“I have no choice.”
I have heard this statement from so many executives in the last 12 months. It is a statement that perfectly describes just how so many leaders are feeling right now.
The words are full of emotion. Fear that there are no job opportunities. Feeling the weight of expectation on their shoulders. Worry about the financial implications and their financial security. Doubt in the uncertain future created by the pandemic. Helplessness that there is no more choice in their career. Surrender that they will not achieve their career goal.
I am here to tell you. You do have a choice.
The pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the corporate world. But it does not mean that you can not continue to accelerate your career. How and when you choose to accelerate your career is completely in your hands. It is up to you to take the steps and make things happen. There will always be something happening in the world whether that be politics, the economy, health, or other life-changing events. Regardless of the situation, it should never stop you from making the necessary steps in your career so you can achieve your career goal.
To accelerate your career towards your ultimate career goal, you need to get noticed by either your current company, other employers, your networks, or head-hunters. Getting noticed will increase the number of job opportunities that will be presented to you giving you the choices of the career defining job positions.
Accelerating your career is not a one-off action. It is something to incorporate every day.
There are 10 ways you can still accelerate your career even during the pandemic:
1. Be aware of your personal brand
An impression will be made from every conversation, activity, and communication you have with a colleague, leader, competitor, or customer. It is this impression that will create your reputation in the market. If you are not sure of what your personal brand is, take the time to create one.
2. Be the best you can be
Everyday try your hardest. It is not about working long hours; it is about being productive in the hours you work. Your effort and focus will be noticed.
3. Be effective
Clarify what skills are needed to do your job well and refine them. Being effective in your methodology is as important as the outcomes you achieve.
4. Measure your success
Understand the methodology that underpins you doing your job well and monitor how you do that on a weekly basis. Measuring your success keeps you focused on the right activities.
5. Focus on outcomes
Focus on the outcomes that you are being measured on, not just looking busy. It is the outcomes that deliver results, and it is the results that make you successful.
6. Ask for feedback
Feedback is important to learn and improve. Without feedback you cannot grow to your full potential. Proactively ask for feedback from employees, peers, board members or other executive leaders, your networks, and customers.
Attentively listen to people. By listening you learn and become more effective. Listening is also a strong indicator of your communication style and abilities.
Constantly read, watch, and learn. Courses, social media, newspapers, books, customers, colleagues, all have insight that will add value to your knowledge.
9. Focus on your career goal
Remind yourself of why you want to accelerate your career and where you are accelerating it to. This clarity keeps you focused and committed to the right activities.
Build relationships with current and former colleagues and leaders. Engage with your customers regularly. Make the effort to have a meaningful conversation on a regular basis to build and nurture strong networks.
Your career is just that, it is yours. Before you consider the thought that the pandemic has left you with no choice, think again. I can tell you with confidence that you do have a choice. By taking one or all these steps you will make significant strides towards your career goal.
So, when people say to me, “I have no choice” my response is the same to each of them…accelerating your career is not a one-off action. It is something to incorporate every day.