Knowing I’m turning 40 this year has forced me to do quite a bit of self reflection…have I achieved what I hoped to by this stage? am I on the right track? do I wish I had done things differently? Whilst there is a part of me that really wishes I had become a professional dancer and I really really have to let go of that dream now (no, I was not going to let lack of talent, drive or capability in this area rain on my dream)…overall, I’m really happy with the choices I’ve made that have led me to the place I am today…
So then I was thinking about little old innocent me, coming out of Uni with shiny big dreams about what the workforce would be like….boy did I have a LOT to learn. So if I had the opportunity to mentor younger me, what would older, wiser, smarter Claire say?
1. Focus on getting your strengths to shine
Claire, you are an amazing and talented person just waiting to soak up information like a sponge. Don’t try to make yourself something that you are not…trust me, you could waste YEARS trying to fix all your “weaknesses”. Do this VIA Strengths survey, find work which lets your top strengths shine, and be confident that your contribution is more than worthy.
2. See every challenge as an opportunity
You will be confronted with ALL sorts of challenges in your work life, they come in every form and don’t stop coming. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to evolve…if you didn’t have these challenges, you wouldn’t learn so much…so learn not to be afraid of obstacles in your path (constantly). You really rock PRAGMATIC OPTIMISM…always come back to it.
3. Don’t work so many hours
working longer does NOT, I repeat, does NOT = more productivity. Don’t wait until you have children to figure this one out. Making the time for things that fuel your fire and get you excited are so important. Don’t work so hard on the things that other people want. Work on the things that you want, and take regular breaks…you’re brain and body will thank you for it.
4. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”
You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, it doesn’t make you dumb or stupid.
5. Don’t be intimidated and compare yourself to others
Kinda feeds off the last point, just because someone barges into a room like the own the world and know everything, doesn’t mean they do. Even if they talk down and demean you, remember that everyone has their strengths and moment to shine. Help each other, if one person is shining, stand in their light until you light up too. If they are not shining, stand further away.
6. Make time for work relationships, laugh and HAVE FUN
Work isn’t always fun, infact, it is easy to take it WAY too seriously. But it is possible to have fun and be highly productive, infact, your favourite and most inspiring roles have been exactly that. Don’t try to stop laughing in the office, even if everyone looks at you funny.
Oh my goodness, you need to watch this one. You have a tendency to stress to the max if you are not careful, so learn to take it way more slow. All of the above tips will help you to stay calm and in control. Walk slowly, think before you speak (OK, you might never be able to get control on that one) and don’t overthink things.
Remember, where ever you are, it’s exactly where you need to be right now…I guarantee it..you got this!