Midway through last year, I conceived an idea that instead of working for someone else, I wanted to create something all of my own. This “whatever it was” needed to sustain me, be something I truly believed in and also something that fitted into my work ethos of “helping people do better work”.
And then it came to me – gender diversity, leadership, empowering others and creating change – yes, I wanted to be an ‘Ambition Revolutionary’ when I grew up!
This idea was bold, audacious and some even told me I would be labelled negatively. However, for some reason, I wasn’t deterred by what others thought and decided to establish myself as a thought leader (thinker, speaker, mentor and trainer) on the topic of empowering women into leadership roles – because it’s big important work and I’d like to be the one to do it.
It’s now been six months and while I’m still absolutely loving this new game, it’s definitely been a steep learning curve. So for any other budding Ambition Revolutionaries out there wanting to take a risk with their career, to level up, go for that big promotion, or do something wild and audacious – here are my top 10 tips to keep you fired up.
- Establish a Gratitude Practice (an antidote to fear) – when I made the decision to go out on my own I adopted a morning gratitude practice. Of all the things I do to support wellbeing, physical and mental health, I can honestly say that this has been a game changer. In fact, my recent research has taught me that women in particular will more easily find the negative – unless we are disciplined about it!! So “gratitude” away my friends. Not only will it change the way you think but it changes your brain structure as well in positive ways.
- Take Action (putting your money where your mouth is) – you can read about an apple and look at an apple all you like, but until you eat the apple you don’t really know an apple. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other towards your goal and it gets closer every single day. And better yet, action is the perfect antidote for low confidence and despair.
- Establish Routines (that get the grunt work out of the way) – put things in your diary and allocation time targets against them. Design beats discipline every time! And routines are definitely a great antidote to human error and human nature.
- Maintain an Attitude of Curiosity – curiosity is a perfect antidote to all or nothing thinking, black v’s white and the need to exaggerate – plus it removes disheartenment when things don’t go exactly to plan.
- Connection with Like-minded People – for me right now these people are big thinkers, creative types, entrepreneurs, doers and action people. I’m blessed with many like-minded people in my close circle and it’s my antidote to stagnation and remorse.
- Daily Journalling – not only does it help me make sense and create clarity of the day prior, but it has been a great tool for me to decode some of my darker ruminations. Better yet, there is even some research around about the benefits of journalling. It focuses me on what’s important, creating content quickly and firmly on my next steps. It’s a gentle way to enter the day – and a great antidote for procrastination.
- Finding Internal Motivations (intrinsic drivers and also positive motivators) – external motivators such as money, acknowledgement, and prestige are all fine, but in the early days those external things are in low supply! So identifying things that make you want to get out of bed early each morning is critical. Fear might also be a great motivator, but intrinsic positive drivers feel so much better – and are my antidote to lethargy and flagging willpower.
- Getting BHAGs Out of the Way Early. If I am able to kickstart my working day with one big thinking item it means I don’t have the burden of outstanding important items hanging over me throughout the day. Have you ever had the experience of being late with your tax return? The constant nagging at the back of your mind is so draining that surely one day some researcher somewhere is going to prove it contributes to a shortened life expectancy! So my antidote to feeling like you are behind constantly is to get a head start on BHAGs early in your day – and if you haven’t done your tax yet – go do that now.
- The Reframe Technique – be vigilant with your internal language. If I notice or hear myself say something negative about myself or my situation, I immediately reframe it into positive language. So when money feels tight I journal “how is it that money is so abundant and flowing in my household?” If my writing is stagnant – “Why is it that I’m so good at writing amazing content for people that creates lasting change and clients wanting more?” In fact, I find if do this in advance I’m already on the front foot – a perfect antidote to an overactive worry-wort centre.
- Know That All This is Normal (my antidote to feeling like an outlier) – the knowledge that my insecurities, feelings of being an imposter, a perfectionist and simply not good enough are actually not unique. Most people have these same insecurities including two ambitious and highly successful women who I admire greatly – Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and Christine Lagarde, IMF Chief – according to The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. And if they can feel like this and still do amazing work then its entirely possible for me.
So if you were to go do something big, scary and out of your comfort zone with your career and earning potential, how would you cope? What strategies would you employ? What advice would you give?