On the thirteenth entry of The Link Up with Latesha, our incredible host Latesha Byrd, founder of Byrd Career Consulting, speaks about effective career planning – working on your career versus in your career. With 2020 right around the corner, this is a great opportunity for all of us to make some fundamental shifts that we have been maybe kind of putting off in our careers or in our businesses. Hear the five questions Latesha suggests asking yourself that are key to unleashing your career potential next year!
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Latesha: What’s up, everyone? Welcome to The Link Up with Latesha on Living Corporate. This podcast is for young professionals that need some real advice, tips, and resources to navigate corporate America and dominate their career. If you’re looking to upgrade your brand, get the knowledge you need to level up professionally for your future, you are in the right place. I’m your host, Latesha Byrd. So let’s get into today’s episode. Today on The Link Up with Latesha we are talking about effective career planning – working on your career versus in your career. Now, if I have any entrepreneurs listening, I’m sure you all are very familiar with the term of working in your business versus working on your business and how many entrepreneurs get caught up working in their business–meaning just handling the day-to-day tasks of actually running the business versus actually working on the business, which is centered around, you know, strategizing, planning, really thinking about the future of the company, thinking about scaling strategies and et cetera. However, this is a really important topic for entrepreneurs, but what about working professionals? This is why I wanted to talk about this. I’ve never heard someone use it in the terms of working in your career versus working on your career, but it’s super, super similar, and I’ve realized through my coaching, as a career [and life?] coach, [that] most of us–I don’t want to say most and make that assumption or generalization, but many of us don’t really work on our careers, we work in our careers. That being said, we typically just go through the day-to-day of getting the work done, you know? Getting the work done, doing our jobs, going home, right, and then when it actually comes time for evaluations, promotions, talking about, you know, longevity with the company or upward mobility with that company, we could be a little confused or maybe a little bit unclear as to what our future with our company or even in our careers and what that looks like. Now, this can be dangerous, and I think that there should be a balance of 1. having a plan in place, but 2. also being flexible, you know, and knowing that, hey, your desires, your dreams, your goals, those may change over time. So there is a fine line of okay, having a plan, you know, having that being structured, but also having some willingness to change if needed. So how do you actually effectively plan your career, A.K.A. how do you actually effectively work on your career versus working in your career? So I think it’s important to 1. just kind of differentiate the two. Working in your career is, you know, essentially going to work each day and doing your day-to-day tasks, completing projects, working with clients, responding to emails, putting together deliverables, you know, implementing processes. Examples of working on your career is again around that career management, career planning. Setting goals, long-term goals. Understanding what it actually takes to be successful in your role. Understanding what it actually takes to get to that next level that you would ultimately like to go in, and that’s different than sending out some emails or working on a deliverable. It takes a different–it takes a different mind muscle, if I can say that, meaning you’re really gonna have to think strategically about your career from a long-term standpoint than “Okay, what do I have to get done today? What do I need to get done by the end of the week?” So I hope that makes sense, and I wanted to 1. just talk about how do you actually begin to work on your career. You don’t want to, you know, work work work every day, and months down the road you look up–or years down the road, to be honest, and look back and say, “First of all, why am I still at the same point?” [laughs] “Why am I still at the same salary 5 years later? Why have I not been promoted? Why are there others that have came in after me at lower levels that are now at higher levels?” Right? That’s because you have not taken the time to work on your business. So how do you do that? I want to make sure that you feel that you have complete ownership over your career, that you are in control, and that it’s not up to these employers or these companies to tell you what, when, how, where to move. This should all be within your control, and you should be able to understand, like I said earlier, what it takes to get to that level that you want to get to, what do you need to do, but actually what does that level look like. So that takes me to the first thing: I want you to ask yourself, “Where do I see my career in 5 years?” So we are embarking on a new year very, very soon, 2020, which is a new decade. I am super excited about this new decade and this transition in life and age and time in the world. I’m super excited about it. This is a great opportunity for all of us to make some fundamental shifts that we have been maybe kind of putting off in our careers or in our businesses. So thinking about where do you see your career in 5 years, in 2025. What do you see for yourself, for your professional self? Do you see yourself in a leadership role? Do you see yourself traveling the world? You know, do you see yourself leading global teams? Do you see yourself retiring? [laughs] Do you see yourself retiring? Launching that business? Maybe taking that side hustle to a full-time hustle. Hopefully if you are an entrepreneur you listened to my last episode on how I actually took my side hustle to full-time. So then thinking about where you see yourself in your career in 5 years is important, okay? And then hey, maybe 2 years. So 2025, 2022. What about 2021 or by this time next year? So by November of 2020, where do you see yourself in your career? I am going to loop you all in on a secret–it’s not really a secret. It’s moreso of a method [laughs] that I follow with my