If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you may have noted that I love year end and the new year. I like this time of year for reflection on the past and goal setting for what’s ahead. I attribute many of my accomplishments to having clear goals. (My career detours ALWAYS came at times when my goals were not clear!)
This month’s feature article is about a period in my career where I had come off a rough assignment and took the time to gain clarity on moving forward. At that point, I made a major career shift, much to the surprise of others. I hope you enjoy the article and that it gets you thinking about your own personal “brass ring”.
If you’d like support in gaining clarity, setting goals or raising your level of performance in 2018, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary session to see if coaching is for you.
I wish you all the best during this holiday season and many blessings in the new year!
Career Strategy: The Brass Ring
I’m an analytical person, which is why I chose a financial career. That professional path made rational sense to me at nineteen years old. I was also drawn to psychology at the time, but didn’t know how to make a living at it. Also, I didn’t understand that financial analysis could apply to more than numbers.
I did fairly well in my financial career, but it eventually wasn’t satisfying anymore. Was it a mid-life crisis? Burn out? Or maybe just a yearning to do what I had passion for.
During this unsettled period in my career I had a few revealing experiences triggered by reflection, coaching and coincidence. Something changed in me, and I finally gained the courage to pursue my passions.
I was previously approached by a senior executive at another company who wanted to hire me away to a very attractive job. After my “moment of clarity”, however, I thanked him for the flattering offer and said, “I don’t want to do technical finance anymore.” I’m sure he thought I was off my rocker. My career going forward would be focused on people and change.
I accepted a job in my company that my peers didn’t want. It was managing a diverse global group that had the potential to become a high-performance team. If properly developed, this team would drive change in other parts of the company. Ten days in, I was offered the position of Chief Financial Officer for another business. In a traditional career path, this would have been an amazing opportunity. I once again declined and that company also thought I was crazy.
When I told a friend what I had just turned down, she nearly screamed at me, “Susan, how can you pass up this opportunity? It’s the brass ring! You’ve got to go for the brass ring!”
For me the brass ring was no longer bigger, higher profile jobs. Now, the brass ring for me was about making a difference in lives and careers through driving change and developing leaders.
Since then, every job I took centered around leadership, change and developing people. My choices were out of sync with traditional expectations, and the pressure to conform and stay on my previous career path was strong. But I knew that was not what I wanted.
We all have different brass rings. What is yours?
Ted Talk: “The Price of Shame” by Monica Lewinsky
I was recently made aware of this video, the discussion of which came up when talking about all the sexual harassment revelations. Ms. Lewinsky has become an advocate, but not for what you might expect. Watch this to see her make a very compelling case for change (and be ready for tears).
Susan Hodge created Women Leading Together in order to provide one-on-one executive coaching, seminars, workshops, and coaching circles to help career women move forward to create fulfilling professional lives. Visit our newly redesigned website at www.WomenLeadingTogether.com
Invite Susan to speak at your organization, conference, special event or women’s group. All presentations are an interactive experience where each participant will come away with something new to support her career. Click here for a sample list of topics.