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Sitting, waiting, wishing: Why the time is now to get motivated for change

Louisa McClure dispenses sage wisdom about taking risks, not waiting, and giving things a go.

It’s 2018. We’re no longer in a society of having to wait for the landline phone to ring at home to tell us we’ve got the job on the 12th floor. No longer have to hang around the house, waiting for the courier to drop our contract off for a new gig. We don’t have to rely on the Wednesday paper to see the latest job.

Why? Because it’s on us to take charge of our careers, thanks to a bunch of digital advancements. Want to know the name of your CEO idol? LinkedIn. Want to know what stance the company has on ethical futures has? Instagram. Want to know what their customers really think about the five-star service they claim to have? Facebook.

We’re all busy people. However, my argument to people who say they’re always SO busy is that we all have 24 hours in the day, and it’s how we optimise that time and use it to our advantage. In a recent Women’s leadership summit I attended, the core theme was empowerment: taking a good hard look at how we spend our time, and also how we use others’. We tend to fall onto the back foot to rely on others to take our lives into their hands…but something to consider. If they’re ‘too busy’ to manage their own life, how on earth are they looking out for your best interests? Two words: take charge.

We’re flooded with opportunity. It’s literally spilling out all over the place around us. Meetups, networking groups, events held to help us take the next step, the list goes on. As much as our managers or employer is there to support us and help us grow, thinking about attending “extracurricular” activities (which include wine) are invaluable. Not only to extend your network, but to broaden your skills and think about adding a new layer to your job scope. If you take a look at job sites or chat to friends about what they’re doing in their roles now vs. five years ago… you may find that they’re doing a bunch of things which mould various roles into one. Digital and HR, risk and marketing, product ownership and innovation. You get the idea.

I often hear from other friends that they’re not given opportunities to learn and grow, or that there aren’t the career planning or progression tools in their organisations to help them move into a more senior position.  My feedback to that? No-one’s going to hold your hand, love. You got to make it happen yourself. Done a self-check on your personal brand lately? In a recent article from Fast Company, a guy managed to pitch himself in a get a job with Amazon. Great, good for him, you’re thinking. Well, the job didn’t exist. Get my drift on the taking charge of your own path?

We all have a backlog of work to do, people to please and lunches to have. But how about using 20 minutes of your day to plan for you. If you have a good idea, and it’s got nothing to do with your role…contact someone in your organisation who can work with you to make it happen? Why? This will help to broaden your network, grow your profile or leverage your skills into a new area. I work in a team of over 270 people, and my core focus is raising the profile of what our team does.

When we attend conferences and hear someone inspiring speak, often our first thought is “one day that could be me.” So, make this happen! Contact the head of strategic projects or CMO to seek their advice on how to get there. Too intimidating? They’re just people too. As are celebrities, FYI. How about completing a free course from a bunch of well-known places of academics such as Harvard, Berkeley or the University of British Columbia.

Another rule of mine: if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Over the past two months, I attended two workshops to the value of $5,000 – for zero cost. How? By simply putting my name in the hat, so to speak. I contacted the speakers EA, introduced myself and requested a comp ticket. We often think that it’s too much hard work, and the feeling of rejection might feel like we’ve landed onto rural New Zealand gravel – but the reality is, we will get setbacks. Pick yourself up and dust that new dress off you bought on sale from The Iconic. You are one of a kind, and in that; be kind and recognise the skills you do have to propel yourself. Be it up, sideways or into a new universe. 

Louisa is a creative thinker and ideas woman. She spends her time coming up with new ways to engage people with the future of digital, wrangling a small child, and juggling life admin.

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