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A Career Pep Talk

Updated: 5 days ago

My family and I have spent the last several weekends track side for our youngest daughter's track meets. And each week, the level of intensity and stakes grew as we moved toward District and State Finals in the 1600 meter and 800 meter races. Despite all of my daughter's physical preparation, the mental preparation and 'pep talks' were continuous right up until she got to the starting line. From self doubt to nerves to excitement, we had to manage all of it- both the physical and mental aspects of running a successful race.

Did you know runners typically prepare a strategy for how they will run each race the week of and it may change days or even minutes right before the race? The only thing they can know for certain is their preparation; what they don't know is how the weather will be, how they will feel the day of. So, they have to practice and prepare and be ready to improvise even last minute. But above all, they have to trust the process and believe in their talents- especially when confronting state competition.

Even though I'm a career coach and consider myself to be an innately positive person, the mental focus and pep talks all the weeks, days and minutes leading up to the final state competition were intense. It was like an emotional roller coaster.

As I walked to the other side of the track to stand at my spot- typically the 250 mark or so on the track to watch my daughter's first race, the 1600 meter run, I thought- wow- we made it. She made it. While I was nervous for her, I was optimistic. Hundreds of high school athletes have been preparing months for this very moment. Now, as I was getting ready to watch her 1600, jumpers were also lining up across the field nearby to practice triple jump. I heard one coach yell to his athlete, "Hey- don't be afraid to be great today."

Wow- what a great sentiment! I haven't been able to stop thinking about that application in the context of work and careers all week.

Don't be afraid to be great.

How many times in your career have you let fear creep in and/or dictate your performance or prevent you from being truly great? Fear of an outcome? Fear of making the wrong decision? Fear of leaving a job? Fear of stepping up and leading differently? Fear of someone thinking differently of us? Afraid to truly be yourself?

Chances are if you are reading this, you have been a 'master of your craft' for some time now and perhaps you may be curious on how to pivot professionally or make a greater impact as a leader, manager or individual contributor.

So, here it comes - your career pep talk.

  1. To wait 'it' out without a deadline is not an action. You can certainly exercise patience and fortitude in your job, but not without a deadline. Your time is valuable! If you don't respect your time, who will?

  2. Manage your career on purpose, not by accident. Too many of us literally drift from opportunity to opportunity simply because someone tapped us on the shoulder or it was the next 'logical' step in the career ladder.

  3. You've got game! You, my friend, have amazing talents to use and share. Perhaps it's time to use your talents in a different way. Who do you want to serve next?

  4. While you may have a false start to a 'next' career step, you are empowered to make a different step or decision ALL of the time. You have an amazing journey and story to share. Don't hold back.

    1. Ask yourself: What do you want to have happen next?

  5. We cannot grow without feeling uncomfortable.

  6. Performance edge. It's ok to be nervous about certain projects, presentations, hard conversations, etc. You've done the hard work. You've practiced. You have experience. Remember- you are not starting from nothing; you are starting from experience. Don't let the big picture prevent you from taking action and doing your best work.

If you have been struggling with 'pepping yourself up' each Monday, perhaps it's time to review your 'career strategy.' What's working? What's not? What do you need most right now?

I'm always available to help you brainstorm and listen. Schedule your complimentary career strategy session HERE now.

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