Our humble and accomplished panelists spoke eloquently about the career choices they made, and their leadership journey in the high tech world. They were a diverse panel, representing marketing, training, HR, and management, and they had various levels of education and background, from technical training to business degree. But they had many things in common: they embraced opportunities at every turn, and succeeded at many levels through many different kinds of work. They consciously made career choices, *and* they serendipitously accepted opportunities as they arose. Collectively, they share these kernels of wisdom to those of us seeking to be more agile with our career.
Know Yourself. Be confident and accepting of who you are.
1) Know yourself and what’s important to you, and make strategic decisions based on what you know about yourself. Recalibrate as your needs and interests will change, but always measure opportunities based on what’s important to you.
2) Double down on your strengths.
3) Have the confidence to reach for stars, even if you don’t feel quite qualified and ready to do something.
4) You don’t have to have a privileged background and the right education and money to make it to the top. You do have to do a great job and work well with others though, no matter what your background is.
5) Don’t judge yourself and put restrictions on yourself.
6) Question the restrictions and limitations others put on you too.
7) Surround yourself with people who believe in you, and help you believe in yourself.
8) Have the confidence to speak your mind, share your opinion, even if you think others around the table may be more qualified to opine.
Your career is a journey.
9) Your career, like life, is a journey: Learn from your mistakes; fail forward; don’t walk in the same river twice.
10) Choose to be self-sufficient and in charge of your own future.
11) Be strategic if and when you’d like to facilitate a career change. Do the research, ask questions, make connections, communicate your interest to others.
12) Wherever you next find yourself, you will find your way if you persevere, work hard, work smart, and are good with people.
13) Be clear about your motivations and intentions, and welcome the universe to provide you with serendipitous opportunities, while telling everyone you know what you want to do and why.
14) If you accept an opportunity which isn’t quite what you’re looking for, you may open up a whole new world of opportunities which might better fit your sweet spot.
15) Career change is often a multi-step process. Many people get frustrated that they can’t make the change they want in one foul swoop. Consider making one change at a time – either role or industry for example, pay your dues in that interim step, and plan for the longer term success of your career.
16) The more we support ourselves, the more that we support the others around us.
17) It’s always about the people. Know who helped you get to where you want to go and show your appreciation. Consciously help others also to succeed.
18) Believe in others around you, and offer the kind of unconditional love and acceptance which helps you yourself to succeed and change and grow.
19) Lean in, share your challenges, your power, your experience.
20) Give generously in ways that energize you yourself.
In the end, remember that your career is more a jungle gym than a ladder. You may go lateral and around in circles. It may not be plan-ful, but you can see the equipment as a way to maximize exposure, learning and growth, in order to benefit all that participate.
- Bolles, Richard, What Color Is Your Parachute? 2014: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
- Buckingham, Marcus, Coffman, Curt, First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
- Buckingham, Marcus, Coffman, Curt, Now Discover Your Strengths
- Rath, Tom, StrengthFinders 2.0
- Sandburg, Sheryl, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Please join us in thanking our generous hosts at Altera, and our speakers for FountainBlue’s March 21 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event on the topic of Agility – The Key to Building a Successful Career:
Facilitator Marsha Gastwirth, Wine Trail Escapes
Panelist Mercedes De Luca, Vice President & GM, eCommerce Sears Holdings Corporation
Panelist Jocelyn King, Head of Worldwide Corporate Marketing, Altera
Panelist Nancy Long, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hitachi
Panelist Tracy Meersman, Manager, Global Channel Learning, McAfee
Panelist Alexandra Shapiro, Senior Director, Small Business Marketing, PayPal