For much of my corporate working life, I did not feel confident about my career. My lack of confidence was something that came up time and again in my career development discussions. When I finally chose to launch my business, I still did not feel confident about my career or myself.
In that moment, I was living on a wing and a prayer. I hoped my hard work, persistence, and self-belief would triumph over my concerns about taking a big risk in the face of, let’s face it, global uncertainty.
A few years on and while some things are much easier now, my business is still developing and evolving. I’m not going to sugar-coat it… every single day is still a challenge. Both myself, and my business, are a work-in-progress.
I stumble, I make mistakes and there are days where I’m overwhelmed and exhausted. But I never, ever complain about what I do. I work with the most amazing people. I’m thrilled when I see my clients achieving things they didn’t believe they could. I make decisions and take immediate action. I choose when, where and how much I work.
And, even though things are not “perfect”, I feel confident about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. Can you say that about your career?
What’s holding you back from achieving the career of your dreams?
I mean… something’s in your way, isn’t it?
You may be doubting your skills or think you’re not good enough to do new things. Or you’ve convinced yourself what you’ve got now suits your lifestyle and you’ll never find anything equivalent? Or you’ve heard it’s a tough recruitment market.
Let me be blunt… these are all excuses. While elements of all of these might be true, so too is the opposite of each of these statements.
Imagine how you’d feel if you believed you’ve got valuable and transferable skills. If you feel you’re good enough to make a change. If you know you’re resilient so you’ll adapt to any impact on your lifestyle. Yes, it might be a tough market and roles to suit your lifestyle might take some effort to find. But I promise you there are hundreds of others out there who’ve achieved the exact working life you want. If they can do it, so can you.
I’m not saying it’s easy… it takes time, effort and commitment. I know, because I’ve done it. I spent a large chunk of my corporate career wishing I was doing something else. It took me a long time and lots of false starts to find my way to a career I love. But I’ve learnt the lessons and developed a framework that involves far less wasted effort than the path I took.
How to feel confident in your career
1. KNOW YOUR VALUE
Every single individual has their own unique professional value… yes, even you. Others may have similar skills, qualifications or experience as you. But those generic characteristics combined with your personality, beliefs, preferences and motivations makes you unique. There’s no-one else exactly like you. In the words of Dr Seuss, “there is no one alive who is youer than you”. So start by identifying who you are and what sets you apart from others with the same skills and qualifications.
2. IDENTIFY WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
There’s a much used quote that goes something like – “if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll definitely get there”. This is especially true when it comes to your career. Knowing where you think you’d like to end up gives you a target to aim for. Don’t worry… it doesn’t need to be set in stone and you can change your mind as you progress. But you need to have some idea of where you’re going. And keep this top of mind when you’re making career choices.
3. FILTER AND PRIORITISE
So, you’re clear about the unique value you bring to any workplace. You know what’s important to you about how, why and where you work. It’s time to start looking at your options and making some decisions. This starts with an unlimited brainstorm of anything and everything you’ve ever considered for your career or working life. Then you apply a number of filters over this list to confidently choose the right opportunities to explore further.
4. CREATE YOUR CAREER STORY
I know the term “personal brand” seems like another trendy buzzword. And the thought of having to actually do it probably feels a bit icky. But the truth is, others are going to create stories about you whether you like it or not. So, you’ll be much better placed if you take control and create the story you want to tell. Developing your personal brand in a way that showcases what you want, what you stand for and what value you provide ensures you’re well positioned to find and be offered the right types of opportunities.
5. TIME TO TAKE ACTION
Stop worrying about finding the “perfect” solution and waiting until you know enough or have more time. It’s time to get out there, to explore, learn more and refine your options and strategy. You don’t need to have all the steps mapped out before you get started. Preparation is the new planning and you’re already armed with everything you need to take the first few steps. The next steps will reveal themselves as you progress. Any big leap is just a series of small steps.
How much is it worth to you to feel confident about your career? To design a career you love… on your own terms? Isn’t it time you figured out what’s keeping you feeling stuck, frustrated or bored in your working life? If you need help building a career aligned to your values, I’d love to help you work it out.