As you’re reflecting on what you want to accomplish this year, I want you to really think about these two questions:
Where do you see yourself at the end of 2021?
And… (this is a big one): What changes do you need to make to ensure that this vision actually comes true?
If you’re looking for inspiration and practical advice on what you can accomplish this year, read on…
In this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I reveal the top career lessons I learned from my clients over the course of 2020.
These are clients who committed to their professional development last year, said ‘yes’ to growth before they said ‘yes’ to feeling safe, and accomplished HUGE things as a result.
(I’m not exaggerating when I say that some of these accomplishments brought a tear to my eye!)
So whether you want to land a big promotion in 2021 or simply get back in control of your time and feel amazing at work, this episode is for you.
If you listen to this episode and think to yourself “I want to act like a senior executive now”, then my 6-week group coaching program is just the thing for you. I designed Executive Ahead of Time to help corporate leaders like YOU access the skills, confidence and unparalleled support you’ll need to reach a higher level executive position. Learn more at www.ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com.
What You'll Learn:
- Practical ways that you can lean-in to your professional growth this year
- The surprising connection between talking too much in meetings and getting stuck in the weeds
- Why you need to start delegating before you have direct reports (and how)
- How to shift from being the subject matter expert to become an influential leader in your organization
- The power of focusing on what you can control
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ep #22: Redefining Success During the Pandemic: A Conversation with 3 Senior Leaders
- Ep #43: How To Accelerate Your Career: Real Life Examples From Three Corporate Managers On The Rise
- Join the January cohort for my 6-week group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer. And happy 2021! Congratulations. We made it. We have made it to another year. And I'm so grateful to be here with you guys, as always.
So one of the things that I am extremely grateful for in 2020, among other things like my health and my business and my clients and my family and all of those great things, is this podcast. And this podcast has been essential to not only growing my business and growing my own personal thought leadership, but also in how I've been able to support you guys. How I have been able to actually help corporate leaders advance their careers. So through this podcast, I'm helping people that I've never even met before. And it's so amazing when you guys reach out to me and you say things like: 'I've been listening to your podcast for six months. I've been applying what you talk about on your podcast, and I actually owe my most recent promotion to your podcast and what you're teaching us.'.
And so, as you know, I celebrated 50 episodes, a full year of this podcast, and I was asking you guys to do reviews because I wanted to hear from you and I wanted to also continue spreading the word because there's more and more underrepresented corporate leaders that need to hear this message, that we can take back control of our career and get ourselves promoted into that next level of leadership.
So before I get started, I want to give a huge thank you to one of my reviews from Rich. Rich wrote:.
"Inspirational. I recently discovered Stacy's podcast and have found her advice to be inspirational and very motivating. She is so encouraging, positive and has a wealth of knowledge. Her business acumen is spot on. I love how she tells stories to illustrate concepts and workplace misconceptions and always ties it back to how it can help us professionally. Visionary with a moving communication style."
Thank you so much, Rich, and thank you as my listener, for continuing to put in the work, continuing to do what it takes to get yourself promoted to that next level of leadership. I am so proud of each and every one of you and what you have accomplished in 2020. And I just really cannot wait to see what happens in 2021.
If you also would love to help support this podcast and spread my mission of getting a thousand corporate managers promoted into senior level executive positions each and every year worldwide, then I want you to go out and leave a review too. You can go to StacyMayer.com/iTunes. Go to Apple Podcast and scroll down and leave a review. Let us know what you think. It's incredibly helpful and I would be super, super grateful for that.
So in today's episode, I'm going to be celebrating three of the lessons learned throughout 2020 from my clients specifically. So I'm going to be sharing with you the stories of three of my clients who you have also heard from on this podcast.
So we'll be learning about Mellie's story and Sara's story and Jennifer's story. Each one of these clients have really committed to their own professional growth. They said 'yes' to growth before they said 'yes' to feeling safe.
Each one of these clients have made huge strides in their career, whether it's getting an actual promotion or just simply managing their time better and feeling better at work.
And the other thing I want to point out about every single one of them is that they've all been coaching with me for over a year, each one of them. Now, I have various different entry points into coaching and whichever one you choose is perfect for you, whether it's my six-week intensive Executive Ahead of Time or it's my six-month coaching package Promotion Accelerator. So each of these women have actually been part of my private coaching. And then it's a matter of saying yes to whatever that is over and over and over again, and that's how we get to the point where you've been coaching with me for a year or two years. Maybe you've been listening to this podcast for a year and then you finally decide to sign up for Executive Ahead of Time.
