For many people, including myself, navigating through this pandemic has been one of the most challenging times we’ve ever faced. Although it may seem like there is no bright side to what we’ve all encountered over the past few months, there is always an opportunity to learn, and ultimately, grow in your career.
The most important thing is to prepare for uncertain times before they become uncertain. Take personal finances for example: Don’t start saving money only when things get challenging – you start building an emergency fund to prepare for when times get tough. It’s the same in your career: the more you can invest in yourself ahead of uncertain times, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Here are a few tips:
1. Get Elected, Not Selected
You can have a boss who thinks you’re great and selects you for a role, but if you’re not a good team member and people don’t want to work with you, you won’t have the support you need. If your boss leaves or receives feedback from others that isn’t the best impression of you, you’re going to be vulnerable. You want to have a strong team connection and you need to work hard to create that throughout your career.
2. Build Towering Strengths
To build your career equity, you must leverage your strengths, especially if you’re already in a leadership role. Parents and teachers don’t help children by pointing out their weaknesses. Instead, they focus on what kids are best at and leverage their strengths. The same goes for your career. The people who go the farthest are the people who develop their strengths so that those strengths become “towering strengths,” and overshadow their weaknesses. It’s important to recognize your weaker areas as well and work to get them to be neutral, but ultimately, it’s your strengths that will propel you forward and sustain you during uncertain times.
3. Optimism Leads to Success
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the “doom and gloom” when times get stressful and challenging. Studies show that the most successful people are the most optimistic. Everyone has a choice to look at the negative or the positive side of things, and the people who end up in the best shape know how to control their thoughts and be optimistic. Instead of wasting your energy worrying about what you can’t control, balance your thoughts about what you can control, and don’t get wrapped up in the negative.
4. Deliver the “WOW Factor”
In every job at every level, there is an ability to go above and beyond what is required, and this is what will make you stand out from your peers and give you the support you need to get elected. Going above and beyond will pay off in huge returns in the long run and give you more security and stability.
During times of uncertainty, we all need to remember we’re all human beings. It’s OK if the path might not be clear at times because we’re all going through the same thing. This pandemic has been challenging for everyone; no one is operating at their absolute best. It’s important to cut people some slack, including yourself. Be comfortable with letting situations evolve.
Even during a pandemic, you can control your own professional development. I encourage you to take ownership of your career journey while leveraging the available tools and resources at your employer to support your professional growth.
Get elected. Build strengths. Be optimistic. Stand out. Succeed.