clients. So, you know, my objective as a career coach is to help my clients get three things, which I call the three Cs. #1 is clarity, getting clarity on what you actually want for your career, what you want out of your life, how you actually show up, meaning, well, how you want to show up professionally. When you are operating at your best, truest, highest self professionally, getting clarity on what that actually looks like. And then also, once you get that clarity, getting clarity on what it actually takes to get there. So working through that strategy plan, you know? Really putting some goals down and knowing that “Okay, I gotta do Step 1 here first, then Step 2, then Step 3.” So having a strategy, having a plan that actually makes sense and is not overwhelming so that you can start to move forward. That’s the first C, clarity. So clarity on what it is that you want, and then I would say the other part of this clarity is clarity on what companies are looking for, employers are looking for, based on where you want to go, so that you know what you actually need to do within yourself to actually make that transition happen to land your dream job. So that’s for clarity. The second C is confidence. So building up confidence in your skills and your experiences and understanding how what you have previously done and what you currently do is aligned with where you actually want to go and fully believing in that and owning that, because if you are not confident in yourself–I probably say this every single episode, [laughs] but if you’re not confident in yourself, these employers are not going to be confident in you. These recruiters are not going to be confident in you. Your team–if you are a leader, your team won’t be confident in you. So, you know, #1 clarity, #2 confidence, and then #3 is control. You guys know I love to talk about having that control, feeling empowered, having ownership over your career and really feeling like you have a good pulse on where you’re going and what it takes to get there. So those are the three Cs. But in my coaching program–I’m going to break down five key steps that I follow or walk my clients through. So the first thing I already mentioned. Where do you want to be? So thinking about where you see your career in 5 years, in 2 years, even a year from now, okay? And then #2 is where are you right now? And really coming to grips with where you are. If you aren’t where you want to be that’s okay, but you really have to take a step back and say, “Okay, where am I in my career? Am I in a company that I see myself growing with?” Or “Am I in a toxic work environment and have I just been putting up with BS just because of this paycheck?” You know, you really have to come to reality with that understanding of where you are now. Based on where you are now, what do you need to get to where you want to be? What are those resources that you need? For example, are there certain certifications that you need? Are there certain skills that you need to develop? What about your social capital, you know? Who’s in your network? Who do you need to know? This is important to think through in and out of the workplace. In your current company, if you see yourself moving up there, staying there for, you know, the long haul, you need mentors and you really need sponsors. I will be talking about mentors versus sponsors in a future episode, and I was just reading an article last night that was talking about how black women are mentored–we got mentors, but we are not getting sponsored. So, you know, we are not getting promoted to these leadership levels that we should be. However, we are coming in knocking it out the park. Killing it. Most educated, you know? But we aren’t getting to those levels of leadership that our white male counterparts are because we are not being sponsored. So more to come on that, but it is important to think about who do you need in your network. You need sponsors. What about outside of your company? You need to know people in your industry outside of work. That’s important, because you want to make sure 1. you are staying ahead of the curve in terms of skills that are needed to be innovative in your industry, and you also want to make sure that you are staying competitive. So, you know, again, #1 – where do you want to be? #2 – where are you now? #3 – what do you need to get there? What resources do you need to tap into? Who is in your network that maybe you have not reached out to in a long time, or who is that person you have been stalking on LinkedIn or stalking on social media because they’re doing something that you know you want to do or you want to be in that place. Why haven’t you reached out to them? Social media makes it super easy to build relationships with folks. It’s so important to be super intentional about 1. how you are establishing yourself and your brand online, but how you’re going about developing relationships. I have gotten so many clients through Twitter. Follow me at Latesha_Byrd. I tweet a lot of career advice. I’ve gotten so many clients through Twitter. I’ve gotten friends through Twitter and even LinkedIn. Instagram not so much for me. Instagram, you know, people I follow I’ve known since college or, you know, maybe over, you know, the years being involved here in the Charlotte community as an entrepreneur, but a majority of my clients come from Twitter and they come from LinkedIn. That’s where I ultimately spend most of my time in the online world. But saying all that to say think about who do you need in your network. We can’t do anything without people, and I’m realizing that relationships probably are the most undervalued thing [laughs] when it comes to effective career planning and management. Okay, so what do you need to get there, all right? What are the roadblocks? This is #4. What are the roadblocks that are keeping you from getting there? What I mean by that is–let’s say you have a manager that is an ineffective leader. They don’t know you. They don’t care about you. [laughs] Y’all don’t have a good relationship, but your manager is a decision-maker in getting you that promotion. That is a roadblock. Or maybe you know you want to get this certification, you’ve been planning on taking it, but it’s the money thing. Like, you just don’t want to dish out, you know, that 1,500, that 2,000, 5,000. Some certification are very, very expensive. Maybe it’s money that you need to get