Are you content with living a life of mediocrity? Or are you someone who wants to do something, get somewhere, explore your abilities, create opportunities? Do you want to carve out a future for yourself, be proud of your achievements, be happy and energised by your life and your prospects? Do you want to climb that career ladder and find the magic button that makes you a success?
If the answer is ‘yes’, then be radical and become a crusader!
Staying narrow-minded and stuck in your own little box – trying to follow what your brothers, sisters, parents, significant other, friends or colleagues do/have done – won’t get you anywhere.
But what does ‘being a success’ actually mean? Well, each person has their own vision of success, and you have to discover what success means to you (but that is for another article!). Whatever it is, though, if you really want to get somewhere in your career (and life), instead of settling for living in static mediocrity, you have to DO something. You can’t just wish and hope; you can’t wait and think it will appear miraculously in your lap… It means stepping out of the ranks, pushing the barriers of that infamous ‘comfort zone’ and actually creating ripples…. Or even great big waves!
Some absolute fundamentals you need to understand very clearly:
- Don’t whinge, complain or bleat about why it hasn’t/won’t happen. Whingers are the worst kind of self-pitying, lazy, non-people.
- ‘I can’t’ should be forever deleted from your dictionary…
- ‘I might’ and ‘I will try’ – should be deleted too. Either you do it or you don’t, so don’t waste your breath and everyone else’s ears by rambling on about fluffy ‘possibilities’.
- Don’t do something just to please or fit in with someone else’s ideas or ideals – it is your life; your career; your future. It is YOU who has to want to achieve something.
- Don’t make excuses (or worse still, call them reasons) about why you can’t do something – there aren’t any excuses; only choices.
- Don’t think for one moment that laziness, slacking or taking it easy is ever an option. All that does is keep you in the zone of mediocrity.
- Be totally, brutally honest with yourself. For one thing, you will drastically reduce stress if you adhere to this. A large amount of stress comes from lying to yourself and your subconscious being uncomfortable about it, rebelling against those lies. This honesty with yourself will let you become a much happier person: you won’t be living a lie, you will learn to know yourself better, you will make more focused choices – all for the right reasons. You will be able to use your innate strengths and talents because they will be aligned with your inner beliefs and values. Also, you might discover things about yourself that lead you on to accomplish bigger and better challenges!
- Think laterally and creatively. Use every new opportunity or challenge as a new way to grow yourself, learn more skills, acquire more knowledge and expand your ideas.
- Be energetic and dynamic – not only at work but in areas outside work. Go to the gym three times a week, or be active in a sport three times a week; go to art classes, learn a language… whatever appeals to you, do it regularly – or do two or three different things. The more you do, the more energy you will have – and I’m NOT talking about going to restaurants or the pub three times a week either – that is neither dynamic nor energetic, and will probably just make you depressed, tired, overweight with regular hangovers, and therefore useless at work!
- The more you focus, the more you do, and the more organised you have to be – therefore, the more you achieve.
- Achievement generates satisfaction, happiness, enthusiasm, dynamism and energy… so you see it becomes a happy energy circle. (It’s also a great way to let go of that negative vicious circle that was holding you back before!)
That was a bit of a digression – OK, a long one! – but you have to understand the dos and don’ts before you can progress to this next bit. So, now let’s get back to the original statement:
Be radical; become a crusader!
Think outside the box; start having radical ideas and crusade about them… This helps you become more agile mentally – more adaptable, flexible and capable of rising to challenges and finding satisfactory solutions more easily. What other results do having radical ideas and becoming a crusader have for you?
a. It gets you noticed
i. by your colleagues as someone who can help in difficult situations (good working relationships develop with this too)
ii. by your superiors, favourably and as someone to keep in mind for new projects and promotions (brownie points and potential rising star with this – yayyy go for it!)
b. When you have a radical idea it stimulates the brain and the creative juices on how best to enable it = enthusiasm, energy, so you feel good! Positive reaction!
When you have a radical idea AND you believe in it, you can start to crusade about it. I don’t mean you should become an aggressive, screaming harpy, but be an intelligent, persuasive ambassador for the idea and the benefits and advantages it can bring to you, your colleagues, your company… This has numerous benefits and advantages to your career – not least that you will probably be doing something to improve conditions for your colleagues.
Bear in mind you need to think about it, analyse how it can be done and present it intelligently – but that said, when you crusade for something you believe in, you give yourself an instinctive training in feasibility studies, presentation, negotiation, implementation skills, project management and leadership. It also marks you out as a person with vision, commitment, enthusiasm and ambition – all of which help to boost your personal life as well as your career in business. What’s not to applaud?
Realistically, you only have one option so Be radical – become a crusader!
(N.B. If ever you feel your crusading resolve weakening, I have only two words to say to you: Emily Pankhurst. The famous Victorian suffragette leader achieved what appeared to be utterly impossible at the outset — obtaining the right for women to vote. And not only was her own commitment to her cause unshakeable, but she inspired countless other women to take up (virtual) arms as well. That is what crusading is all about! )
Ideas on what you are going to do in the comments box below please… I will be giving you an actionable radical idea each month during this series so keep your eyes open 🙂
Speaker, consultant, trainer and coach for senior executives in International Relations, International Business Development, Career Transitions, Corporate Gender Balance Strategy and Women’s Career Advancement with over 25 years experience in international affairs (media, import-export, energy and investment/commercial real estate), Anna started her career in the City [of London]. She worked primarily in press, shipping and oil before moving into investment/real estate, spending several years in Bermuda, Spain and France as well as periods in the States, Canada and Italy. Anna is a strong advocate for women and is deeply involved in the cause Libert’Elle, supporting women victims in finding their freedom and new opportunities in life. On the personal front, she is a committed dog lover and accomplished horsewoman, passionately interested in ballet, and a devotee of adventurous hiking and trekking.