The beginning of your career is so powerful.
And, whether you believe it or not, you are still at the beginning of your career, right now, as you read this.
And when I say you’re at the beginning of your career, I don’t mean that you haven’t achieved anything or made any progress.
I mean that you are just at the beginning of the amazing impact you are capable of making at your organization (and the world).
And being at the beginning of this impact, of your potential as a leader, is a good thing.
Yet to really take advantage of this, I not only want you to own that you’re at the beginning, but I want you to lean into a beginner’s mindset, too.
Because when you adopt a beginner’s mindset, you stop worrying about having every single thing figured out.
And instead, you get curious.
You start trying new things, putting yourself out there, and making small, meaningful steps Every. Single. Day.
And when you start doing that, you will advance your career so much faster than you ever imagined.
On this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I will show you three super practical (but powerful) steps that will help you embrace this beginner’s mindset and set yourself up to have even more recognition. impact, and success for the rest of your career.
What You'll Learn:
- How having a beginner’s mindset empowers you to make forward-thinking decisions
- Why your next promotion is ALSO just the beginning
- What having a beginner mindset actually looks like in action
- How not having a beginners mindset sets you up to get stuck later on in your career
- Three practical tools that will help you own your beginner’s mindset
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 super excited, as always, to be here with you again this week. So, at the time of recording this episode, I am preparing for a talk that I'm going to be giving at the upcoming Virtual Rise and Lead Summit. I'll be talking, of course, about how to get promoted and get the recognition that you deserve. But I wanted to also tell you a little bit more about this summit so that if you're interested in joining me, you can get registered right away.
I actually know the founder of the summit. Her name is Ebere Akadiri, and she is a phenomenal corporate badass, a powerhouse leader that created this summit several years ago in an effort to bring more inclusion into leadership. So, she brings a diverse community of powerhouse corporate executives together so that you can come in and you can join in networking, breakout sessions, and panels and in discussions. It's a very inclusive environment for three days. And Ebere is located in the Netherlands, so this summit is taking place with powerhouse corporate badasses all over the world. And I was looking at the lineup and the women and the men that I'm going to be presenting next to, and I was just absolutely in awe. We're talking corporate professionals from Pepsi, from Salesforce, executives running their own nonprofits, executive directors - Everybody that you could imagine that you just want to get in the room with and you want to learn from, and you want to soak up the information that they're to offer. And also, I will be presenting a fantastic new take and an interactive workshop on the work that I've been teaching you through this podcast on getting the recognition that you deserve - because we're all in this mission together - this collective mission of bringing more inclusivity to leadership by giving you the tools to get yourself promoted so that you can start to become that decision maker - so that you can empower more inclusivity in leadership. You can lift up other women, other minority leaders to the executive suite. So, I am so excited about this conference. I'm going to put a very special link in the show notes where you actually can receive a discount code if you register for this conference using that link. And so, it becomes a no brainer. So, I definitely hope to see you there. If you do decide to join me, I'm presenting on September 22nd, the first day of the conference. Make sure you let me know on social, tag me. Let me know that you've registered. Let Ebere know that you registered. So that we can all get really excited and focused and even get even more powerhouse corporate badasses like you to attend the summit so that we can start to rise together. I am super, super excited about that. And that also ties into the episode that I am going to be sharing with you today.
So, the big theme of today's episode is - it is only just the beginning. It is only just the beginning. And so, when I say those words, how do you feel when you hear it's only just the beginning? For me, when I hear those words, I feel relief. Because I feel like it doesn't have that pressure, whatever I mean by it. So, like this could mean anything for you, but it doesn't have that pressure, that tightness to figure everything out right now. For some of you, you might hear 'it's only just the beginning' and feel like, oh, my God, I have so far left to go. But my take on today's episode is really to get you in that frame of reference to understand that it's actually a really incredible and amazing thing, that it is only just the beginning. And I'm going to describe what I mean by 'it' in a few minutes. But I just really want you to sit with those words. And if it resonates with you, write it on a post-it note, add it to your computer. I know when you listen to my podcast, you probably have lots of post-it notes, lots of reminders all over your laptops.
I know that my graduates of Executive Ahead of Time have a whole wall of different reminders that they put in front of them throughout the day to keep them in that right frame of mind as they're approaching really difficult conversations throughout our entire day. And we have to remind ourselves why we're doing this because it keeps everything in perspective. So, my hope for you today in today's episode is to put it in perspective in the bigger picture, in the grand scheme of things, so that you can really start to realize that it really is only just the beginning.
