This is one of the most important questions you are going to ask yourself this year:
When it comes to building your career, are you moving forward, falling behind, or staying stuck?
If you are looking back over the course of 2020 and struggling to pin down the answer to this question, this episode is for you.
In this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I’ll show you a simple process for elevating how well you did at achieving your goals over the last 12 months, how to determine where you are in the process of advancing your career now, AND how to lay out a plan that will help you achieve break-through success over the next year.
I’ll also show you how you can measure your progress even if you didn’t actually set any goals in 2020, AND I’ll lay out the micro goals that will help you stay inspired and on track.
What You'll Learn:
- The three questions you need to be asking yourself right now
- What you need to do differently in 2021 to achieve next-level success in your career
- The signs that you are close to hitting your professional development goals
- The signs that you’re not moving in the right direction
- Why you need to create a plan for your plan
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer. And very excited, as always, to be here with you today.
This is our final episode of 2020. Can you believe it? What a year.
Well, and especially for the Maximize Your Career podcast, because the podcast was actually launched in January of 2020. So we have had a full year of the podcast.
Congratulations. Congratulations to me. I will take that. And congratulations to you as the listener for putting in the work and for doing what it takes to get yourself promoted into that senior executive leadership position.
So as we're nearing the end of the year and virtual holiday parties and celebrations are happening, I wanted to also mention that we just closed out my most recent Executive Ahead of Time group. And I was feeling a lot of feelings today about this, about the accomplishment of putting the group together, and organizing the program, and really giving you guys the tools to get yourself promoted into that next level of leadership. That's one thing.
But then also seeing what the group of 10 people were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. We got on our group coaching call today and they were all smiles. And I was like: 'Wow, there's a lot of smiles.' And I went around the room and it was like: 'I'm feeling good. Is it is it weird that I kind of like my job now? That I'm feeling better about things? That I don't feel so frustrated that I don't feel as stuck as I used to feel? Is that weird?'
And I'm like: 'No, it's not weird. Because this program works.'
It works to not only show you what it's going to take to get you into that next level of leadership, but part of becoming the executive ahead of time is creating that path for yourself. And when we have that growth path and we actually know where we're headed and where we want to go next, it feels good. When we're able to measure how our success is, when we're able to know what to do next. We feel better because, essentially, we're putting ourself back in the driver's seat. And when whenever we can feel like we have control, then we're just going to be happier.
So congratulations to all of the participants this round in Executive Ahead of Time. And if you are looking to join the next group, then I encourage you to sign up for my VIP wait list. Go to ExecutiveAheadoftime.com and it will give you all of the information so that you can sign up and get on when I open up again in January. Because I really want to make sure that you feel happier at work, too. And you also start to get that recognition that you deserve.
So speaking of being in control and knowing where you're headed and what's working and what's not working, today's episode, because it's the end of the year, is going to focus on how to know, looking back on the last year, if it was successful or not in terms of professional development.
So I'm going to give you some benchmarks. I'm going to share with you how you can actually evaluate your year and see: 'OK, am I moving closer to my career goals? Am my moving farther away from my career goals? Am I staying stuck?'
How do you actually know where you are in the process? So that's what today's episode is all about.
So the first thing I want to point out to you is, first of all,
I really want to make sure that you have a goal at all. And I say this because it's never too late. You can set a goal for twenty, twenty one.
But I think that in terms of measuring whether or not you were successful in 2020, it's important to actually know what in fact your goal was.
And if you didn't have a goal that you actually articulated in terms of your own professional growth, if you look back, I would like you to make a list and really think about and guess. Guess what your goal probably was. If you wished that you had a goal, what would it have been? And I think that's really important because we need to know what we're measuring against.
And so this is why I say to actually think this through, because you might just go to the obvious, which is did I get a promotion? Did I get a pay increase, or not? It feels very black and white.
But I think that if you go back and you actually articulate your goal for 2020, you'll start to see the nuances in it. As far as like: 'Well, yes. I want to move closer to a vice president level position that would have been my goal, that I feel like I'm on track to become vice president, either in the next year or next six months, whatever that timeframe is for you.'
