I guess I would say this given my role, but COMMUNICATE! If you think you have made an error, communicate (we are only human after all). If you don’t know how to do something, communicate. If you have a brilliant idea, communicate. This is particularly important with your manager. Building an open and transparent relationship with my manager has probably had the most positive impact on my time at Apollo and where I am today.
Know your values, be clear on them, and stick to them. You don’t need to know where your career is going (the fun is in not knowing) but it’s helpful to know what’s important to you and your non-negotiables. This will serve you as you navigate the twists and when required to make career decisions.
Stop seeking perfection; it is actually holding you back! This is a hard one, and I am by no means saying produce poor work, but sometimes striving for perfection means the work simply doesn’t get done and you aren’t moving forward. There will be times standards need to be high, but not ALL the time. There will be cases where done is better than perfect; identify when that is and you guess it, communicate. Explain ‘this isn’t perfect but the content is there’, or ask before starting ‘is it ok to simply provide the data or are we sharing this externally’. You will be able to focus your energy where it matters. Let’s face it nothing is more demotivating than procrastinating.
Embrace what you bring to the table. I know what I’m not good at and I’ve been honest about it to people such as my manager and key stakeholders. Avoid wanting to be good at everything and lean into where you can excel and add value. Diversity is about is embracing differences and ensuring everyone meets their full potential; a good employer will support you in that.
Don’t be afraid to challenge. Share your ideas. Say when you disagree (politely). Your value isn’t in simply agreeing with how things have always been done, and it certainly isn’t to not share your thoughts and ideas; one of them could be the next big thing!
Networking is so useful and you just never know the impact one random conversation could have on your career, but it’s also scary. Whilst I think there is some merit in just getting yourself out there, this really can be hard for some of us (including me). Start by building your internal network. Reach out to someone you were in a meeting with, or have been working on a project with and start to share challenges, ideas, tips. This will build your confidence and then maybe you and that person can start external networking together.
Find yourself a mentor and ensure the relationship is built on trust (this will take time but is vital). This can make work feel safe and you know that whatever the issue/challenge/achievement, you can share this with someone in a positive and constructive way. For me this avoids things taking a turn or festering into something bigger. Also I know that person will champion me when I’m not there. I never regret a session with my mentor and always come away feeling positive and re-aligned.
Turn the idea of ‘imposter syndrome’ on its head and think of it as providing opportunity. If I’m the smartest person in the room I’m in the wrong room! Let’s just stop saying ‘imposter syndrome’ altogether!