It Takes Courage to Upgrade Your Career
In your career or business,
Are you ready for a bigger challenge, your next level?
Are you feeling this nagging voice that something needs to change but nothing’s moving?
Are you frustrated because the decision-makers in your organization overlook you when it comes to the most appealing projects or to promotions?
Most of the women who sign up for consults with me answer “yes” to one or more of these questions. Yet, both from my own experience and from my conversations with other top coaches, I know that only a small percentage of women decide to invest in themselves. The mothers among them wouldn’t hesitate to invest in their children’s careers… So why aren’t they equally eager to invest in their own success. That’s mind-boggling to me, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I’ve talked to women who have enormous potential but very apparently are struggling with inner blocks that could be removed if they just made a decision and a commitment to transform. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve seen it with my clients. And not only that: I’ve experienced it myself. Life gave me a few lemons, to say the least; and somewhere along the way, I had to make a decision to transform so I could stabilize my life and become a conscious co-creator of my success. That meant I had to invest both time and money in my transformation so that I could free myself from limiting blocks, stop repeating patterns and fully step into my power. At the time, I had already studied a number of ways to “do the work” myself, and I’d been doing it quite diligently. But I realized that it was just not enough. Like everyone else, I had blind spots that needed to be addressed; and like everyone else, I needed someone to hold me accountable. So I hired help. I was able to break through my blockages, and I stepped on the escalator.
That one thing that you need to invest in, may look completely different. What’s important is that you take time to consider your own needs…
Earlier this week, I attended a networking event for women, where a panel was discussing this reluctance of women to invest in themselves, although this specific event wasn’t so much about inner transformation as it was about outer transformation in the form of a powerful outfit (which of course reverts back to how we feel). There was a lot of nodding in the room, but I bet that 90% of the audience went home, and nothing changed. It’s too tempting to fall back into our habitual thought and behavioral patterns. We humans are creatures of habit. But that doesn’t always serve us… These were the thoughts that inspired me to write about this intriguing phenomenon, and if you’re intrigued as well, then I invite you to read on!
The first question is, why do we women tend to put ourselves last in the attention chain and how do we expect others to attend to our needs if we don’t even do it ourselves? Why are we compelled to take care of others first and of ourselves last? A lot of the reasons are rooted in our historical and cultural conditioning. It’s time to change this conditioning because:
We can only take good care of others when we take good care of ourselves. When we’re miserable, those around us get their share of it… if not now, then later. We must give ourselves permission to be and feel our best, so we can support others. – How do you do that? Make time for yourself and invest in what you need (the “put-your-own-mask-on-first” analogy).
Our children want us to be happy and live a fulfilled life (at least the ones I have met). Just think of yourself and your own parents: Would you rather have them sacrifice so you can have it all, while they are not getting what they need or want? Do you think your children want you to sacrifice for them? And… are you doing them a favor by sacrificing or are you possibly depriving them of their opportunity to grow?
Putting ourselves last eventually leads to frustration and dis-ease. All human beings have an innate urge to live a life that’s aligned with their purpose, to be successful in their careers, in what they consider their calling. When we suppress this need, we disappoint ourselves, we cultivate regrets, we get bored or frustrated; maybe even depressed and sick. And who will take care of us then? Or we end up feeling resentful against family members who we “deprived us” from this success, even though it was our own decision. This then can strain our relationship with our loved ones, which brings me to the next question:
What’s the cost of staying where you are?
What is it costing you to not invest in yourself – whatever that looks like for you,… whether it’s a class you’ve always wanted to attend, a babysitter or household aid so you can have regular “me” time, a new outfit, or coaching. Let me take the example of coaching because that’s what I know best. (You can repeat this exercise for anything else that’s on your wish list.)
When I ask women about the cost of staying where they are, most mention these three factors:
Lack of career progression (status, influence, reputation and money)
Under-utilization of their potential (absence of meaning and growth)
Strain on relationships (family, romantic partners, friends, and of course colleagues).
Any of these types of cost look too high to me, but what’s worse is that most women pay the combined price of all three.
So let’s assume you know what your cost is. The next question would then be:
What’s your expected ROI when you do invest in yourself?
Again, let’s take the ROI of coaching: There are many ways to measure your ROI. Not all are monetary, although that’s certainly an important factor, and most of my coaching clients experience a short- or medium-term shift in income, assuming they do the work.
