By Sunday Tollefson
Are you deep in the weeds of executing your current role?
Are you refining your craft, meeting your deliverables, competing for exciting projects and promotions?
If so, you might be skipping over a priceless investment in strategic career planning. When was the last time you stepped back and looked at the big picture of your career? How intentional were you? Are you ready for a fresh new swipe at that?
High-performing professionals like you (yes, you!) understand and invest in each of the three Career Zones: skillset, mindset, and guide-set.
Skillset includes the skills you have obtained, certified, performed, and have been recognized for. Earning an academic credential, certification, or licensure shows that you have the dedication to complete a challenge and set goals, that you have ambition, and finally expertise in the field. On the job, your skillset is enhanced by demonstrated effectiveness, practice, stretch projects, and training.
Mindset is the way you think about the world and yourself. Do you suffer from impostor syndrome or other limiting beliefs that slow you down? Do you visualize your career at full potential? Do you recognize the internal messaging that holds you back or propels you forward? Do you consider yourself to be a life-long learner with a growth mindset?
This term may be new to you but the concept is probably not. A "guide-set" is a dedicated group of like-minded, trusted, non-colleague professionals who loyally support your growth.
Most professionals I have counseled are killing it in the first two areas, and have goals set for the next five years as well. But in terms of their guide-set, they are struggling. And that's hard, they have told me because they deeply understand the value. As your career advances, your new-found seniority can create a lonely workplace for you.
If you are stagnant in any of these three zones, how will your career grow? The questions I pose to you today are:
1. Is your skill set aligned with your professional goals? What needs to change? What are your long-range goals and will those necessitate a new demonstrable skill set or marketable credential?
2. What is your mindset? What is your view of the world? Of yourself? What is blocking you from achieving your goals? What do you tell yourself that you would never tell a friend? How do you control your mindset?
3. Do you have a trusted cadre of guides who see your potential and want to invest personally in your success? If you don't, how and when will you create this in your life? Do you need help?
Putting these three sets together is a game-changer. This strategy can propel your career to new heights in record time. After investing in each of these areas, expect progress in your responsibility, marketability, and compensation.
How are you doing in these three Career Zones? If you're seeking clarity, I created the Career Zones Worksheet to help you nail down your current situation. You can download this for free if this practice resonates with you right now.
Print it, fill it out by hand, and post it where you can see it every day. Keep these zones in your awareness. We'll continue to reference them as we discuss your career.
Final thoughts: More women need to be in c-suite roles, deploying more value to our community by providing leadership and value. You have an extraordinary potential for broad, meaningful impact that the world needs.