To get, and thrive in, your dream career, you need three things:
self-awareness: knowing what makes you happy, what drags you down, areas of strength and areas for growth;
self-empowerment: having an internal cheerleader (rather than an inner critic) and overcoming those limiting belief
self-fulfilment: having a PLAN! Knowing what you want to achieve, and how to get there - with balance, and without stress.
Over the last few weeks my blog has covered Pillars one and two, and today it’s the turn of the third Pillar, self-fulfilment.
Why you need to dream BIG
We all know:
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
But if you don’t even have a goal, you are just travelling blind, with no idea of where you’re going.
This is not an effective way to get the career of your dreams!
So it’s vitally important that we work together to help you clarify your end goal:
where do you ultimately want to get to in your career? 🤔
Too often that critical Imposter voice in our heads (as discussed last week) kills these seeds of ambition before they have time to sprout.
But once you’re freed of that voice, you can allow yourself to dream BIG.
And that is the first step.
I have a portfolio of tools and techniques I use to help you with this, honed during the last two years of helping people define their ideal future career.
For example, my guided career visualisation which is extremely powerful: it bypasses your logical (and sometimes critical) mind to tap directly into your unconscious, and ask it what the answer is.
So often this is the first time clients are giving themselves permission to listen to that voice inside them - and it is incredibly enlightening, once they do… 💖
Then, once we’ve got that end goal, we can work to reverse engineer it to help you get there.
How you create a Plan
There are a number of different ways I can help you plan to get your desired career, but I will describe one exercise here: gap analysis.
Once you have tackled that Imposter voice, and have the confidence to go for your dreams…
🔶 Find a job description for your dream role that you will have achieved by the end of your career.
🔶 Break it down: what kinds of skills and experience does that you in the future, doing that job, have, and to what level?
🔶 Then compare: how far do you currently fit these right now? Where are your major areas of fit, and the major gaps?
🔶 Finally, plot how to fill those gaps.
If that future career you is expert in a particular knowledge area, how are you going to get that? Through study, through particular roles?
If that future career you is a highly-experienced manager of large teams, how are you going to be able to demonstrate you can do that? Which roles do you need to undertake as stepping stones to get you to your desired end career?
Once you look at this systematically, it makes career planning so much easier!
It is so important that you have tapped into your Naked Confidence™ before you do this exercise.
Without that, you will doubt your abilities, see the gaps as being MUCH bigger than they are, and refuse to believe that you can find ways to plug them.
I describe it to clients as like looking in a Fun House Mirror.
The picture you see will be severely distorted by your Imposter Syndrome, so you won’t get a true reflection of your skills and abilities.
But once you have banished that Imposter and built your Naked Confidence™ through our work in the first two pillars, you are ready to accurately reflect on yourself and your skills, and plan for your dream future!
How to work "with the grain" to deliver your Plan
Defining a goal and making a plan is only part of the equation. Being able to DELIVER that plan is crucial.
I have worked extensively with clients helping them do this.
I help clients understand their natural tendencies when it comes to productivity and efficiency, and then to plan their work delivery using these (rather than fighting against them to try to become something they’re not).
I call this “working with the grain”.
Anyone can become efficient and effective: the power of neuroplasticity means you can create new neural pathways to help you achieve anything.
But you will also find it easier to create and sustain these new habits if they are comfortable for you, rather than a stretch.
So for example, one priority I work on is helping clients define their “Deep Work” time.
This is an incredibly powerful idea from Cal Newport (described in the book of that name).
In this modern knowledge economy, our value is shaped by the degree to which we can do quality thinking (what Newport calls “Deep Work”).
This requires sufficient blocks of time (you can’t do Deep Work in 20 minutes because you don’t have time to go “deep” enough); and it needs to be time without distraction (the ever-pinging inbox destroys your “deep” trains of thought).
This can be hard with Imposter Syndrome:
❌ you are so busy proving yourself to everyone else, that you don’t give yourself space to do this Deep Work.
❌ there is no obvious beneficiary: no boss, or deadline to respond to, so it’s very easy for it to get pushed to the bottom of the pile.
You’re too busy being perfectionist about a particular report; or staying late to go over figures because if you work harder than anyone else, no-one will find out…
But ultimately it’s up to us to carve out time to do this regularly.
(And once your Imposter is under control, this is much easier to do!)
And it’s also important to recognise the point in our day or week where we are most able to achieve it.
This optimum Deep Work time is different for different people:
🌙 for some it’s late at night;
☀️ for others (like me) it’s early in the morning (I discovered this at Oxford, when revising for my Finals).
For others, it’s when the mood takes them - but then they have to have sufficient flexibility in their diary to enable them to go deep when they have that inclination.
But the crucial thing is that you recognise your future success hinges on you being able to find the Deep Work time - and then taking action to make it happen.
Working "with the grain" of your natural patterns and preferences to make sure you are delivering at the highest level possible.
All of which is possible, once you’ve banished that Imposter and discovered your Naked Confidence™.
How to achieve Success Without Stress
Finally, a topic very close to my heart: how to achieve your dream career with balance and without stress.
After years of stress-related panic attacks and chronic fatigue, I know how dangerous stress and overwork can be.
And this is so common in people with Imposter Syndrome!
It’s a bit chicken and egg: which comes first, the stress, anxiety and overwork; or the Imposter Syndrome?
But the connectivity is evident: where you have one, you nearly always have the other.
So the first step is to neutralise your Imposter!
And that will make a big difference, reducing your incentive to overwork.
But there are still many actions you can take to ensure that you are managing your stress levels effectively.
(I’ve actually got an entire 30 day course to help you achieve “Success Without Stress”, which I make available to all my 1:1 clients for free.)
One important activity is to recognise your stress triggers.
I encourage all my clients to write a Stress Diary for one week, where you record moments of stress, their type and severity, and possible triggers. Knowledge is power!
Once you have this information, you can understand your stress and take steps to minimise it:
🌟 learning how to pre-emptively calm yourself,
🌟 re-organising your workload or diary to reduce particular stress triggers,
🌟 or learning powerful tools that will help you calm down in the moment.
(You can download a free version of this Diary here.)
I know, because of my own experience, that it is entirely possible to succeed at the highest levels without having to suffer with stress.
There is no point getting to your dream career to then find it tips you over into burnout.
Building your understanding of how you achieve balance, and boosting your resilience, is a crucial part of our work together.
And that’s it!
By the end of this work, you have:
✅ clarity on your goal
✅ a plan for how to get there
✅ understanding of how you can be successful, working “with the grain” of who you are
✅ and you will know how to achieve Success Without Stress.
How good does that sound?
Helping ambitious professional women achieve their career dreams is my mission in life 😍
You will benefit, your family will benefit, and the world will benefit from having more talented women in positions of power and influence.
Don’t let your Imposter hold you back.
If you follow my three Pillars:
you will banish that Imposter, and discover your Naked Confidence™ 💪
And you will thrive in that dream job with the salary to match 🔥
If you’d like to find out more about how my 1:1 Programme can help you, get in touch to arrange a free intro call, where you will experience my powerful tools and techniques for yourself.
Wishing you a Nakedly Confident week! 😊🔥💪
with love 💖