“Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.” – Sheryl Sandberg
As women, we face both opportunity and adversity in our careers. With the ever-present conversation of gender equality in corporate America, women are making modest strides but there is still so much work to be done. We are intelligent, we are resilient, and we are strong and yet to date, we have note been able to collectively leverage these attributes to push forward on this quest to even the playing field. How we do that could be as simple as asking ourselves these three simple questions and taking the initiative to change things if we do not like our answers.
- Do you feel you’re appropriately rewarded for your contributions?
- Are your ideas being heard and supported?
- Are you where you hoped to be in your career?
If you answered yes to these questions, great for you! You are likely living the dream and you have figured out precisely how to create the right career strategy and roadmap to get you to where you want to be. If you answered no to any of these questions, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate your career trajectory. At the end of the day, it is all about putting in the effort and advocating on your own behalf. If you don’t then who will?
Recently, we met up with Janet Wigfield, Vice President and Executive Director at Working Mother Media to chat about what it looks like to get as much out of your career as you’re putting into it. In her role, Janet is responsible for orchestrating large-scale events for professional women across the country. She’s heard their stories and she knows her own. Throughout her own career, Janet’s realized one thing – working hard is just one small part of the whole picture. While working hard and putting in the time is a great foundation for a successful career, no one is going to just hand you anything. You need to strategically ask for what you want and show your superiors that you’ve got what it takes. Based on her own experience, Janet shares 5 ways you can start taking control of your career, as soon as tomorrow.
- Create meaningful and genuine relationships.
- Make yourself visible (seen and heard) within your organization.
- Find a mentor or sponsor that can share wisdom and guidance and act as a sounding board for big decisions.
- Compromise, negotiate and come up with a plan if you can’t get everything you want right now. It may take a while but it will come if you are persistent.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Take risks. Ask to be involved in the next big project or assignment.
The road to success may not always come easy but if you are going to get what you want out of life and your career, you must take initiative and advocate on your own behalf.
What are you doing to advocate for yourself?
Vice President and Executive Director, Conferences + Events, Working Mother Media