So that was my goal and that's a title goal.
But I also had little micro goals to get a seat at the table, to present more in front of the leadership team and really just kind of think about it. And and then obviously, those will continue to be your goals for 2021. So it's good to do the work there as well.
So the first thing that we're going to do when we're looking back on our year and starting to evaluate is I really want to walk you through a simple evaluation process. So you're really just going to ask yourself what worked, what didn't work, and what to do differently. Those are the only three questions that you're going to ask.
And I actually learned this process from one of my previous coaches, Stacey Beyman. She teaches this process and it's it's so simple and so profound. So I encourage all of you to just do this on a regular basis, what worked, what didn't work and what to do differently. So we're going to start with what worked.
And I want you to think about what were the things that felt good? What worked? And really just make a list of it, really spend some time.
You should have like 10 things there, at least, if you're looking back at 2020.
It could even be that you pivoted really well during the crisis. Or that you kept your head on straight. Or that you you felt like you had more productive conversations with your boss. Whatever that was in 2020 that felt like it got you closer to your career goals.
And then I want you to talk about what didn't work. And so these could be things that you spent too much time in the weeds. That you were putting out fires. That you didn't have time for strategic thinking. That you didn't have any professional development conversations with your boss. That you didn't have any conversations with leadership. You don't feel like they really know your name. You didn't expand your network. Whatever that is that you felt like didn't work out quite as well.
And then for the what to do differently, you're going to take what didn't work and you're just going to sort of spin it. You might not know the exact way to figure it out just yet, but what you're going to do is just quite simply take that and say something like: 'I am going to have more strategic conversations with my boss. That's one thing I would like to do.'.
'I would like to present to the leadership team this year.' So just start to think about what are those things that you could do, like what's the positive of the things that didn't work?
And you could also have, in your what to do differently, more of what worked. You can expand on what's actually working.
So that's the simple evaluation process. So you can just turn off the podcast and do that evaluation process right now and figure out and reflect on 2020.
And so now I'm going to get into something a little bit different, which is more of what are the signs that I'm getting closer to my own professional development goals. What is the feedback I am receiving that tells me that I am getting closer to my goals or farther away?
So I'm going to give you several different things that you might be hearing from leadership or from your boss in terms of that next level of leadership.
So let's first of all, just assume that you have had some sort of professional development conversations, or you've had a performance review, or you've received some sort of feedback to your professional development, that next level of growth for you.
So you receive feedback and there's a few different things that you could hear. And one thing that I hear from my clients a lot is: 'Just keep doing what you're doing.'
So you'll get an average performance review. It might have some pros, some cons, some areas of improvement, some things that you do really well. But then, all in all, it's: 'Just keep doing what you're doing. We're going through a hiring freeze right now. So we're not offering any promotions this promotion cycle, but just keep doing what you're doing.'
So that feedback is pretty much neutral. And the way that you're going to know if that feedback is positive or negative for you, if it means you're moving in the right direction or the wrong direction, is how it makes you feel.
So, for instance, I have a client who is doing all of the right things. It's amazing.
She is very confident in her role. She is having conversations with leadership. She's having conversations with the CEO. She is really just moving and shaking at work. She is also expanding her network outside of work. She understands her thought leadership. She is just really killing it.
And her organization has a hiring freeze and they are giving her communication like: 'Just keep doing what you're doing. You're doing great. Just stay focused. It will happen. They're assuring her that it will happen.'
And she feels fine with that, honestly, because she has other things in the fire. She knows what else she'll do if it doesn't work out. She's being very proactive about her career and it feels pretty good.
So if it doesn't work out, it's fine, right? She's going to keep doing what she's doing. And she also has other things going on. And she's very focused on her professional development. So that means she is moving forward. She is taking active steps in her professional development. And it's going well.
