12 Steps to Being Your Own Hero in Your Career

12 Steps to Being Your Own Hero in Your Career

“The Cavalry Isn’t Coming.”

Those words caught my attention when uttered by a panelist during one of the innumerable Zoom programs I attended while working from home during the pandemic. Her message was that, unlike in the classic Western where the Cavalry swoops in to save the day, when it comes to your career, you must be your own hero.

You must take charge and go after what you want. You cannot count on someone to rescue you or hand you exactly what you want, unbidden.

The person with the most power over your career is you. You’re the one in charge of your thoughts, words, and actions, and making the decisions. Most of all, you’re the one most invested in your overall success and happiness. So, you must take responsibility for your own career advancement.

The 12-Step Program:

1. Clarify and state your goals, and write them down.

2. Ask for what you want and need to accomplish them, even if it’s for advice on how to get there.

3. Keep track of your own progress. Proactively seek experiences and exposure, training, and business development opportunities to fill in the gaps.

4. Refuse to be window dressing, especially if you “check the boxes” on the diversity front. Make sure you get real hand-on experience and exposure.

5. Fight for what is rightfully yours, such as business origination credit, author credit, and spotlighted speaking opportunities.

6. Ask for frequent, candid feedback and act on it. Accept unsolicited feedback—especially if it’s negative—as a gift.

7. Identify role models and ask for their mentorship and sponsorship.

8. Build your support network both inside and outside your firm.

9. Step up and be seen. Don’t be shy. Let  others know about your wins.

10. Build your confidence and fight the imposter syndrome. Don’t just fake it till you make it; believe in yourself.

11. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to begin. Start where you stand and take the first step. Then, keep moving.

12. And be kind to yourself every step of the way.

Valerie Fontaine
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