Other types of ROI are positional (moving up in the ranks) or transformational (personal and professional growth at all levels). Many coaches rightfully expect a combination of different ROI results, and the use of an ROI measurement tool allows us to track and gauge everything as we move along. Here are some examples of ROI:
Monetary ROI: Let’s assume you invest $10,000 in a 6-month coaching program. As a direct or indirect result, you are promoted within a year, and you get a raise of $15-20,000. What’s your ROI? $5-10,000. But wait, that’s not all! Because of course you won’t only receive the higher salary once but every year. Plus, you will also experience an increase in anything that’s a percentage of your salary, like your pension fund or bonus, and your base for future salary increases will also be higher. This means your $10,000 investment can have a major impact on your income over the rest of your career and beyond.
Job satisfaction ROI: Think about how much time you spend at work. Would you consciously choose to spend all these hours in a way that’s frustrating or boring? When you get up in the morning, do you look forward to your work day? Do you want to spend quality time at work? Are your time and life valuable? Do you think you deserve to get compensated and feel fulfilled while doing the work you’re paid for? People who do what they love at work also become more stress tolerant, which again leads to better emotional, mental and physical health.
Emotional ROI: This is directly related to the previous point but really also to all of them. We are emotional beings, and stress through stagnation takes a toll on our emotional state. Taking action in the right direction leads to positive self-perception. As you move forward, your self-respect and self-esteem move up. You feel uplifted, “high vibe,” and this has an immediate effect on your mood and how you are perceived by others. Suddenly, everyone wants to work with you. You sleep better, feel more rested, and your family or partner will benefit as well.
Success ROI: Is success coming easy to you? Or do you need to work on your visibility, your speaking or meeting presence, your confidence? Whatever your current barrier to success, is the success you want worth breaking through this barrier? If so, why? Will it give you relief? Will you feel happier, more fulfilled, like you’re making a real impact? What if you could let your inner leader take control?
Team ROI: Can you rely on your team? How is your team interaction, accountability, performance? Is it easy for your team to generate timely quality output? Or is it operating at a sub-optimal level? Maybe it’s time to raise team effectiveness and creativity, for example through the application of specific Conversational Intelligence® tools and a more compelling leader presence? This usually also leads to monetary ROI for your team (higher savings, sales or innovation), which again boosts your reputation and success.
Self-actualization ROI: How much is it worth to you to look back at your life (when the time comes) and say: “I have no regrets?” A nurse recorded the 5 most common regrets of the dying. She found that the #1 regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” What is it that you expect of yourself, as the powerful being with unlimited potential that you really are, vs. the being that others expect you to be (most of the time not because they demand it from you but because they are used to seeing you at a certain level)? What is that thing? Is it represented in your current day-to-day work?
Look over the different costs and ROIs again. Is there anything you can relate to? If your answer is “no,” congratulations! If it’s “yes,” look the facts in the eye: There is a huge cost when you don’t make yourself a priority. And there’s enormous potential when you do.
And yet, as so many other women, you may still be hesitating to invest in yourself… Why is that? Do you prefer to stay in their comfort zone? – Does it really feel comfortable in your “comfort” zone when you feel stuck and can’t find your way out? Let me guess: It’s probably quite uncomfortable… Admittedly, it can also feel uncomfortable to make the move. It requires courage and effort to move out of that zone and venture into an uncertain area. It’s easier to stay where you are; it feels more convenient. That’s why I call this our convenience zone (rather than comfort zone). What’s waiting for you beyond your convenience zone? You don’t know because you haven’t experienced it yet. It’s this uncertainty, this fear of the unknown that keeps most people stuck. But what’s the worst that can happen when you face the fear? – You make a different experience, most likely a better experience… because what’s worse than staying stuck. Is that preferable to staying stuck? Yes or no? – I’ll let you answer that question for yourself.
And then, of course, there’s the worthiness factor. You’ve heard it over and over: women tend to feel unworthy (often on a subconscious level), so I won’t expand on it here… Let me just quickly quote a new client, who said earlier this week: “I immediately felt my self-esteem rise after signing up for my coaching program. It was a huge boost to my perceived self-worth.” After a long time, she finally granted herself permission to give attention to Self, and she realized that she wasn’t taking anything away from her family, quite the opposite.
So I’m asking you: Are you ready to take a stand for yourself, acknowledge your worth and get out of your convenience zone? Do you dare to be adventurous and align with your purpose? What would it feel like to be a full, authentic expression of yourself? As someone said at that event earlier this week, stepping into our next level through personal transformation often requires soul searching; it requires courage. Not everyone is ready to open that door. – Are you? Only you have the answer…
If your answer is“yes,” if you are ready to explore ways of stepping into your next level, then I invite you to sign up for a complimentary consultation. Let’s discuss what your new reality on the other side of that door could look like for you and what it would take to get there.
At Transform Your Performance, we measure your ROI.