So, the first time that I heard that sentence for myself and it really sunk in is when I attended a mastermind retreat in Chicago with one of my former business coaches. And she gave us coffee mugs when we attended this retreat that said, 'it is only just the beginning'. And that was that first moment where I just got this wave of high relief. Because for me personally, as I'm starting out my business, it feels like life or death. Like you have to figure out all of these decisions in the beginning or you're not going to make it at all. And for you, it probably feels that way, too. If you could just get it together right now, then you could get that promotion, then you could get that recognition. Then you could start making that impact. And so, it feels really tight and really heavy and just really straining. And so, when it doesn't feel like it's just the beginning, when it feels like it's life or death, if you don't figure this out now, your entire career is over.
Then you don't feel empowered to make forward-thinking decisions, what you do instead is you start to buckle down, focus on your work, do a good job. You say, 'Okay, the career development thing can wait. Right now, I just need to get through each day.' And when you start to behave that way, that's when it really starts to take a toll on you. When you feel that stress, when you feel like your shoulders are heavy, when you don't know what it is that you should do next, when you aren't sure where to turn - It's because you really feel like this is it. This moment right now, if you don't figure this out, this is it. But when you know that it is only just at the beginning, there is so much progress and hope and forward mobility that you can start to take action on right away from a place of abundance, from a place of like I want more in my life versus scarcity. If I don't figure this out right now, I'm going to be stuck forever. And so, I just really want you to start to own that and to really understand that it is only just the beginning.
Now, I'm going to go into explaining more about that in today's episode. I'm actually going to give you three practical tools that you can take from this mindset, from this thought - that it's only just the beginning -to start advancing your career even faster. You're going to notice that you make more traction in your career simply by starting from this place, that it is, in fact, only just the beginning. So that's the irony of it. When it doesn't feel like life and death, when you don't have that scarcity, that tightness - 'I have to figure this out right now or it's all over' - you actually make progress in your career even faster. And I'm going to show you why in today's episode.
So, I want to paint a little bit of a picture for you of a rainbow. And my daughter is six years old, and she loves rainbows. And I actually thought, 'oh, this is so wonderful that she loves rainbows' and that I've met all of her friends and they all love rainbows. It seems to be a thing for girls who are six years old, but she really, really, really loves rainbows. And when I look at the rainbows that she has created and are all over her wall in her room, and if she could paint her room rainbow, she would. And maybe we should just do that. I think about, 'okay, where were you at the beginning of the rainbow?' So, like let's just focus at the beginning of your career when you first started out. And then I want you to look at the end of the rainbow and think about for a minute, really think about, where you want to be by the end of your career - so by the time that you retire.
So, let's just say your rainbow is like a career and you have the beginning of the rainbow and then you have the end of the rainbow. And where you're at right now is the middle point of your career. So, most of you who are listening probably have already been working for about 20 years, and you have about 20 years left in your career. And so, you would think that the place that you were at on the rainbow is right smack dab in the middle. But I want to venture to say that you are much closer to the beginning of the rainbow. And so put the dial a little bit more to the left. Okay - just go with me here; and then continue to look at everything you have left in your career as three fourths of the rainbow. And I think this is such a helpful perspective, because when I look at the impact that my graduates are making, what they have been able to do with their career - once they figured out how to actually do the work that I'm teaching on this podcast - when they figure out how to make executive level conversations, how to influence at that executive level, their entire world opens up and they literally have three fourths of the rainbow of possibilities.
So, I'm going to share with you what that three fourths of the rainbow still is and see if that rings true to you. So now let's look back at the rainbow. You have your little marker much closer to the beginning than in the middle. Knowing that there is so much left for you in the rest of your career. And then I want to ask you, where does the next promotion fall on that rainbow cycle? And really think about this for you. So, it can feel like, again, your next promotion, because the way that you're acting now, it's like it's like 'I have to get this promotion because then I won't be able to accelerate into the rest of my career', which is basically true. You have to get into a certain level where you're able to make that impact. And this is why I give you the tools to really get promoted. So not just to have more work at work, but so that you actually have the title so that you can have that influence and make that impact to your organization, which then allows the rest of that rainbow to really unfold. But I want you to consider that your next promotion is also just the beginning. So, I said at the beginning of this episode, 'it' is just the beginning. So now I want you to insert 'your next promotion' is just the beginning and see how this feels for you.
