Achieving your career goals is an accomplishment that everyone has the potential to unlock through hard work and passion. But professional success is often unstable.
Believe me, I learned this lesson the hard way.
A decade ago, I directed an award winning events business. However, financial betrayal by my ex-husband meant that I not only lost my marriage, but also my business. With it went my financial security: I was hounded by debt collectors and forced to declare bankruptcy.
In subsequent years, I recovered financially by climbing the corporate ladder as a management and marketing consultant for global IT companies. I also used my life experience to create a social assistance organisation that helps women through life changing events.
In short, I’ve gone from professional success, to struggle, back to stability and satisfaction again.
This rollercoaster has opened my eyes to four kinds of support essential for career growth as well as professional resilience when life sends you a curveball.
Support of a team
Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or one of thousands employed by Google, you will need the support of a team to sustain and enhance your career direction.
I am a big believer in sticking to your knitting. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses – it is important to build a network of professionals who complement your talents and make up for what you lack. It doesn’t make sense to spend hours creating a sub-standard logo when you are a writer by trade. Outsource the job to a professional designer who can produce a higher quality image at a reasonable cost, and focus your energy where it is most valuable.
Working with a strong professional support network will not only enhance your efficiency, but also your creativity. Being part of a team will expose you to different perspectives and give you the opportunity to bounce ideas off others to refine a concept. With the support of a team, you can turn a good idea into a great result.
Support of a mentor
A mentor offers advice and understanding from a position of experience: they have walked a day in your shoes. Gaining an expert’s perspective will help you to see projects through the eyes of a seasoned professional, allowing you to improve the quality of your work and gain insight into the requirements for success in your field.
A mentor can act as a sounding board for your ideas and open your mind to possibilities that you may have otherwise overlooked. They can also point you in a new direction if you start to fall off track.
A mentor will support your network by connecting you with the right people at the right time, and will teach you how to form and maintain strong professional relationships within your industry.
Most significantly, the support of a mentor will give you confidence and belief in your own ability to achieve your professional ambition.
Support of your loved ones
Regardless of your career goals, it is important to maintain a distinction between your work and personal life to avoid burnout.
The support of loved ones will provide you with the motivation to aim high, but also give you a soft place to fall when you need to unwind. If you suffer a professional blow by missing out on a promotion or losing your job, they will be there to remind you that there is more to life than work and money.
Keep in mind that your loved ones don’t necessarily have to agree with every career move you make to be supportive. Some of the most important people in my life advised me against starting Clarity Road.
I did it anyway and haven’t looked back – and those very same people have been my biggest cheerleaders every step of the way.
Ultimately, the best personal supporters will be unafraid to voice their opinion, but will back you up regardless of your career mistakes and milestones.
Support of yourself
We are often our own harshest critics. Believe in your own ability to hit targets and forge new ground. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to go against the grain. In the end, you are the only person who truly has the power to unlock your career potential.
Equally significant to self-belief is self-care. All of the inspiration in the world will be futile if you are physically unable to maintain your work rate. Create a routine that emphasises balance between work, rest and play. Be wary of burnout and recognise that you can’t run on all cylinders constantly: give yourself permission to indulge in down time.
The most important form of support you require to find career satisfaction ultimately comes from within.
In my view, career success is made up of equal parts individual effort and solid support.
By tapping into the four fundamental support networks you will power your potential and propel your professional purpose.
WORDS BY JULIE RAINBOW. Julie is a freelance management and marketing consultant but her passion for empowering women has led Julie to refocus her professional direction and create Clarity Road (www.clarityroad.com.au). Julie uses her business knowledge and life experience to direct this organisation, which is dedicated to helping women through life changing events.
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