Article written by Juliet Hall, for the EVE webmagazine
Working hard alone does not guarantee a successful climb up the career ladder. Intentionality does.
As a former 20-year corporate manager of two US billion-dollar companies, I decided early on to be intentional in my career and made a personal declaration that my quality of life means more to me than any amount of money and any kind of title.
My choice to be intentional inspired my discipline to plan, maximize my human capital, and achieve a work/life balance appropriate for me. The result was a corporate career of a lifetime. Within my 20-year span, I became a world traveler, led people and projects, consulted franchisees of million-dollar businesses, and worked and traveled closely with the CEO of a respected billion-dollar brand. In the process, I discovered and developed my gifts, those natural god-given abilities that projects a person’s value. I also became a highly compensated executive and received several awards before leaving the corporate system entirely to start my own business.
Simply put, successful people are intentional people. If you are just launching a new career and desire upward mobility, or if you are considering a career shift, then be intentional about the following fundamentals:
#1—Know your value.
Many people do not know who they really are and what makes them unique. Yet, the people who live and thrive at the top of the food chain are individuals who understand their value and leverage it purposefully. Think Oprah Winfrey, Isabelle Kocher, Sheryl Sandberg, Anna Wintour, and legends like Coco Chanel. These extraordinary women made themselves valuable not just to their organizations but to the world because they were courageous enough to pursue their interests and take risks.
Taking risks develops clarity and confidence around your personal value. This is because every risk taken, leads to a deeper revelation of your truest self. Like taking a test, you have to expose yourself to challenges and opportunities to get to the bottom of how much you really know, where you naturally excel and fall short, and what truly matters to you.
If you are unsure of your value, then begin with these questions and journal your responses:
- What do you do naturally well?
- What do others say you do well?
- What energizes you and makes you feel strong?
- How do you see yourself in your quiet daydreams?
#2—Work for a company that will also work for you.
When choosing an employer, you must decide whether you fit its culture. People generally tend to have a better work experience and evolve in environments where they thrive in the culture. Think of culture as sort of spoken, or unspoken, “natural response” towards people, business goals and priorities, and conflict. Understand that a company’s stated core values do not ultimately define its culture; leadership decisions do.
When scouting organizations to potentially work for, consider these questions to gain real insight of its culture and to determine whether or not you are a fit:
- Are the values of the company consistent with mine?
- Who are the executive leaders, what are they known for, and do any of them look like me?
- What is the company’s retention rate and why do people leave?
- How does the company show grace if a performance goal or deadline isn’t met?
- How are professional growth and development opportunities encouraged in the organization?
- Am I passionate about the goods or service for which the company is known?
- Does the company have a sound reputation and a loyal following of consumers?
#3—Develop and deploy your gifts.
Everyone is born with an inherent gift(s) that makes him or her unique. Your gifts make you valuable and create space for you in this world—not your education. There is something that you can do that no one else can, at least not quite like you. When you align your work with your area of giftedness, you showcase your value. The more valuable you are to an organization, the more you attract opportunities for advancement.
Gifts must be nurtured and developed, which happens as you embrace challenging assignments to utilize them. Working hard and doing good work are not the same as having a gift. The effects are different, for example:
- Your gifts will make a strong impression on others.
- Your gifts will feel like a natural extension of who you are.
- Your gifts will energize you and make you feel like a genius.
- Your gifts will cause you to stand out among the crowd.
- Your gifts will elevate you into the presence of important people.
- Your gifts will give you the platform to serve humanity.
Being intentional about these three fundamentals positioned me for a successful and fulfilling corporate career. I am certain that applying these fundamentals will do the same for you.
Juliet Hall is an international influencer and sought-after voice on the topics of self-discovery, women’s empowerment, and inclusive leadership. She is the creator of OWN YOUR OPPORTUNITIES™ (#OYO), an inspiration-to-action speaking and training platform that mobilizes people to discover themselves, develop their unique and innate abilities, and dominate their sphere of authority according to their specialized area of gifting. She is a former 20-year corporate executive of two US billion-dollar brands, Chick-fil-A and Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo). Her diverse background in corporate America includes areas in banking operations, management consulting for restaurant franchisees, corporate storytelling and external affairs.