believe it’s about owning your career rather than letting it own you. You can achieve your goals without pushing your happiness until each weekend, or your next holiday, or until the very important project is complete.
It’s a journey and one I wish I had started a lot sooner! Here are some of the best areas to explore to help your career and success be part of your whole, amazing life, not your entire life. Let me know how you get on!
Know who you are and what you want
Pressing pause regularly to connect to yourself and what’s important to you is a game-changer. This is not about having a 5-year career plan. It’s about knowing who you are, your values, and what you want out of your career and life.
When you’re clear on what you want, you will see an increase in your confidence levels, which will help you make better career decisions. This will enable you to walk towards opportunities that will help you grow and not just run from things that are new or challenging.
Know the value you bring
External validation can be a lovely thing – we are only human after all. In the workplace, we can find ourselves chasing after the praise from others, for delivering the seemingly unachievable project or in achieving that promotion.
So many of us seek this validation because we don’t recognise what we are capable of. We don’t feel confident enough asking for the things that would make our job more enjoyable or negotiating our worth, because deep down we feel like our employer is already doing us a favour!
My biggest promotion was a tough and drawn-out process and I doubted myself the whole time. I look back now and recognise it was always mine, I just couldn’t see it at the time because I was so worried about doing a good job for other people rather than recognising what a brilliant job I would do for them.
To start building a strong picture of your worth try writing out 20 reasons why you’re brilliant at your job, be specific, and use examples where you can.
Know your working style and utilise this
I lose track of the number of clients who tell me they feel they ‘have’ to work late because their boss does or colleagues do.
We often create this feeling that ‘I have to’ in our heads, and if you challenge your assumptions you might realise that you’re the only one who thinks sitting at your desk because you feel you should is a good idea!
I learned long ago that I work best in the mornings and everything takes longer in the evening! Once I got brave enough to finish when I was done it increased my ability to do a great job tenfold!
If you’re not sure what suits you best then try tracking for a week or two to see what sort of times and activities help you feel in flow. Use this to schedule chunks of time in your diary to support your working style. For example, I have time to think and strategise, to be creative, and to complete actions from any meetings. Don’t forget to schedule breaks and when you’d like your working day to end.
There will always be meetings you need to attend or things that your boss needs right now. But if you are clear on what your ideal week would look like you can do as much as possible to put this into play. This will help you be more productive and ultimately reduce stress and overwhelm as you’ll finish your days and week feeling like you’ve achieved more.
Connect with Jeni on IG: @jeni_carroll_coaching