“If I land this dream job that’s over 3,000 miles away from home, would you be willing to do this with me?”
I never thought I’d actually have to ask my husband this question. I often felt it would be an incredible adventure to take on a new challenge in a place unknown to me, but when it became reality, excitement and nervousness flooded in all at once.
Here I am, 90 days later, living and working just outside Seattle. A new company, new role, and new city I’d only met during my interview. Without my usual support system and familiar faces to help guide me through this uncharted territory, I found myself reaching into my toolbox of career advice, daily.
I have my mentors on speed dial, but being three time zones away, it’s more difficult to connect on-demand. These are the pieces of advice I find myself calling on most often when I can’t call on my mentors.
Thrive in the uncomfortable
Growth comes from pushing outside your comfort zone, testing your limits, and taking on challenges you never thought possible. These opportunities don’t often fall into your lap. You have to take a leap. If the thought of a new career move makes you excited but also nervous, act on the excitement. You’ll grow exponentially working through the nerves.
Never soften your ambitiousness
As much as I love the #banbossy movement, it’s not always easy to identify when someone is doubting your ability because you’re female or young or challenging the status quo. I’ve never been called bossy, but I have been told, by men, that I’m overconfident, intimidating, and, my favorite, “too big for your britches”. There is a fine line between arrogance and believing in your strengths. Trust the opinion of your mentors or role models to understand where you fall. But never, ever let minimizing comments hold back your ambitions to grow and advance your career.
Don’t wing it
I always thought “winging it” was a skill the professionals learned to master. Now I know the people who look like they “wing it” prioritize time to prepare and practice, becoming comfortable and precise with the content delivered so it only appears like you can hop on stage and kill it on the fly. I used to brush off practicing a presentation, even getting upset with a manager when she asked about my slides. “Why do you want me to run through this? You know what I’m going to say.” Now every time I prepare new material, I think about this moment, cringe, and get back to practicing and testing my content.
Stop asking, start doing
I spent seven years at my last company. I knew everyone, I knew who I could bounce ideas off of, I knew who needed to be involved in projects, and everyone I needed was a few steps away. Now at a new company, with my trusted advisors thousands of miles away, it’s difficult to get the instant feedback and decision confirmation. Gather all the information, data, and insights you can, then at some point, you have to stop asking questions, stop questioning yourself, and start doing. Often the questions you’ve struggled with become answered once your project or strategy gets moving.
Sometimes, you have to blow it up
When you’ve put your heart, soul, and precious time into a project, it can be hard to admit when it’s not working. Ideally, I want to test ideas, projects, and content early in the process to get constructive feedback and keep iterating to get to the desired outcomes, but this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you get to the end, and you know in your gut that this is off. As painful as it is, blow it up. Start over. Take a new angle that results in better outcomes than the original.
Every day I’m learning something new and trying to master the career advice that has been passed on to me. Until then, I keep practicing.
What career advice do you value and rely on most?
This post was originally posted on my LinkedIn page.