Mindset Is Everything
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, mindset is KEY. Well, I want to take this a step further by saying mindset is Everything! Honestly, your thoughts about life, relationships, work, etc. affect how you experience life, relationships, work etc. This can affect the choices made available to you and the decisions that you inevitably make.
As I look back on my career journey, there were some key mindset shifts that I made. These key shifts allowed me to change my career trajectory. I’ve written this blog post as a way for me to document those mindset shifts. As well as the process I took towards change.
1. I Was Made Redundant
I remember being filled with fear when I realised I was being made redundant. Being made redundant was a terrifying experience for me. Especially because at the time I was 7 months pregnant with no backup plan. After a few days of worrying and crying, I decided I would use this opportunity to better myself. This would be an opportunity that would lead to huge blessings for me. I would never again be in this position. You see I had been toying with the idea of stepping out on my own for years. But I never felt brave enough to take the leap. I liked my job, loved my team and was very comfortable having a steady paycheck.
Have a Backup Plan, or Two
I do not recommend anyone to leave their job with no plan B. But being made redundant made me realise, my employer will always do what’s right for them. I needed to think about what’s right for me. It was hard to accept that despite my good work, at the end of the day, I was replaceable. My future with my employer came down to the numbers and nothing else. If this situation taught me anything, it is that life is unpredictable. You need to have a backup plan or two.
I realised I had been chasing a job. Rather than pursuing the vision I had for my life and the way I wanted to live life. Being at home with my children and working around them is something I had always wanted. But I did not know how that would be possible with my job. Once I got over the shock of being made redundant while pregnant. I realised that life had just given me an opportunity to work around my child. All I had to do was figure out what work would look like and how I would survive while figuring it out.
2. Money Is Just a Tool
For a long time, I allowed myself to be defined by my salary. My worth and confidence were all based on how much money I made. I felt valued if I made a relatively good salary. But unmotivated if I was earning less than what I thought I should be earning. With this limited way of seeing myself and my work, I constantly struggled with insecurity and resentment. This inevitably made it difficult for me to progress in my career.
I’m not saying money is not important. Nor am I saying it’s negative to feel proud about earning what you deserve for your contribution. Once I shifted my mindset and realised that money is a tool, a necessary one of course. It helped me to see that I have the ability to take hold of money and learn to control it.
Decide How Much Money You Want to Make
I can decide how much I want to make and how I make it. And with that, I can place a value on my contribution and negotiate my salary. Without allowing money to define how or what I think about myself. Having this mindset allows me to take more chances with life. Say yes to new opportunities or no to things without fear of losing out. It allows me to focus on work that I really want to do. Work such as writing, educating, creating a community, supporting others, and this blog. The more I detach from my old notions of money and focus on using money as a tool. I feel more relaxed with life. And weirdly enough the more confident I feel about work, and how I contribute to the world around me.
3. I Turned 34
Something amazing happened to me when I turned 34 years old. It hit me that life was passing by and that I had less time. I made a decision to stop caring so much about what people think of me. It’s a complete waste of time trying to please people who cannot live life for me. And I want to spend my time living life to its fullest. Rather than being worried about how people are perceiving me.
I made a mental decision to be ok with being misunderstood and with people disapproving of my choices and not liking me. Not everyone is going to like me and I am honestly ok with that. It dawned on me that by caring so much about what people thought of me. I was accepting their perception of me over how I perceive myself. And when I look at it from this perspective, this doesn’t make any sense. Why is someone’s opinion of me more important than what I think about myself?
The fear of displeasing people has had a huge impact on my career and how I have experienced work. I can remember feeling panicked by the thought that my colleagues may not like me. Or feeling afraid of disappointing people by roles. To the extent that I stayed in jobs longer than I should have because I didn’t want to disappoint. Which was always to my detriment.
I mean how insane is that? My need to please has had negative financial implications and held my career back. Reading this, I know it might sound a little far fetched. But think back to your own life and career choices. How many times have you been swayed to follow a particular career path because of someone else’s perception of what you “should be doing”?
Turning 34 was really good for me. If it wasn’t for this mindset shift, I would have been straight back in an office after my maternity leave. Because I would have been afraid to tell people I was unemployed and figuring out my career choices. Or, that at 34, I was starting again and venturing into blogging.
4. Make a Career Plan
No one ever told me I needed to plan my career. Early in my career, I loved talking to older colleagues and managers. I loved hearing their stories about how they got to where they are today. In most of their stories, people talked about how they were in the right place at the right time. They talked about taking a chance on opportunities that paid off. This too formed my career planning blueprint. I stayed in jobs waiting for the chance or right opportunity to leave for something better. I never defined what something better was other than more money, or what my overall goal was. I just aimlessly waited for something better.
One of the many good things about being made redundant was that I had time to think about my career and where I wanted it to go. I realised that I had no idea, as I had no plan for my career. For the last ten years, I had been doing variations of the same role. And because I had no real plan, I had actually failed to progress as far as I hoped I would. This realisation hurt a lot.
Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail
Without a plan, people fail to succeed. You end up following someone else’s definition of success, or someone else’s career path. Without a plan, you accept roles because they seem suitable, or the pay is good. Rather than, a job that is aligned with the vision you have for your career.
I now have a plan. I have not thought out every single step, I don’t think I need to. But I have clear goals and a map to follow.
5. Trust the Process
It’s important to remember that life is about the journey and not the final destination. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s true. As you strive towards making career changes however big or small. The key is to stay flexible and trust the process. I know this may sound contradictory to my last point. But once you have a plan, don’t stress over your plan. Take steps forward towards your goal, but at the same time, relax and trust the process.
When I look back over the last year, 2020 threw major curveballs. Who could have predicted 2020? I was about to give birth, was made redundant and watched as the world battled a terrible pandemic. So I made a decision not to be fearful, but to focus on what I wanted to achieve. I put a plan together and many months later this blog was born. Starting a blog was never a career aspiration for me. But I decided to be flexible and trust the process and this is where the process is leading me.
Believe That Anything Is Possible
Anything is possible if you have the right mindset, create a plan and take steps towards your goals. Learning to shift my mindset changed my career trajectory. Although this is still a working progress. Especially in spite of all my earlier mistakes and curveballs. I’m grateful to be on this journey.
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Which mindset shifts have made the biggest impact on your career? We would love to hear from you. Comment below and let us know how you are evolving on your career journey.
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