A couple of months ago I had a conversation that stopped me in my tracks.
It came at a time that I was questioning my path in life, and what direction I wanted to take my career. And everything became clearer.
I was having a lovely dinner with a good friend, and the conversation lead to the new role she was starting… it is a well-deserved promotion at a great company and she will absolutely nail it. However underpinning the excitement was that all too familiar nervousness of the yet to be explored elements of a new job; the boss, the team, the challenges, the culture, and being unproven.
I provided my friend with a handful of tips and advice to help offset the nerves…
1) Read the The First 90 Days by Michael D Watkins for a structured approach to a new transition – strategy, stakeholders, culture.
2) Watch Amy Cuddy’s Your body language shapes who you are TED talk for an always needed confidence boost.
3) Get familiar with ‘Manager Tools’ podcasts whenever you get stuck on something new (PS. Listen to it a 1.5 speed – Mark and Mike know how to talk!)
4) Feel like your best self and talk to an image consultant – they can help you build your style and a confidence inducing wardrobe.
And then the conversation turned to me.
I talked about my own career and a decision I needed to make about what direction I wanted to take. I have taken a few calculated risks lately, and my next role would help consolidate my skillset and experiences. I was doing all the right things. I had my pros and cons list of how I add value and what I enjoy. I had scoured the company and the market for roles that piqued my interest. I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. And I knew the boundaries I would uphold to maintain my work/life balance.
My friend asked me some questions… she could sense my uncertainty. She helped me link the joy I had helping her earlier with her career to a future opportunity for me. It became extremely obvious. I had not given enough weight to my love of helping people grow… I am someone that is continually helping other people with their career and life decisions. I love it. I go out of my way to have these conversations. With friends, family, colleagues, direct reports, mentees, past team members. Some of my most satisfying moments are seeing people grow to be their best selves.
I was too focused on the capabilities I could learn, and did not consider how I could help others and positively impact them. I ended up making my decision balancing these two elements. And it was through a good friend’s questions that lead me to the right answer…