By Kat Holden, above, Founder, Vital Leaders
As young, newly-qualified corporate women, we all have our own idea of what success looks like. How we want to break into the business arena. And, how we want to change the world. But, in reality, many of us step into a new version of ourselves – the version we expect others want us to be – teaching ourselves that she is successful. She can achieve. She has the right to be here. Not you. You’ve created an alter ego, and the divide has begun.
Being able to stand confident in your ability has been a fundamental aspect of a turbulent few years. Navigating life – personal and professional – in lockdown, and since adjusting to the post-covid world has brought added external pressures and anxieties. And, on the brink of a national recession, it’s never before been so important to regain your power, and have the confidence to exude this additional depth of leadership.
So, how do you own your successes? Rediscover your voice? Revive your genius?
Kat Holden, Founder of Vital Leaders, works with business women across the UK to help them to be courageous, break barriers, and allow them to dare to be fabulously, uniquely, boldly, and powerfully themselves. Here, she shares her four key insights into achieving this, whilst avoiding the potential of burnout, during a time where we need to recession-proof not only our businesses, but ourselves, too.
- Establish your Career Values
One of the first pieces of advice I give to any business woman is to establish your career values. Remind yourself what is truly important to you in the context of your work and company, and why you decided to pursue this career in the first place.
Often, it’s easy to forget this along the way. We get swept up in the corporate system, constantly chasing something or someone – for a better role, a better pay check, better recognition. But ultimately, if you can’t remember what’s most important to you, then you’re losing your way and it’s time to bring it back to basics and bring true value and focus back to your goals.
As the foundation to your ambition and motivation, values are the signposts that will keep us on track. They drive you. They bring clarity to direction. They help to decipher what personal success truly looks like. When you live and breathe your values, you will show up authentically, and make decisions that will absolutely fulfil you and bring true ambition and intent to your career.
Without purpose, we have no passion. So, once you’ve reminded yourself of your values – and ensured that your business or employer aligns with them – that fire in your belly will be reignited, providing you with the motivation and determination to succeed.
Not only will it spark your hunger, but it reinforces your brilliance. You have a drive. You have a passion. You have motivation. Now, go and be fabulous!
Much like reminding yourself of what’s important, it’s crucial that you refocus your vision. You’ve established why you’re doing it, so now drill down the finer details of what exactly you are going to do.
Devise a bullet-proof strategy. And, stick to it. Within reason. Obviously, as you and your business evolve, you can adjust accordingly – but, don’t let other people deter you from your pathway. And, most importantly, don’t let others – or that voice inside your head – convince you that it’s unachievable. Unattainable. Out of reach.
If you want it, go and get it!
Whilst being motivated and driven are exciting and revitalising, it is fundamental that you take care of yourself on this journey too. Business can be a slog – even when you have found your voice, and have the courage to own your genius, some days are hard. Some days you want to give up. Some days you have nothing left to give.
But this is your reminder that burnout is not good for business. Working so hard until you can’t work anymore is not an indicator of success. I’ve been there – and, trust me, it isn’t pretty. And, I’ve dedicated my entire career to supporting women so they don’t ever have to experience what I did.
So, here are my top tips to be practised daily for avoiding burnout:
- Create boundaries – be strict with your working timetable, with a definitive start and end time. And, factor in rest periods.
- Rest – be passive, and don’t allow these to be compromised by other ‘important’ engagements that crop up unexpectedly.
- Replenish – do things that bring you joy, whether it’s being active, singing, cleaning, reading. But, most importantly, do not feel guilty about doing it.
- Routines and Rituals – find a rhythm compatible with you, and be consistent.
Firstly, trust yourself. Sounds obvious, but it’s incredibly difficult to do. Trust that you are enough. In these challenging times we’re facing, have faith in your ability that you can lead yourself, your team, and your business through. It’s not my first recession – and may not be yours – and so remind yourself of other obstacles you’ve overcome, and know that this one will be no different.
Trust in others. While it’s often very easy to believe that our boss or mentor is the aspiration, don’t be fooled by this illusion. Trust that other people are being the best versions of themselves in their own roles, and can support you in yours. But equally, trust that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, because of your own brilliance – you absolutely have every right to be there, have every right to your opinions, and every right to celebrate your successes.
Becoming a confident and courageous corporate woman is challenging. And, this mindset is unlikely to change overnight. But, be proud of yourself, trust that you deserve this, and believe that you’re truly fabulous.
The next few months (potentially years) may see businesses face additional challenges and difficult decisions, but by understanding your values, strategising your path, setting strict boundaries and routines, being resilient, and trusting yourself and others, will allow you to succeed.