And if it feels - again, check in and see where your headspace is - Does it feel heavy? Does it feel pressure, or do you feel like, 'oh, my God, I'm never even going to get that promotion. So, then the rest of my career is just screwed'? Or do I feel relief knowing that the next promotion really is just the beginning? And so, I want you to think about this. If you're a director and you're looking to get promoted to become a senior director, the bulk of the work that you are going to do for the next 20 years of your career is going to be at that vice president - senior vice president - at those higher executive levels. When you are going to be able to have that time freedom, when you are going to be able to build out that team of other leaders to feel so supported by your organization - to feel like you're having those higher-level conversations with the CEO - that's the bulk of your rainbow. When you're getting called in the middle of the night, not because you need to put out another fire, but because somebody wants to run a creative idea by you, an innovative idea, because they want to get your input on something that is directly impacting the organization. That is the work that you want to be doing for the 20 years. So, the first thing that we need to do is get your next promotion.
You have a lot more impact that you need to be making at your organization, and we need to get started now. And I don't say that from scarcity. I say that from love. Let's get you that next promotion so that we can do the work that you really need to be doing at your organization.
So, I'm going to paint a picture of a really fantastic corporate badass that I know. And she started out as a vice president. And when I first met her, she was a phenomenal leader. She reported directly to the CEO. She actually had a seat at the table. She was included in the conversations at her organization because it was a very small leadership team. But she was a vice president. So - she wasn't - she really didn't have that voice at the table because the other executives in the room were all at the C suite. So, they treated her like a vice president, which meant she was treated as the lowest common denominator in the room. And for you, if you're at a senior manager or a director level, you're like, 'oh, my God, I would love to be a vice president. I would love to be in that room'. But then once you get into that room, if you're not really making that impact and you don't have the influence that you want and you're just sitting in the meetings and you don't have that voice at the table, it can feel incredibly daunting and heavy.
It doesn't feel good to have that seat at the table if you don't really have that voice. So, she started to realize, 'oh, my goodness, I'm at the vice president level, but this is only just the beginning'. The real impact that I want to be making in the world for - in her case - the next 15 years of her career, is to really be engaged in that conversation, to have that influence, to make that bigger impact, because even though she got promoted to vice president, she didn't really; she wasn't able to communicate at that higher level. So that's the work that we did right away, how to engage her, how to engage other people, how to build trust with her CEO/boss so that she could do the work that she really wanted to be doing for the next 15 years of her career. So that is the work that I'm talking about to get you to that next level, which is still just the beginning of the impact that you're going to be making at your organization for the next 15 or 20 years.
Now, I want to show you how to actually use this tool -this mindset tool, this post-it note, this reminder - that you're going to use every single week, that 'this is only just the beginning' as a tool to really start to advance your career. So, the first way we're going to use this is - you've probably heard of the concept of beginner's mind. And this is something that I first came into contact with through Buddhist meditation. And I have been an avid meditation student and also a meditation teacher in my life. And there's books written about this idea of beginner's mind, and they talk about it a lot in the Dharma. And essentially what it is, is being humble enough to say 'this is only the beginning. I know nothing'. '.
One of the reasons that in Buddhist meditation that we take on this attitude of beginner's mind and why it is so effective is because it lets go of the ego. So, when I was saying things like 'this is only just the beginning' and it brings up fear and anxiety, that is because your ego is attached to it, to the idea of, 'I better figure this out'. If I don't figure this out, I'm screwed. If I don't and it feels very clingy, it feels very heavy. It feels hard to do. It feels like you're not capable of it. But when you have 'beginner's mind' and you really understand and have humility to learn and to say, 'you know what, this is just the beginning. This is just the beginning of my leadership journey. I know nothing. I don't even know how these next 15, 20 years are going to unfold.' It brings you back to that present moment of just listening, of just being curious, of being open.
Inside of Executive Ahead of Time, I am blown away by the executive leaders. So, again, just like the story that I gave you as well as the CTO, the senior vice presidents, the corporate badasses that are coming into Executive Ahead of Time to learn the basics. To re-learn, to reignite that beginner's mind. To say, 'you know what, I got promoted quickly and I scaled all of my bad habits with me. I still don't have a voice at the table. I'm still putting out fires in the middle of the night. I must have missed a step'. So, they go back to that beginner's mind to make sure that they understand the foundational principles that I'm teaching so that they can return and really make that impact, get started on their rainbow, because they have so much more work to do. So, they come back to that beginner's mind, and they say, 'oh, you know what, I skipped a step. I forgot to pull myself out of the weeds and my communication with the executive team. I am not advocating for myself. I'm not actively engaging in conversation. I don't have that 3X vision for my career. I'm not making decisions from that executive level place.' All of the process that I teach inside of Executive Ahead of Time, I don't have a career vision strategy document. It's like we skip those basic steps in order to advance our career, but then that's when we start to get stuck.