Now, let's say you receive that exact same feedback. Just keep doing what you're doing, and you look at it and you evaluate, and you feel like crap. You're like: 'Oh, I don't know what to do. I'm so stuck in this job, and it feels very frustrating. And I'm not having good conversations, and I'm just in the weeds all the time.' All of these thoughts come into your head and you're extremely frustrated and you're receiving the feedback to just keep doing what you're doing.
Now, if that is the case, then it's not good feedback. You're not heading in the right direction. And that means that you are going to have to do something different. And I always recommend that we do something different in two ways.
One is you expand your external opportunities. So when I was talking about my client that is doing quite well, she has expanded her networking. She is expanding her thought leadership. She's expanded how she is approaching conversations with other groups and people, looking to get on a board, those types of things.
And then you're also going to focus on your internal communication. So how am I showing up at work? Am I showing up as a leader? Am I am I being very proactive in having strategic conversations with my boss, or am I just having tactical check-ins? Am I getting in front of leadership?
So you're going to start to look at your approaches in both directions always, always, always. We don't put all of our eggs in one basket and it creates this well-rounded executive leader.
So that is how you're going to know if you're moving in the right direction or not, is really how it makes you feel. So when you receive this feedback, how does it make you feel.
The other way that you're going to evaluate if you're moving in the right direction or not is: 'Do I have a direction?'
I gave you the first exercise, which was go back and create my goals for the year. If you had to do that, then I would venture to say that you're in a little bit more of that mid- zone like that winging it, we'll just see what happens. 'I'm not really sure what I want, if I got more clarity, if things worked out, if I had more time, than I could figure it out.'
So if you're in that place that I would venture to say that you can also do something different next year. You can make a plan.
You can actually set out and create goals for your 2021 career. What are my goals? What is my long term vision? What is it that I hope to accomplish in the next six months and the next three months? What do I want the outcome to be at the end of the year? And really just creating that plan for yourself.
So if you don't have a plan at all, it's very difficult to look back and to say you made forward progress or not.
Even if you did make forward progress. Let's say you got a promotion this year, but you also didn't have a plan, then you're going to feel like it's outside of your control. So our goal is to get back in the driver's seat of our career. And you want to really understand the steps that you're taking and why you're taking them. So that's the other way that you're going to know if you're moving forward or backward or staying in place, is whether or not you even had goals to begin with.
And then the third way that you're going to evaluate if you're moving in the right direction or not, is really understanding those micro wins.
So I talked at the beginning, if you didn't have a goal for last year to create that goal. And then I want you to actually say: 'OK, what are all the little pieces that I wanted to have happen this year?'
Like I said. So for instance, the seat at the table. That I wanted to feel like I was more engaged in leadership conversations. I wanted to build more of a relationship with the CEO.
Now, all of those little wins work really well in our favor because they help us get closer to a promotion, a higher level leadership position. And then in the short term, they help us feel like we're making a bigger impact on the organization. And oftentimes we can actually see the fruits of our labor, we can actually see the results happen, and we can actually see that we are, in fact, affecting the bottom line of our organization.
So really looking at what is a promotion besides a title? And just thinking about it for yourself: 'Did I get closer to any of those things? Or farther away, or am I feeling very stuck right now?'.
So this is how you're going to look back and really start to evaluate 2020. See what's working for you, what to do differently in 2021, and create a plan for that success.
I also want you to create a plan for how you're going to stay on plan. So whether it's that you have a simple career vision document that you're going to look at once a month or you're going to have regular professional development conversations with your boss. So you need to be prepared for those. So you're going to be checking in regularly. Or you're going to get some sort of outside support or accountability. Like a mentor or a coach, or build your network, or join an organization so that you have some sort of outside accountability.
Because here's the deal: 80 percent of corporate managers at that middle management or director level say that they're too busy at their job to focus on their own professional development.
So creating a goal to focus on your own professional development in 2021 is a very good goal to have in finding a way, setting yourself up to succeed, and actually hitting that goal is even better.
Because the time is now, the time is now for you to get promoted into a senior executive leadership position.
And thank you so much for listening to my podcast, because I am honored to help you make that happen. See you next week. Bye!
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.