1. Network. The old saying “it is not what you know, but who you know,” has some validity. LinkedIn is a powerful tool to use to keep in touch and build your network. The first three things to make sure you do is to create a solid profile, connect to your peers and colleagues, and be active by posting, sharing, and liking content. The more you give, the more you will receive. For example, giving endorsements and reviews are helpful to others and give you more reach. To learn more, read this article, “12 Common Ways You Are Using LinkedIn Incorrectly.”
2. Create Clarity. Great leaders consistently create and communicate with clarity. Think of the exceptional leaders you know. Are their plans and purpose murky or clear? How do leaders gain such powerful clarity? As a leader, I have achieved clarity by taking time for myself and staying inspired. When we take time to nourish ourselves, we have greater capacity to see the big picture, allowing us to make wiser decisions and plan more effectively. I was recently working with my mentee when she said she was going to write a big master plan for her career advancement. For a few months, I allowed her to use this strategy. One day, when she was not making progress and feeling frustrated, I asked her these simple questions, “What are you doing that inspires you each day? What did you used to love to do?” After taking time for herself and painting for inspiration, my mentee was able to create clarity around her career progression. She was very surprised that the creative space was what brought clarity, not her master plan. I have found this to be the case as well. I rarely find the answers when sitting in front of my computer, it is when I get outside to move that the answers come to me about complex issues.
3. Communicate Effectively. As you find the answers and the clarity on what you want in your career, it is your responsibility to communicate your desires to your manager. Taking accountability for your career will take you far. For instance, my mentee got clear on wanting to work more on strategic initiatives. I encouraged her to go to her boss and tell her. Because her boss knows that is her passion, she is now allowing her to work on those special projects. If you find yourself complaining or not feeling inspired, go back to strategy two of creating clarity for what you want. And then take accountability for how to achieve your goals.
4. Find Mentors and Coaches. Having strong mentors that are not in your current organization is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. I found myself stagnated in my career until I invested in coaches and found a few steady mentors to help guide me along the way. Many times, it is hard to see your blind spots when you are in the thick of the moment. For instance, this summer, I was working with the famous life coach, Cheryl Richardson, who was featured on Oprah. She said, “you need to take items off your plate, so you can have time to focus on the more strategic items.” I was so busy in the day-to-day minutia that I did not realize I needed to delegate to move forward. For the first time in 13 years, I took a well-needed unplugged vacation. Work moved forward, my people were more empowered, and I am now doing the work I truly desire.
As you begin your professional life or start a new chapter in your career, choose strategies that will aid in your successful career progression. Take the space to reflect instead of plan. Ask yourself creative questions designed to show solutions that are personal to you. Reflect on leaders that inspire you. Which of their qualities stand out to you and resonate with how you want to be as you move forward? Use these answers as inspirational stepping stones as you embark on your new or improved career path. Be inspired!
If you are looking for that internal spark of inspiration, I am happy to assist you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.