Whatever that is, you've been applying these principles for a very long time, and that's when you can start to see these results.
So I really want you to begin thinking about: where do you see yourself at the end of 2021? And what changes do you want to make sure are actually happening?
I did some interviews recently with some of the participants in the Executive Ahead of Time, the six-week group coaching intensive. And many of them said as a result of this program, that they realized that if you think that you don't need support, you're wrong. If you think that you can figure it out on your own, you're wrong. And why is that? It's not because you're incapable. It's actually just the opposite.
So being able to lean in to your professional growth and to say yes to it and to really commit to growing your career for a full year, it requires strength and perseverance, but most importantly, it just requires saying, 'yes', that I can't do this, I can't create and accomplish, what I want to create with the mind that caused the problems in the first place. We all need that outside perspective. It's very difficult to see our blindspots ourselves. So I want to encourage you, if while you're listening to these stories, to just really understand that this is 100 percent possible for you as well. Totally possible for you as well. All you have to do is say yes to getting support.
Now, another thing that I want to share with you before I get into these stories is I actually created Executive Ahead of Time to speed up the coaching process. So what do I mean by that is that I've been coaching for several years, coaching corporate managers to get promoted, and one of the things that I noticed is that I could teach them what I teach them in the 1:1 coaching, in a group coaching format. And not only does it speed up the process, so you get in six-weeks in the Executive Ahead of Time program, you get what I would do in 1:1 coaching for three months. Not only does it speed up that process, but it also gives you that community. So you have other corporate executives who are going through the exact same challenges as you. So you feel really supported. You get out of your head faster, you start to realize you're not the problem. It's just the fact that you don't have the communication skills necessary to actually ask for what you want. So it's so important.
And so Executive Ahead of Time is basically the product of 1:1 coaching distilled into six weeks. And it gives you all of those tools in a very rapid, very collaborative, and enjoyable format. And then after that, then we can dive into the 1:1 coaching and really go deeper and really make strides and really make changes into how you're showing up at your organization so that we can, in fact, get you promoted into those senior executive leadership positions and also make sure that you have success once you get there. Because I have no desire to have you get to the top and be burned out and working 80 hour work weeks and spending no time with your family. That is not, in fact, my goal.
So Executive Ahead of Time, if this feels interesting to you, if you listen to what I'm talking about on the podcast and you're like: 'alright, I'm ready. I'm ready to get the support.' Good news. It's actually open for enrollment. This is the January cohort. If you go to ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com you're going to get full access to all of the modules instantly as soon as you sign up for the program. And then group coaching starts on January 20th. So make sure you get signed up. This is the last time to get signed up before March. So we want to make sure we get you in there so that you can start this year off right and really make the advances to your career that you want to be making.
So now let's get into these stories of these three amazing women.
Now, first of all, I want to say all of my coaching clients are amazing, but there really is something special that happens once you commit to long-term growth, meaning once you commit to the coaching, to doing this work basically for the rest of your career.
And think about a senior executive leader that you know who doesn't have a coach. You may not know that they have a coach, but if you start asking them or telling them that you have a coach, they're going to be very impressed. And they're also going to say: 'Oh, I couldn't have gotten here without my coach.' It's almost hands down. This isn't a biased perspective. Go out, ask the questions, see if it's true for you. So this is what's actually happening.
So let me tell you a little bit about some of their stories. So Sara is a senior manager. She's absolutely incredible. She works in Silicon Valley here near close to me. And I'm in Berkeley, California. And she is just a powerhouse. She works hard. She thrives on working hard. She thrives on doing it all. And unfortunately, she also thrives on doing it all herself.
So she didn't actually have any direct reports when we first started coaching. And she felt like she had to wait until she was in a vice president position before she could start delegating. She felt like she had to figure it out first, that she had to prove herself, that once she was able to prove that she was worthy, that she could do all of the things, then she could start delegating.
And I offered her another way. And that other way was: why don't we start prioritizing now? Why don't we figure out what you should and shouldn't be doing now?
And another thing I want to mention about all three of these women is that if you meet them now and you met them a year ago, literally anybody, not just me, who knows their inside track, knows they're a different person? And by different, I mean an elevated, more grounded, more spacious human being. And Sarah is, in fact, one of those people. It's almost as if now she can't put herself into the weeds because she realizes that that is not her performing at her best.
