In the past ten years of coaching and training professional women, entrepreneurs, and emerging leaders, I’ve had a window into the lives of women who are dreaming big and wanting more, and getting it. Through this lens, I’ve observed several key actions and behaviors that continually pave the way for greater success and expansion. I’ve also witnessed and experienced behaviors and beliefs that sabotage success, and guarantee failure.
No matter what your professional goals and visions are, there are six core actions that will support you to achieve greater success and fulfillment over the long arch of your professional life. These actions will help you understand what you truly want to be in life, take the right action to build your desired professional identity, and get the support you need to sustain you through the tough times.
The top 6 actions to take to achieve the success and fulfillment you want in your career are:
1. Gaining Clarity
Bar none, this is the most important action if you want to achieve anything significant in life. You must understand exactly what you want and what matters most to you – what you’ll give up everything for. It can’t be some vague, nebulous notion like “I want to do something meaningful” or “I want to make a difference.” That’s a great start, but you need to drill down deep and peel the layers to understand what “meaningful” signifies to you, personally and specifically.
The reason so many people fail today to create fulfilling and exciting careers is that they simply won’t do the inner and outer work to determine how best to “connect the dots” – to uncover their unique talents, skills, and passions, and find the right career fit that will draw on those talents and passions. They also won’t do the work to see how they are contributing to and co-creating their problems and challenges. As I learned in my marriage and family therapy training, “greater awareness equals greater choice.” Successful professionals commit to increasing their awareness of who they long to be in the world, how they want to be of service, uniquely, and what’s in the way. When you’re clear about that, and believe you’re worthy of your visions, doors will open and new opportunities for your growth will emerge.
2. Transforming Desperation Into Inspiration
Today, I had a great conversation with a new colleague Vanessa McGovern of Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs who shared a concept she heard from Jairek Robbins that we must learn how to “turn our desperation into inspiration.” This is a vitally important endeavor – to move away from feeling desperate, victimized and out of control in the face of your professional challenges. The key is to learn how to be more accountable, responsible and capable – viewing what’s happening as a way for you to learn and grow. So many entrepreneurial and business women come to me sharing their stories of woe about the unfair positions they’re in (due to the economy, a toxic boss, a crushing political situation, etc.) and they’re not able to see the powerful lessons that their life is trying to teach them. If you break yourself against what is, and resist it, rather than using it to help you be all you can be, you’ll not achieve the success you deserve and long for. Find a way to turn your desperation into inspiration for change, growth and success.
3. Enforcing Your Boundaries
Once you know what you want, you have to be strong enough to protect your boundaries, honor your priorities, and communicate what’s necessary to succeed and grow. I know hundreds of brilliant, accomplished women who know what they want to achieve, but when push comes to shove, they won’t power up and stand up for what they want. In short, they cave. There are many well-researched and documented factors that contribute to this “caving” behavior, but whatever the reasons, women need to overcome their insecurities and fears, and feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness, and learn to be strong enough to stand up for what they need and want, and ask for it.