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Fortune favours the brave

How would you feel if I told you it’s ALL your fault?

That YOU are to blame? That it’s YOUR fault you didn’t get the promotion you wanted.

That it’s YOUR fault your job search is not yielding results.

That it’s YOUR fault your team are not performing.

Some of you might have stopped reading already, thinking “B**** off, I don’t have time for this! I want to read something that HELPS my problems, not just tells me its all MY fault.”

If that’s what you think at this point, you are more than welcome to stop reading and go find a friend at the water cooler to complain to about: not getting the promotion you wanted; not finding a great job; the state of your team.

For those of you brave enough to handle the truth – please, read on.

The real “Secret” to success

I run workshops for women lawyers in Sydney who are about to go on maternity leave. In the last workshop I ran, all of the women (except two) were getting ready go on maternity leave with their first baby. The workshop is part of one of my signature programs and helps the women get emotionally and practically ready for the major transition their career and life is about to go through.

Now given these women are about to take on a major new responsibility in life, I’m guessing some of them were distressed to hear me say they have another major responsibility to take on – the success of their own career.

Here’s the thing.

I don’t believe in “The Secret” or “The Law of Attraction”.

I don’t tell my clients to say 10 affirmations a day and their dreams will miraculously come true.

I don’t tell my client to just “meditate” on it and suddenly the answers to the more complex problems in their life and career will appear.

And I don’t tell my clients that if they can “dream it” they can “do it” because, frankly, there’s a whole load of c*** most of us have to wade through to make our dreams a reality, not least our own limiting beliefs about our ability to be successful.

Och aye, it’s true

Perhaps I can put my lack of “faith in the universe” down to my good old protestant hard working Scottish roots.

But actually, it’s this.

I hear far too many stories of people being passed over for promotion, or not getting the job they want, or the salary and recognition they deserve. And the reason I am hearing too many of these stories is not that they didn’t WANT it enough. Not that they didn’t DREAM about it enough. And not that they didn’t tell themselves every day “I can do this. I can do this.”

No. Here’s what I think.

Most people have zero idea how to take OWNERSHIP of their own career success. If they did, they would have asked for the promotion, learned how to sell themselves better to get the job they wanted, and showed how much value they bring to their employer deserving of a salary increase and recognition.

Controversial? Maybe.

But in our media fuelled culture of “I can have anything I want just tell me the quick fix on how to get it”, I would argue that we have allowed ourselves to externalize the responsibility for our own career success and believe that others will take care of it.

I love men too

Normally you’ll find me writing about topics on how women can achieve greater career success, but recently I’ve found myself working with many men who are finding themselves coming across the same issues as the women I work with.

So for the women reading this, I say this: This piece isn’t a debate about the role of diversity and quotas in business, so I will go out on a limb and say there ARE plenty of female role models out there for women in business. Women at the pinnacle of their career, who have worked hard to make it, who have taken ownership of their career and are doing what it takes to make themselves successful, and happy.

And for the men reading this I say this: It doesn’t matter a stuff whether you model the traits of successful male or male leaders in business. Just model the traits, not the body parts.

So what are those traits? Each successful career will follow a different path, but here are my thoughts on the top 5 traits I see.

1. Self-belief

If you have demons, get rid of them. Without 100% fully believing in yourself, you will find it difficult to convince others to believe in you.

Leave the stories of why you can’t be successful behind and create a new story that’s full of all the reasons why you will succeed.

Because SELF-BELIEF trumps SELF-DOUBT, every time.

2. Self-knowledge

If you don’t know what you are good at, how can you articulate it to anyone else?

Knowing your strengths; how to use them; and build upon them is key to success in business, and in life.

Because KNOWING trumps GUESSING, every time.

3. Tenacity

“What’s the worst that could happen? Everyone turned me down; big deal.” – J. K. Rowling

You have to be resilient and keep going, but not at any cost. Knowing when to walk away from a business idea, job, working relationship is as important as staying and being tenacious during the tough times.

Because RESILIENCE trumps RESISTANCE, every time.

4. Courage

Having the capacity and ability to step completely outside your comfort zone, on a regular basis, will guarantee personal growth.

And with personal growth will come professional growth.

With growth comes opportunity.

Because GROWTH trumps STAGNATION, very time.

5. Heart

When you make it all about you, you’re going to find yourself playing to a tough audience, time and time again.

Aim to add value – to your employer, your boss, your team, your colleagues – and do it from a place of authenticity.

Because REAL trumps FAKE, every time.

6. Act Now!

Successful career men and women don’t wait for conditions to be perfect before setting sail on their next adventure.

They embrace the choppiness, the lack of a clear line of sight and they move from the shore anyway…knowing that they can always set a different course if they need to.

Because DOING trumps TALKING, every time.

Now, about those affirmations…is there a place for them? YES. I know many people who affirm, meditate, cogitate and ruminate, on a regular basis.

There is a place for everything in anyone’s life.

Just don’t make the mistake of thinking those things will stand up and take 100% responsibility for your career success.

That, my dear, is entirely down to you.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can take ownership of your career to allow you to create a career you love, be rewarded for what you do and take control of your future, you might want to join me for a LIVE and FREE workshop, where I’ll show you exactly how to do just that. Click here to find out more.