So the first thing that she had to start working on is listening. She had to learn how to listen to the people around her. Because the thing is, when you're trying to do it all yourself, what you're also doing is you're talking all the time. Like, if you're if you're the type of person that finds herself always in the weeds, you probably find yourself talking and coming up with answers a lot. And so I started to show her that she could find the answers in other people.
Another thing that she taught me is that you can delegate up, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. And she actually would tell her boss: 'I think you need to run with this. I think this would actually be better for you to handle and let me handle these other things.'
Huge, huge. Of course, her boss agreed with her. Of course, her boss said to her: 'Yes, you are so right, Sarah. That is exactly what we're going to do.' So she started to instill trust in her boss. And the other thing that Sarah taught me is that you can delegate before you have direct reports.
So she learned how to delegate to her peers. She learned how to delegate to outside consultants. She ended up getting a direct report very early, quick in the process. And then now she actually created a path so that she has three direct reports coming on, three new hires, coming on in 2021. And one of the things I asked her on the podcast interview that you can go back (I'll link to these interviews in the show notes afterwards) is that she talks about how. She wouldn't have been able to get those three direct reports if she didn't start to learn how to delegate first. So this is something I really want you to start thinking about is: 'How can I start delegating now? How can I pull myself out of the weeds now versus later, versus when I get the position. Because it's so important to show leadership that you're ready to lead at that higher executive level. That is literally what becoming the Executive Ahead of Time is. How can I show them that I can handle this? And then as soon as she started to shift her behaviors, then they gave her three direct reports. Of course they did. Of course they did. So, Sara, thank you so much for all of the lessons that you taught me in 2020.
So next up, I want to talk to you about Melley, Melley is an incredible leader in the biotech space, and she is... It was funny, I was looking at her LinkedIn profile, and she's one of those people who really downplays the importance of title, because I was like: 'What is her title?' Because she never talks about it. She just feels her organization is very "fair" in terms of compensation and influence and title doesn't necessarily matter at her organization. But let's say she's at the director level. But I notice on her LinkedIn profile, it says 'head of', 'head of', 'head of'. And I always say that whenever you're the head of something, one of the challenges is, and this is just a side note for those of you who don't put a lot of importance on titles, is that when you transfer to another organization... So Mellie has been at her organization for, I think, 18 years, and she has no intention of leaving. But if you transfer it to another organization with something like 'head of' on your title, one of the challenges is it doesn't translate to the new organization. They're not exactly sure where to place you. So in my opinion, title is important, but in her case, she doesn't feel that way. And I think that's also beautiful, right? It allows her to focus on what is really important to her. So that is the first lesson that she taught me in 2020, is just: 'Let's focus on the impact that we want to be making. It's not always about the title or getting a salary increase. Sometimes it's just about: am I able to really affect change at my organization?'
And so that was our benchmark. We just wanted to make sure throughout her entire coaching process that she's hitting those goals. Is she able to make that impact that she wants to be making at her organization?
So Mellie is an incredible leader. You can listen to, like I said, the podcast interview with her as well. But the lesson that I really wanted to point out is something that we actually just discovered recently and one of our coaching sessions, and that is that she shifted her top five strengths.
And I want to give you guys a brief lesson on Strengths Finder and think about what that means. So Strengths Finder is through Gallup and it's assessment that you can take online. And it's also an assessment that I give all of my clients as well through the promotion accelerator 1:1 coaching program, and we really think about what are those top five strengths.
And in general, your strengths don't shift a lot. So you're not going to have a very bottom strength, like strength #34 move up to strength #1. But depending on your areas of focus, at whatever point in your career, you're going to see some shifts. So when we first started coaching, so this is the other great thing is having benchmarks in coaching is huge. So if you have a coach already, I would encourage you to start to incorporate assessments and especially assessments that you can take over time.
So we took those strengths finder assessment at the beginning of our coaching, which I think was actually in 2018. No, probably 2019 when we started coaching. I don't think we've been coaching three years, so over a year and a half.
So when we first started coaching she took the Strengths Finder assessment. And inside of these top five strengths are these domains and categories. And I'm not going to go into those details right now. But let's just give you a high level overview, which is that all the strengths fall into four categories: executing, strategic thinking, relationship building, and influencing.
