Each year, I choose a word that sets the tone for my personal and professional goals. A mantra to say and live by. Last year, the word was “Alignment” and I helped my clients Find Career Alignment. This year, I’ve chosen “Grace” as my focus. I’ve focused my career on helping mid-career women get unstuck and I see many of these women beating themselves up for “not being enough.” They feel like they haven’t moved fast enough, achieved enough, or don’t make enough money in their chosen careers. On the flip side, I see women feeling guilty over not spending enough time with their families. It seems like every woman I encounter has felt like this at some point in their career. It’s easy to say “give yourself grace” and move on, but this is easier said than done. After nearly eight years in business, what I’ve found is that when you give yourself grace, you grow.
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
Every year I see people gear up for big change in the new year. They have resolutions and big dreams and are hoping to make monumental changes in their lives and careers. Then by February, they’ve become discouraged because they take an all-or-nothing approach. I’ve seen people set a resolution to get a new job and when they don’t land any interviews in January, they give up. This is how people get stuck.
Another thing we do as women is to compare ourselves to others. You will ALWAYS be able to find someone that is ahead of you in some respect. They might have a bigger job title, make more money, have more professional accolades, etc. But each of us are on our own journey. Comparing yourself to someone else means that you start to feel like your accomplishments are not enough.
The antidote to these feelings of “not enough” is to give yourself grace. I have a few ways you can do that in every phase of your career.
Finding Grace in Unemployment
We’re seeing several high-profile layoffs this year. They are surprising and shocking to the employees and really any unemployment whether you’re fired or part of the next round of layoffs is a shock to the system. Most people have a knee-jerk panic reaction to losing their job. They become desperate to find a new job immediately and some can fall into a depression. While you might need to find a temporary income source, losing your job is an opportunity to reset and get unstuck. If you loved your job/career then it’s an opportunity to find something even better. If you were stuck in a job, then it’s an opportunity to reevaluate your career goals and find a new path. The key to finding grace in unemployment is to start a new routine. Maybe that’s a fresh morning routine (Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning is a great place to start), a new fitness routine to boost endorphins, or going back to your childhood by taking up an old hobby like art or playing the piano. Instead of tying your worth and value to your career, connect it to a new goal or achievement.
Finding Grace in the Job Search
It can be easy to get discouraged in the job search. You start off strong expecting to land a new job right away, but then it takes much longer than you anticipated. This is where giving yourself Grace is important. My recommendation is to approach any job search by finding ways to have fun with it. So many people have a hard time talking about themselves or writing about their achievements on a resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn page. This is the best time to work with a career coach. Let a coach create a stellar resume and cover letter for you. Start the process off with strong materials. This is the time to take those new headshot pictures – get a new outfit and refresh your social media profiles. Pick out a new outfit for interviews that you feel confident and comfortable in. This should be an exciting and fun time – you are on the hunt for a great new opportunity – a new chapter in your career. Keep in mind that YOU are interviewing companies that YOU might want to work for – not the other way around.
Finding Grace in Your Career Journey
Find Grace in your career can be the most difficult thing to conquer. Squashing thoughts like “Why am I not a vice president yet?” “Why does she make 6 figures and I don’t?” “Why do some people get to take vacations and I’m stuck at work?” The list can go on and on. What you need to remember is that your career journey is unique to YOU. The journey is part of the process. To find Grace over the course of your career, start by adopting a gratitude practice. What things are you grateful for in your career? What have you accomplished so far?
While you’re out there comparing yourself to others, remember there is someone out there who wants what you have. A great way to remind yourself of this is to become a mentor. Help the younger generation get started in your industry whether you participate in a formal program, talk to schools, or meet with someone one-on-one.
Your career is more than just your job. You are part of a broader industry. You can receive accolades, certifications, and more outside of your job. While you’re comparing yourself to people that are further along than you, take a look at their professional development activities, certifications, and industry activities. Maybe you could guest write for an industry publication, speak at a conference, or learn a new skill. Get out of the mindset that your company is responsible for your career journey.
We all make mistakes or have moments where we aren’t at our best. Instead of giving up, you can reset and start again. Failure is a big part of growth. And the time you spend beating yourself up takes away from your ability to start fresh. Give yourself Grace, move on, and grow!
If you’re struggling to find Grace at any point in your career journey, we should talk. I offer a free consultation and I would love to give you a new perspective on how you can grow in your career.