Play on Team You

By the time we reach our twenties we’re functioning all by ourselves. We’re now ‘proper grown ups’, we’re officially adults.

Our choice in shoes is our own and we are the only ones to blame for each fashion faux pas. We’ve made mistakes, we’ve learnt. We know that there’s still a long way to go but we can look at our successes, so far, with a cheeky smile.

So why is it that then, when it comes to our Career, so many women lack the confidence they need to make the Next Big Decision?

Why can’t we trust our own self-knowledge and experience, shake off our nerves, and step forward?

Recently I was amidst a Career crisis. I had, to all intents and purposes, ‘made it’. Aged 24. Working as a Director overseeing a large Marketing Department I had a raft of responsibility and flexibility. My schedule was my own and the perks were to die for.

When I was head hunted for a new role in the banking sector, at a lesser salary, I was more surprised than anyone that I wanted to say “YES!”

Secretly I knew that by working 24/7, my skills were stagnating and I was becoming institutionalized. My CV screamed for new opportunities.

It was simple – I would ride into the financial sunset without a care in the world.

But then I started to doubt my decision. And that’s when life became complicated.

I started by asking advice from several, trusted, female colleagues who had mentored me over the years. Of course, I threw a man in there for good measure. I listened intently – I even took notes. Days were spent drawing diagrams, scribbling pros and cons lists and cross referencing my sources. If complex, my new approach was nothing short of thorough.

A week later, I was in turmoil. I returned for more advice, asked more questions. My office had become a rainbow of sticky notes stuck to every surface in some attempt to order my thoughts.

The consensus was that I should stay. I was perceived as ‘living the dream’ and was told to ‘count my blessings’ and enjoy my ‘time at the top’. My head was a spin with clichés. No opinion was the same.

Emotionally exhausted I simply felt guilty that, not only did I not agree with their advice, but that I wasn’t confident enough to make my own decision. I was on information overload.

My situation came to a head, one week later, when our connection networks went down. There was no email – no phone. Professionally, I was alone – but I finally had time to think.

I realised, I was already successful. I had forged my own career. Why? Because, up until now, I had made my own choices. I knew myself. I knew where I wanted to go – and I had a damn good idea about how to get there.

My only downfall was that, when asking for the opinion of others, I had forgotten to listen to my own. I forgot that I had a brain – and that others, although full of care and concern, would always be guided by their own experiences, not mine.

By the time I was reconnected with the outside world my decision was made. The next day, I called my new Director and told him I was delighted to accept the role.

Looking back, it was my lack of self-confidence, and belief in myself, that almost cost me a role that I now adore.

The reasons for my move were plentiful, and my logic, albeit flawed, was my own. I’ve made a decision that I’m proud of – and confident in. If I fail, I only have myself to blame. And if I succeed then that will be the icing on the cake.

So, if you have a difficult Career decision to make – ask your own advice first.  

Be strong and believe in your goals. Take yourself for coffee and find out what Team You thinks. Choose the direction that’s right for you. Listen to others, but make your own decision.

Remember, when it comes to your Career, you are your very own best friend. You’re already on the Winning Team.

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