Yesterday, I was forced to slow down and focus entirely on my daughter who was not feeling well. It’s always great to have an excuse to just take it easy and turn off all the other work, and at the same time, sad that these are the kinds of occasions for which we take time to do so. So as I sat in my comfy chair resting with her, I poured through my newest issue of Working Mother.
In the article, Score Your Dream Job, I found a paragraph that was so very applicable to all of our lives. Now, I am nowhere near looking for a new job. I like the corporate job I have and at the same time, I’m working part time on one of the greatest business opportunities that may ever cross my path in my lifetime. But this excerpt from the article is true of so many women I know. Women who are intelligent and witty and great relationship builders and networkers and creative and all the things that go into being successful. Yet they are so unsure of themselves! So I’m going to stop here and let this article do the talking.
Read this if you are trying to make the next sale, trying to build your direct sales team, aiming for a promotion, looking for a new job, or just feeling like you’re not being effective in your current job.
If you want people to believe in you, first you have to believe in yourself. Pour yourself a cup of tea (or a martini), get comfortable and write down all your accomplishments. Seeing right there in black and white how capable you are just might motivate you to take the leap, whether that means making a strategic move in the same industry or jumping to another field entirely. A teacher, for example, may have excellent managerial skills from years of keeping a room full of first graders on task. A marketing manager may have what it takes to run a nonprofit because she can raise funds by highlighting the organization’s strengths.
Focus on what you have to offer, not on what you don’t.
Include any volunteer or community work you’ve been doing— or even the coordination it takes to get everyone in the family where they’re going on a tight schedule.To get the job you want, you need to conquer your insecurities, transform your thinking, tailor your behavior and demand the professional recognition you deserve, says Rebecca Shambaugh, author of It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor. “It’s incumbent on women to look beneath their own feet to see what behaviors, assumptions or beliefs they have that may be self-limiting or keeping them from achieving their own career goals,” she says. Gaps in your skills set? Fill them in. Take courses at a local college or online university and immerse yourself in the world you want to join. Attend conferences; speak with others in the field; check the Web and read trade journals. Find a mentor who’s doing a job similar to what you’d like to do, suggests Shambaugh. “If you want to be CFO of your organization and you’re not quite there, find a mentor and ask her what she did to get there,” she says. “Set up an action plan. You’ll be shocked by how empowered you feel.”
If you’ve been out of the workforce for a while caring for your children, don’t apologize. “Recognize yourself as a competent professional instead of wasting time explaining an absence from work,” says Michelle Tillis Lederman, founder of Executive Essentials in New York City, which provides executive and career coaching. “If you come from a place of insecurity, it translates that way.”
Upgrade your identity
Now that you’re brimming with confidence, you have to visualize yourself in your new job. For instance, if you’re in the No. 2 slot aiming for the No. 1 position, you have to start thinking and acting like a leader so that the world starts seeing you differently as well.
“There are parts of your identity you’ve just accepted from childhood and take into adulthood,” says Mary Lynne Heldmann, an executive and team coach and author of When Words Hurt: How to Keep Criticism from Undermining Your Self-Esteem. “Identity becomes destiny if you keep looking at yourself that way.” Take an inventory of everything you believe about yourself—both good and bad. It’s likely that many of those beliefs are limiting, such as I am not very organized or I could never be the CEO of a successful business. “You need to challenge each and every item on the list,” says Heldmann. “Limiting beliefs aren’t reality. They’re just something that we make up. So why not change that to beliefs that work for us?”
While you need to ground your intentions in reality, you don’t want to limit your goals or become tied to a specific outcome. Your new way of thinking may lead you into something completely different from what you’d originally envisioned—but just as rewarding. “As you get clearer and clearer about the future you intend and you keep connecting to it,” Heldmann says, “you actually move closer and closer to its becoming a reality. I’ve seen so many lives change for the better simply because people created a new belief system.”
I believe in YOU. Me, Lori Mercer. I may not even know you personally. Do you know why I believe in you? Because you are taking the time to read this blog post. It’s not “the man keeping you down!” as some people like to quote. Look inside. What is it in ourselves that’s holding us back? And when is the last time you heard someone say they believe in you? I’d love to hear your feedback and I’d love to be the person in your life who believes in you.