For many people not knowing what they want to be when they grow up stays with them most of their life. Women in particular find it difficult as they are waiting to be selected for their next role based on other people’s views of what they are good at, rather than being clear about what they want. This becomes the greatest obstacle for success and greatest source of frustration and disappointment.
I was in this situation 4 years ago and breaking a habit of a lifetime of saying No to roles that don’t fit your career brief criteria is really hard. My third start-up was behind me and I knew I had to stretch myself in a new way and my eyes were firmly set on a corporate role, yet the first five opportunities I was offered were all tech start-ups for US corporates wanted to set up operations in Australia. It was so tempting, as it was what I knew, thank goodness for Phil Crenigan my business coach who kept me focused and challenged me when he had a sniff that I was even entertaining any start-up opportunities. I am forever grateful for his council on being clear before looking about your next move, and saying No so that when the right opportunity emerged I was ready.
In contrast having a career plan for the next 10, 20 years even if it changes allows you to plan and prepare for your next move. It also allows you to socialize with your peers, mentors, sponsors and executives and gain their input and thoughts on the best options for your future and open up projects that give you exposure where you need it.
I enjoy being on boards of tech start-ups and the businesses I have run over the last 20 years, so I am looking to become a non exec director on ASX boards in the next 10 years. To achieve this I need to be a Senior leader in an ASX business. I spoke to many Senior leaders who were doing the role I am looking to do and all advised me the following: women leave exec leadership too early, you need to remain in exec leadership in ASX businesses until your 60. Many leave in their early 50s and have insufficient experience at a senior level. When asking about education all recommended the AICD course as a must. Seeking advice of people doing what the role you aspire too is essential for preparing for success.
Where are you going? What do you want from your career?