So in Mellie's top five strengths, a year and a half ago, most of them, two or three out of the five fell under executing. And that's really how she saw herself. She saw herself as an executer. She knew the answers. She was a subject matter expert. She had been at the organization and also in her group for a very long time. So she knew the ins and outs and she was always coming up with the answer. She was always solving problems. Through coaching, I showed her how to be a leader. How to actually have influence, to influence her team, to pull herself out of the weeds, to make sure that she was really thinking strategically and offering value at the higher organization level. So then she takes the Strengths Finder assessment again very recently, and literally my mouth dropped. So three out of her top five strengths are now influencing and executing for her is a little bit lower. It's in the 7s and 8s, it's not in the top five.
So she still has execution in her strength, she can still rely and pull on execution, but she totally shifted her focus. She is now focused on how is she influencing behavior? How is she influencing the other leaders on her team? What is the impact that she's making on people? What are the conversations that she's having?
And again, if you meet her now, she's a different person. She is so much more confident and solid and driven and motivated and in all of these things existed within her a year and a half ago. But they're just on the surface now. They're in the front. And so I'm so grateful for that lesson that you can shift the strengths and you can actually look at the data and see how much you've improved over a year and a half and just really grateful for the work that she is doing and able to provide to her company.
And last but not least, let's talk about Jennifer. So Jennifer is a powerhouse. She is absolutely incredible. And you have heard her on my podcast as well. She is a vice president of sales in higher education. And the story that I want to tell about her is this idea of perseverance. Un fricken believable.
I remember very vividly in March 2020 and I'm almost getting goosebumps. So she works in sales and higher ed study abroad programs. She's not going to be able to sell said study abroad programs if people can't travel because of covid. And one of the things that we really worked on very early on, like six months earlier in 2019, was getting her out of the weeds. That she couldn't be on the court dribbling the basketball and trying to shoot hoops and saving the team, she had to be on the sidelines and coach them from the sidelines.
So we had been doing this work for a while. And I wasn't sure what to expect in our coaching calls in March and April. I honestly was like: 'I don't know. I don't know what she's going to do. She's in sales and that's her entire job. And in an industry that's not able to go anywhere.'.
And she was like: 'Stacy, I got it. I'm on it.' She was so confident. And 100 percent the reason is, is because she was able to pull herself out of the weeds. She was able to think more strategically. And this is the lesson that she taught me in 2020, is: focus on what you can control.
So while other sales leaders, even at her organization or in other industries, were focusing all on all of the drama and what was happening and all of the things that were being taken away from her, she was focusing on what she could do, what she could do differently, and how she could really affect change. And wouldn't you know it, she not only hit her targets, but went above and beyond her normal targets. So in March, April, May, I think in June, she had the highest sales numbers, higher than in 2019. She had higher sales numbers. Let that sink in for a moment. The only reason she was able to do that is because she pulled herself out of the weeds and really thought bigger and thought about: 'What can I control? What is within my control?'
When I think about Jennifer in 2020, it brings tears to my eyes. Not only is she just a complete and total rock star, but the difference that she is making, not just at her organization, but as a role model to other sales leaders, as a role model to who and what is actually possible, is just everything. And she humbles me. And I am just so grateful for what she has been able to do. And I am thankful that I could play a part in that and that she's continuing to grow and to say: 'Stacy, OK, what's next? What's next? Let's see what else I can accomplish.'.
Because here's the other thing I want to share with you before I go is that once we pull ourselves out of the weeds, once we kind of get our legs underneath us, because all three of these leaders, they're now confident in their leadership. That is not a question. It's not a question of if they should be a senior executive leader. The question is really just when? When is it going to happen? When am I going to be able to make that shift into senior executive leadership? When is the title going to match where I'm at? So each and every one of them are already doing the work of being a senior executive leader. So once you do that, once you become that Executive Ahead of Time, then you can focus on what really matters in the world.
So each one of them, every single one of them, where the coaching is shifting now is: 'Oh, what do I want to do? What do I want to do in PR and marketing? What do I want to do in biotech? What's the impact I want to make in the sales community? What boards do I want to be on? What mentorship do I want to start doing? What is my legacy as a corporate leader?
That is the work that you're able to do once you can get yourself out of the weeds and into a position where you're really able to buy-in and to say: 'You know what, I am a badass corporate leader and nothing is going to stop me.' That is totally possible for you. Your time is now. It's time to become the Executive Ahead of Time. Don't wait. Don't wait. We need you in a higher level executive position. Your organization needs you in a higher level executive position. And the world needs you in a higher level executive position. No joke. It may sound big, but it's important. Each and every one of you have the power to change the face of the leadership table. And I am so honored to be able to help you to get there. Thank you so much. And I'll see you next week by.
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 “Women Changing Leadership 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.