Today I was asked to share some experiences with a group of amazing women for an International Women's Day event...I was asked to talk about my career and how I had achieved what I had.
The first part, I thought , yes, I can cover that. There is a story to how I have moved from one role to the next, mainly driven by curiosity and seeing problems that I thought needed fixing.
How funny that the second part, how I had achieved what I had, momentarily stopped me in my tracks. What exactly had I achieved?
I know that I am a collaborator, curious, a problem solver, empathiser, questioner, pragmatist, value-focussed, creative....... that covered the how. So why was it that pinpointing what I had achieved as an individual seemed so much harder to do?
I have always found it easier to articulate what I had achieved for others - how I had helped people to develop and grow in their careers; how I had helped organisations to resolve critical challenges that secured their futures and enabled them to thrive , how I helped family, friends, colleagues through situations by being a trusted objective ear.
I can't speak for all women, but I did realise today that I find it really difficult to voice my personal achievements that may have played a part in achieving outcomes for others.
My first instinct was to think about what people have said to me in the past - 'you need to be better at marketing yourself and your skills' or 'you have to tell everyone your contribution so that you get recognition for what you've done'....I've always found it a little difficult to 'blow my own trumpet' - it has somehow felt showy or boastful and I will often defer to the team using more 'we's' than 'me's'. It doesn't feel like that's a bad thing, but in the long run I realise its key for me as a person to acknowledge that 'I did good!'.
I guess the key is finding a way to do this, to celebrate where I am, in a way that works for me. So I thought to myself, I could look at this in a different way. There was something really positive that I could take from this.
Maybe, just maybe, my greatest personal achievement is that I feel now, more than ever, that I have opportunities to pursue my passions and use my strengths, personally and professionally, to the extent that the achievements of those I may have helped have become intertwined with my own. Indistinguishable.
That works for me 😁