Change drives not just businesses but all aspects of our personal and professional lives. Yet, we fear change. We prefer the security of our established lives and acquire great satisfaction in being able to control the overall shape and destiny of our future. Despite our aversion for change, unforeseen events and our own actions lead us in new directions and nudge us to explore previously uncharted frontiers -- often victoriously, though not always.
In this post, I will share three stories of change in the professional lives of three individuals. Their determination made all the difference.
A different mindset yields fulfilling results
Jane had grown accustomed to her consulting practice. She enjoyed the comforts of an enviable salary, comprehensive benefits, and a steady career growth. Despite the seemingly “I-would-steal-for-that-job” career path, she wasn’t truly happy with the work she was doing. Monday mornings were a drag. After doing a few coaching sessions, Jane came to the conclusion that although she needed the salary, she was sacrificing her passion for entrepreneurship.
Unable to give up the security of her excellent workplace, she had to seek another alternative. Jane decided to reorient her mindset and approach her work differently, as opposed to seeking a different career.
She adopted the attitude of a “business-within-the-business” and started doing her work as if she was a small business owner offering her consulting services to her employer. The new work style motivated her tremendously and she started engaging in extensive professional development and constant analysis. She started asking herself: “What is the ROI my employer gains from the salary given to me?” “How can I improve the ROI?” She was constantly trying to make the workplace better. Within weeks she started generating new programs, ideas, and strategies, one of which clicked with her employer.
She was promoted to a new role within a few months. She was to head a new division and the position would allow her to live her dream of being a business owner while at the same time enjoying the comfort and security of her job.
By reprogramming her mindset she was able to gain the fulfillment she was looking for and also drive her destiny in a new direction.
Identify goals to move to the next level
Phil was a business analyst at a leading pharmaceutical giant. While his work was helping him make ends meet, he wasn’t really growing in his career. Since almost three years, he had not progressed. The stagnation appeared to be a major cause of dissatisfaction at work.
After much soul-searching he realized that he was not working toward a clearly-defined goal. He had left the promotion decision to his employers who had no idea what he wanted.
Further introspection revealed that Phil was passionate about brand management. Now that he knew what his interest was, he developed a clear plan to achieve that goal -- a detailed roadmap with small baby steps that were to be achieved within three years.
Phil voluntarily started taking brand management classes, offered to work with a mentor in brand management (on his own time), collaborated with the brand team on ad hoc projects, and started initial discussions with potential brand management teams. He revamped his resume with a clear brand management focus and pitched his proposal to a senior director. Under his instructions, Phil participated in numerous branding projects while at his lower position. After nearly two years of hard work, he moved up to a brand management role and eventually landed a new job at a global biotech firm.
Networking facilitates success
It is very difficult to accomplish any task single-handedly, but if you have a strong team of supporters and wonderful allies, change is easy.
Amy realized this at the beginning of her journalism career. To achieve her goal of becoming a journalist, she joined a trade association and started volunteering at the association. From meetings to events, she was omnipresent. Her participation in industry events, constant online networking, and extensive collaboration with peers within her industry helped build a strong rolodex of top decision makers. If she didn’t know a key person, she at least knew someone who knew that executive.
She soon landed an internship at her dream company and eventually became a full time journalist.
Networking was a major change for an otherwise shy Amy. It meant pushing her boundaries a little and extending her reach beyond her comfort zone. The results were very encouraging, though.
Nimish Thakkar is the CEO of DontSpendMore.com, a site that helps consumers save hundreds of dollars every month, and the owner of ResumeCorner.com.