A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Technology Leadership Academy ran by everywomen (if you are interested the event info is here). It was great to take a day out to focus specifically on personal development, the day focused on “re-inventing” ourselves, we know that business is changing but we are failing to change with it. There were a number of really interesting and inspirational panelists and speakers that provided career advice specifically aimed at women. I took a lot away from the day and here are some of the key points that really resonated with me.
There were many tips shared and advice given throughout the day but the point that was continually repeated by all the speakers was…
You need to own your career, be clear about what you want and seek help/guidance to get there!
Although it seems like obvious advice there were comments made about how women don’t tend to be loud & clear about what they want – management can’t read your mind so if a new role were to come up that suited you they wouldn’t immediately think of you. For me personally I literally have no idea where I see myself in 5 yrs, i’m not concerned though, i’m still very early on in my career and want to learn as much as I can. This was reinforced during one of the sessions where there was a discussion about expanding knowledge and gaining experience in different areas as this will make a difference when it comes to progression.
Getting out of your Comfort Zone… but what is this? and how?
There was also a constant reminder about the need to get out of your comfort zone! Everyone had a different view about what this really meant but one description stood out the most…
It’s that feeling you get in your stomach when your nervous, your doing something for the first time, your challenging yourself, your constantly reminding yourself that you might fail! Ignore and STEP OUT of your comfort zone!
I thought this was a great explanation and actually I realized I feel like this a lot at work… IT is an area with constant change, there are new announcements made every week (if not day!) so i’m constantly talking about or presenting something new for the first time… but is this truly coming out of my comfort zone? Probably not, it’s my job after all! So this made me think again… I guess when I spot an opportunity to do something different or outside of my core role rather than just ignoring it I need to push myself to just have a go. The most difficult thing is thinking I might fail or make a mistake! How do you get out of your comfort zone? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and advice.
Another quote that really caught my attention was …
Your never ready for a role, step out of your comfort zone and have faith that it will work out along the way
There was an interesting discussion about how women look at a job spec and would only apply if they meet nearly all the requirements whereas men would apply even if they only met 60-70% of the requirements. Maybe something to remember in my future career path… 🙂
Establishing your personal brand
What is your personal brand? My favorite quote of the day…
The final session of the day was presented by Jennifer Holloway; she ran a very inspirational session talking about how to promote yourself and establish your personal brand. There were some very obvious but amusing tips… the easiest one to act on was changing my voicemail! Until now I always left it as the standard one but what does this say about me? Now when someone calls me they know they have reached the right person and greeted by a cheery voice 🙂
Another comment made was being aware of our communication styles particularly in emails, for example I often finished an email with “do not hesitate to contact me…” but the “not” brings negatively to the sentence, now I always finish with “please do get in touch” . Small things make a huge difference and it certainly has made me think twice about what i say/write.
How we look, what we say, how we act… scary to think how i’m being read or “judged” everyday but after all it is natural and as long as we are aware of the impact we are having we can shape it as we want to.