So having that beginner's mind teaches you also how to be a better executive when you are leading a team of other leaders; when you have a team of people that could potentially know more than you. That's a good thing. You have to be humble enough to see that, to connect with them. And you have to trust yourself and that you are going on this journey and you're going on this journey with them. And we're all in this world interdependent of each other. It is so profoundly powerful. And it makes you the executive that creates an inclusive environment at the top.
The second way that you're going to use this post-it note of 'it's only just the beginning', is you're going to stop thinking about your next promotion. And what I mean by that is you're going to figure out and you've heard me talk about 3X vision, because it's one of the steps in my process to becoming the executive ahead of time. You are really going to understand that your next promotion is just the beginning. So, you're going to paint that picture for yourself first of where you want to be three promotions from now; and then you're going to go to work on what are the things - so let's say if you're a director and you want to become - three promotions from now would be - a senior vice president.
You're going to ask yourself, 'what decisions would I be making today if I already was a senior vice president?' Me, not somebody else being senior vice president, but me as senior vice president. So don't think this has to be senior vice president even at your company. It's just me as a senior vice president. What decisions would I be making today? What relationships would I have? How would I be talking at executive meetings? How would I be managing my team? Would I be so focused on the details? And now not all of these things will you be able to implement right away, but you have an understanding of where you're headed. So, when you start to think about where you're headed, you become less clingy in the moment to getting that next promotion. So, you just start to be like, 'Okay, I need this next promotion." Of course, because that's what's going to catapult the rest of my rainbow. That's what's going to catapult the rest of my career and the impact that I really want to be making. But for now, I just need to start focusing on pulling myself out of the weeds in my communication with executive leadership. I can't go into my scorecard every single time that I have a conversation with them. So, you start to be able to make decisions in that way. You're really thinking about your 3X vision and then your next promotion becomes inevitable.
Inside of Executive Ahead of Time, the graduates that are coming out of this program, are receiving two promotions within a six-month time frame. I'm going to say that again, many of our graduates of Executive Ahead of Time will receive multiple promotions in a six-month time frame. Why is that? It's because when you become the executive ahead of time, you make your next promotion inevitable. So then very quickly, a second promotion happens right on the other side, because you're less clingy to needing. 'I have to get out, I have to get out, I have to get out of this.' And then you start being open to the possibility of what's next. Long term. Making decisions from your future.
Coincidentally, this is executive mindset. If you are a senior vice president, you need to be making decisions based on where you're headed, not resolving immediate problems. You always have to have a clear vision. You have to know how every single decision they are making impacts the future for your organization, the future for your team, and not just the immediate situation. So, you see how this works? And when you feel less clingy, you feel less desperate, you feel less of that scarcity, you feel open to possibility. You can have conversations with people even outside of your organization because you're not so married and tied to exactly what's going to happen next - in the next two months for you.
And the third and final way that you're going to use this idea of 'it's only just the beginning' is literally how to make decisions on your every single day. You're going to start saying 'no' to meetings. You're going to have those higher-level conversations. You're going to bring the vision into the conversations immediately with your boss, because your next promotion is only just the beginning. You are going to feel more excited about your work. You're going to be more motivated to make that bigger impact. If there's a decision that you're sitting on, like leaving your company, or leaving your department or working for a different boss, you're going to get rid of that. You're going to say, 'Okay, if this is just the beginning, I just need to move on.' You're going to make better decisions for your long-term goals and not just for where you're at right now.
So, I hope as you're listening to this episode that - that picture of the rainbow - knowing that your next promotion is just the beginning. If you're somebody who recently got passed over, you're feeling incredibly defeated. You're not sure what to do next. Go to the end of the rainbow. Look at where you're headed. Remind yourself of the impact that you really want to be making over the next 15, 20 years of your career. Put yourself back on that executive path. Reignite your flame for becoming that corporate badass that you know you are meant to be and get back to work for the future vision of yourself. Thank you so much for listening. And I'll 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 “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.