A marketing and communications maven. An Entrepreneur. A power force. Catherine Shipushu of Azania Communications lets us in on 7 things she has learned as a career woman.
1. Have an ‘eagle vision’
Few things are as self-limiting as having a myopic view of your responsibilities in the workplace. Constantly passing the buck or proclaiming ‘that’s not in my job description’ demonstrates that you’re not concerned about the overall company performance and you’re not a team player. This is a sure-fire way to stall your career growth and mobility.
2. No one wins alone
This is probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my career so far. There’s an African proverb that says
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
Regardless of your passion, qualifications or experience, it is largely impossible to win alone. As much you’re self-driven, it’s equally important to be able to work with people or in a team not only to share the workload but also to benefit from diverse ideas and perspectives. Also, having the support of your colleagues is critical, so always seek ways to lend a hand to a colleague or congratulate them for an achievement. That goes a long way in creating a positive working environment and a strong team.
3. Know who you are
Knowing who you are is fundamental for success and fulfilment in life as it enables you to create a realistic and authentic vision for your life. This also helps with identifying your strengths and shortcomings and learn to effectively manage them in order to consistently put your best foot forward. In my case, I have a very strong personality and tend to be stubborn especially when it’s comes to projects or ideas I’m passionate about. But as I progressed in my career, I’ve had to learn to listen, respect and be more accommodative of sometimes opposing views.
4. Trust your instincts
One of the tell-tale signs of an ineffective leader is indecisiveness. This is often a result of a combination of factors including over-analysing things and consulting too widely. At times when I’ve been confronted with making difficult decisions, I’ve learned that while it’s necessary to go through the logical steps of decision making, trusting my instincts has led me to major breakthroughs. I also believe it’s better to take a wrong decision and learn from that experience, because there’s no learning from non-action.
5. Never stop learning
In order to be successful or the best in your field, It’s important to consciously seek ways to improve by learning new skills, techniques and generally keeping abreast with new developments in your space. Oftentimes we make the mistake of thinking that we know everything and thereby neglect our personal development, but being able to adapt to a constantly changing environment is what’s going to make you more valuable and even irreplaceable.
There’s always something to learn from every person you meet, so have an open mind and a teachable spirit.
6. Believe in yourself
I know this sounds like a cheesy cliché, but I believe self-doubt is one of the major reasons why some people never reach their full potential, pursue their ideal careers or assert themselves in the workplace. It’s therefore important to believe in yourself and your abilities and always have a positive, can-do attitude towards yourself. People will always try to project their own fears and limitations on you, saying you can’t do this or you’ll never achieve that. The truth is, only you know your limits and by having a strong self-belief you will be able to block out the external noise and distractions and focus on your achieving your goals.
7. Not everyone’s going to like you
This is especially true as you move up the corporate ladder. As leaders we sometimes have to take difficult and often unpopular decisions and people hold that against you. Or, for whatever reason, people are offended by your passion and work ethic. There so many reasons why people won’t like you. While this used to bother me early on in my career, I’ve since learned it’s impossible to please everyone and besides, we don’t go to work to make friends.
So instead of dimming your light and trying to be a people pleaser, rather focus on what matters – getting the job done, delivering value to the company and building your legacy. As the youngsters would say, just do you.