Hi friends! It’s Sunday evening and although this weekend has been a busy one, it’s also given me an opportunity to reset and relax after a crazy few weeks at work. As I vegged out on the couch earlier today, I was going over the events of the previous week and it got me thinking a lot about my career growth. I started making a list of some of the best pieces of advice that I’ve received from some incredible friends, family members, mentors and colleagues over the years — and I thought, why not share them with all of you lovely people!? But before we move into all of that, I wanted to answer a question I get all the time and that, truth be told, I’ve been wrestling with a lot this year:
When am I going to leave my 9-5 and make my blog/yoga teaching a full time gig?
The answer: not any time soon. And here’s why…
My career is important to me. I care about the work I do, I want to grow and become an “expert” in my field, and mostly I want to be given the opportunity to mentor others. Although I very much value my side hustles and get so much joy from blogging, connecting with people, working with brands and teaching yoga, I’ve come to realize that I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to my career in digital marketing. It’s not because I’m afraid to venture off on my own — but rather it’s because at the end of the day I enjoy what I do and I feel a sense of accomplishment from it. Corporate life may not be for everyone or seem like a dream come true (and trust me, there are plenty of things that aren’t ideal when you work full time), however I’ve slowly come to accept that the pros of continuing to grow within my career far exceed quitting and making my side hustles full time. I’m not saying that I’ll be working a corporate job forever, because eventually I do feel that teaching yoga, working on my blog and raising a family will eventually be my dream. And I’m very confident that when that day comes, I’ll know it and I’ll be ready to make that transition.
The reason why I give this background is because I know there are SO many of you who are looking to advance in your careers as well! That’s why I started my Girlboss Squad series earlier this year, and despite it’s mini hiatus right now, I’m planning to feature more strong, confident women who are seemingly “doing it all” and who serve as a source of inspiration.
In the meantime, I wanted to share seven of the best pieces of advice that have helped me tremendously over the course of my career. They’ve come from many different people across various fields, so no matter what it is you do for a living, I’m hoping you’ll find at least a few of these to be very applicable and that they will help you as much as they’ve helped me!
Be Like A Duck
Seems silly, but this is probably one of my fav tips I’ve ever received. It’s all about how you appear in the eyes of your colleagues — like a duck, you should be calm on the surface even if there is a whirlwind of activity going on underneath. The most effective managers and leaders typically make this their bread and butter. Being able to handle stressful situations with grace and positivity can go a LONG way in keeping yourself and your team motivated. The more high strung and stressed you appear, the more that negative energy spreads to everyone else around you… and suddenly your entire team is completely stressed out. I’ve always really appreciated and turned to leaders who can stay calm under pressure. They’re the ones that I want to work with and who truly make me feel like anything is possible.
Say Yes To More Things
Of course it’s important to say no when something is negatively impacting your health, however I find that when it comes to your career, you should try to find more opportunities to say yes whenever you can. Especially when someone is asking you to do something you’re afraid of or don’t typically like to do. Saying yes leads to two very important things: 1) people see you as reliable 2) you’ll push yourself out of your comfort zone and in the process learn so much more from it.
Value Experience Over Titles
Titles, especially in the marketing world, mean nothing. The sooner you can come to terms with that the better… and to be honest, I still struggle with this one. I’m not saying that titles aren’t important and that you shouldn’t have a title that reflects the work you do, but what I’ve found is that titles vary depending on where you work, and just because you have a “director” or “senior” title, may not actually mean you have the experience that coincides with it. At the end of the day, it’s your experience that matters. It’s so easy to get caught up in the name that’s on your resume but there’s nothing worse than climbing the ladder “too quickly” and receiving a high level position that you aren’t actually qualified for.
Have Empathy And Exercise Humility
In short, be kind to everyone. No one likes a know it all, no one likes a bully, and no one likes someone who can’t give credit where credit is due. Listen to your colleagues and be there for them when they are going through a difficult time or are having trouble with certain tasks. Instead of getting frustrated, hear people out and never ever make people feel like their opinions or time aren’t worthwhile.
Don’t Be Afraid To Have A Strong POV And Own It
You’re paid to have an opinion and you should be confident enough to speak to it. Don’t be afraid to speak up at meetings or work sessions and come to the table with a strong point of view. Trust me, people will respect you more for it and want to hear what you have to say. Of course, it’s important not to take this to the extreme. Your opinion should always be flexible. So always be tactful, courteous, open to hearing other people’s point of view, and willing to change your opinion accordingly.
Dress For The Job You Want, Not The One You Have
As most of you know, I’m totally a fan of workleisure and am guilty of wearing chic yoga pants to work. However, that being said, I do think it’s important to look put together and always strive to “dress for success.” If you work in a casual office (like I do) it’s tempting to just roll out of bed, ditch the makeup and throw on some sweatpants, so it’s important to motivate yourself to put a little more effort in to your appearance. People are pretty quick to judge and honestly, putting an effort into the way you dress is one way to show that you value the work you’re doing. It also helps with the whole “be like a duck” tip — super put together on the outside, even if you feel differently on the inside.
You’re Only As Good As The People Under You
As you continue to advance in your career, you’ll most likely find yourself in charge of a few direct reports and eventually an entire team. I think the biggest difference I’ve noticed in good and bad leadership all rests in how they treat the people under them. Good leaders never let their egos get in the way because they understand that they’re accountable for the growth and development of their team. The best mentors truly care about the people who report to them and they want nothing more than to see them succeed.
I hope you found this to be helpful and can walk away with something tangible to apply to your own career! I’m so appreciative of the people who have given their advice to me and I know that this list will only get longer over time. If you have any amazing career tips that you’d like to share please leave it in the comments below!
Thanks for reading and I hope you have an amazing week.
All photos by Falcon Griffith Photography