Let me set the scene. Ten years ago I was travelling the world after graduating in consumer marketing. I had to work every day for six months as a waitress to save enough money to make this journey with my own money.
Explored the world and came home to feel… lost
After exploring India, Thailand and Australia I decided I was ready to start my career. I had big dreams and a big personality to match and the world of work was at my feet. As I started my first job I realised it was quite different to what I studied and I felt a little lost. What became apparent to me was who you are is as important as what you know.
If it scares you, then give it a try
Currently I present to senior members on a regular basis and it no longer scares me, in fact I really enjoy it. Ten years ago that wasn’t the case. The thought of presenting or being present at a meeting with the board made me nervous – nervous to be around such experienced professionals. What on earth could I offer to them?
I think my enthusiasm, passion and drive for anything marketing was obvious. I was regularly invited to meetings and invited to make a contribution. So, yes, it scared me, but I never missed a single opportunity and before I knew it, I was no longer scared.
Ten years later I thrive on commitment to my role and the challenges and opportunities it presents to me. I appreciate any opportunity to learn from experienced leaders. They share their knowledge and experience with me and shown me the kind of leader I want to become. You design your own career.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I am often asked this question and I give it a lot of thought each time the question arises. I realise that when an employer or colleague asks you this question they want to know your dreams and ambitions. They obviously play an important part in that journey but ultimately you have to drive it. It’s up to you, simple as that. During my career to date I have made career plans and while they haven’t always gone to plan, the curveballs life has thrown at me have influenced my career choices but they have certainly not defined them. Take the time to design the life and career you want. Don’t be defined by things that are out of your control, focus on things you can control.
Life isn’t always fair, but that’s life
I remind myself of this every day. Sometimes it’s just not fair and to be honest we all experience unfairness in life. Accept it and learn from it.
If there is a situation where you feel you are being treated unfairly perhaps consider that the person treating you unfairly is the one with the issue not you. One day you could be in a similar situation and the way you treat people can be different, and fair. See it as a lesson, if you didn’t have the experience of unfair treatment you would not understand how it felt. See unfair behaviour as an opportunity to learn how to be fair in all aspects of life.
Follow your gut instinct
There have been numerous occasions where I didn’t follow my gut instinct. Ten years ago I didn’t. I didn’t trust my own opinion enough and I believed other people’s more. I now realise that people will offer you their opinion but it’s their opinion based on their perception on life, only you see your life through your eyes so, make your own decisions because you will have to live by them. Sometimes you have to follow your gut instinct and go for it, or not, listen to your instincts as they are usually right!
Being assertive doesn’t make you bossy
People often confuse assertiveness with arrogance or rudeness.
I’ve grown up around very strong and assertive women and men. Never was it frowned upon to be assertive. I have a big extended family and we spent a lot of time together as children, teenagers and young adults. They were and are today very assertive individuals. So growing up being assertive was never described or seen as bossy. Over the past ten years I have heard many words used to describe assertiveness in women, such as bossy, aggressive, and pushy to name a few. I have also learned that strong leaders value assertiveness and see it as a valuable trait. Don’t let those labels change who you are.
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