certifications or certain classes that you want to take, you know? Conferences that you want to attend. Or maybe it’s mental. Maybe it’s the mindset. You know, what is holding you back? What are those roadblocks, mental, financial, you know, emotional, spiritual? What are those roadblocks that are keeping you from getting there? If you can identify those roadblocks, then you can start to think through “Hm, what do I need to do to overcome these roadblocks? What do I need to do to knock down these roadblocks?” If your manager–going back to this example–if your manager is not an effective leader, but you know that your manager is a decision-maker, you know what? You may have to really work on establishing a better relationship, and you may have to do some intense managing-up. Maybe there’s other folks within the organization that you need to start establishing relationships with. You need sponsors. Maybe you should identify who could be some potential sponsors in your organization that you could start to build those relationships with. Going back to the example of money, maybe it’s money, okay? Like, you might have to start saving up. [laughs] Putting away, you know, 100 bucks a week. That might be, you know–for, you know, ladies, maybe we don’t–I don’t even want to say this ’cause it hurts my heart, but, like, maybe we don’t, you know, get our nails done for just a little bit of time. [laughs] When I first quit my full-time job to focus on full-time entrepreneurship I stopped getting my nails done. But, you know, think about where can you cut from a financial standpoint if it is that money that you need. Start saving. Thinking about where you can cut. Maybe you don’t go shopping. I love me some Nordstrom, and I really try to stay out of Target ’cause Target is really on the up-and-up with the quality of their clothes and just the prints and just how it–I just love Target. [laughs] You know, I know we see this posts online where it says you go into Target and you come out with a whole cart full. Like, that is so me, so I try to stay out of Target. Maybe, you know, try staying out of Target. That might be the answer to this. [laughs] But seriously, think about what resources do you need to tap into that can help you with overcoming those roadblocks. Get a career coach. I mean, hey, I’m a career coach if you don’t know any. [laughs] But seriously, get a career coach. The two most important investments I have made in my career was getting a career coach and then getting a therapist. Actually, getting a therapist was the best decision I’ve made in my entire life. [laughs] But, you know, start thinking about what do you need to invest in to help you. So I’m gonna run through this 5-step process again, or 5 questions. Like I mentioned, this is a process that I follow or take my clients through. #1 – where do you want to be? Where do you see your career in 5 years, in 2 years, next year? #2 – where are you right now? And being very honest and real with yourself. #3 – what do you need to get to where you want to be? So if you think about a diagram–if you’re a visual learner maybe you can draw this out somehow, you know? #4 – what are the roadblocks that is keeping you from getting what you need to get there? And #5 – how do you overcome these roadblocks? One more time. #1 – where do you want to be? #2 – where are you now? #3 – what do you need to get there? #4 – what are the roadblocks that’s keeping you from getting there? And #5 – how do you overcome these roadblocks? Last thing I will say here is to set some goals, all right? Start setting them for 2020. I’m not saying that you need to set some goals for, like, Monday of next week, but, you know, take some time this week, over the next couple of weeks, maybe in the morning when you first wake up and you’re refreshed, [and] just kind of journal. I’m a huge, huge fan of journaling. I take my journal with me everywhere, and I will legit be, like, in the middle of, you know, reviewing a client’s LinkedIn and “Let me pull out my journal real quick,” ’cause I have a lot of thoughts and things running in my mind, so I’ll just pull it out and whip it out any time, but [laughs] journaling is big for me. It helps me to just kind of get my thoughts all out and do a brain dump so I can kind of try to organize what I’m thinking. But, you know, start thinking about how you want to show up in the world professionally in 2020. Visualize and mentally place yourself into the position of success that you want to be in. In order to do that, you have to know what success looks like to you. It may not be a title. That’s perfectly okay. Maybe you don’t want to be in this high, visible, you know, leadership role where you’re managing large teams, and you may have to come to terms or come to grips with that. I know at one point for me as an entrepreneur, I thought I wanted to, you know, scale my business by having multiple locations and having a team of 50 people and different career coaches and different resume writers, and I realized that that was not how I wanted to define success for me and that wasn’t the only way that I could define success for me as an entrepreneur. So I’m scaling my business in other ways – by creating digital products, by building an online brand. The goal is, in 2020, to have a full-fledged online career shop with courses and e-books and guides that will help you navigate your career. And I’m okay with not having a team of 50 people, but you have to think about what success looks like for you, and it’s okay to redefine success as needed. Maybe it’s not a certain, you know, salary amount. You know, maybe it’s the feeling of being able to empower your patients, if you’re in healthcare, you know, or being able to empower your clients. Maybe it’s just that feeling of knowing that you made a difference in the world. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but seriously, you know? Money is not everything, and so you just want to make sure that you know what success looks like for you. And also – for you, okay? Not what your mom, what your parents, you know, what society is telling you in order to be successful. And when I think about success too, I equate that to happiness and being emotionally stable and happy. Seriously. So I hope that this was helpful. Again, in 2020, we are working on our careers, not just working in our careers. So let’s get it, and I will talk to you all soon. Peace.