After a quick summer vacation, Coffee with Kim is back and better than ever!
Our first guest of the season is the host of Big Talk podcast, author of best selling book Limitless, and Presidential Appointee under Bill Clinton, Laura Gassner Otting.
During our convo Laura shared powerful advice on how to break the mold and carve your unique career path. If you’re ready to get unstuck, transition successfully, and create the perfect consonance between your life and career keep reading.
I think I can speak for most when I say in the last year and a half there’s been a mutual effort to get unstuck. Though our circumstance may be different, Laura says the advice is the same, create your own narrative.
“We base our ideas of success on what others tell us, but our personal definition of success isn’t the same as everybody else’s. You’re never going to be the best version of yourself if you’re trying to be the best version of somebody else,” she said.
Doing what makes sense for you is the first and best way to get unstuck.
Change is inevitable. As you figure out the best plan for your life, you may be excited to take a leap of faith, but you have to consider those who’ll be affected too – family, business partners, etc. Laura says the key is to bring them with you.
“Have a conversation about what the transition will look like and manage their emotions by sharing how you plan to support what you have together. Ask for advice from those who will add momentum, but not for their opinion, yes or no, so you’re deterred from your plan,” she explained.
Before our conversation, I shared a poll on LinkedIn asking my audience what their greatest challenge is when carving their career path. The majority answered they’re not sure what they want. I was curious to get Laura’s take on how we could figure that out, and she shared the confusion comes from competing voices and priorities.
“We are told to go after the career that will pay the most, have the fanciest title at the big company, or the most stability, but we should actually go after what makes us feel most rewarded and makes the most sense for our lives,” she said.
In short, pursue the work that allows you to be the best version of yourself.
In Laura’s book, Limitless, she helps readers define the consonance in their lives and careers. – FYI ‘consonance’ is the agreement or compatibility between options or actions.’ –
She broke down into four parts:
Discovering what you want in life and career starts by prioritizing what makes life feel most valuable.
Great! You followed Laura’s advice in figuring out what consonance looks like in your life, now what? Informational interviews, says Laura. Find people who are doing interesting work they seem to love and ask to learn more about it. Ask what they love about their work, how they got into it, what is special about it, how they know this is the work for them. As you discover what sparks others and why, you’ll be able to identify the same for yourself.
We talk a lot about the benefits of mentorship on this podcast. I loved Laura’s take on the subject. She explained having a permanent mentor isn’t necessary, instead we should look for those who can give “mentor moments”.
Get the attention of someone you admire by giving them something first – a shout out, an article they may be interested in, a compliment. Then, ask for a quick conversation, take their advice and share with them your results. The pressure of full time mentorship is removed and you’re on the way to building a relationship.
Before you reach out, plan to make the best impression by supercharging your LinkedIn profile. I’ll teach you how here!
Communication has always been essential in the workplace but if we’ve learned anything the past year and a half we’ve learned just how important it is. Jessica Chen, CEO of Soulcast Media, is on a mission to help professionals, entrepreneurs and executives build their confidence in speaking authentically. She’s joining us to share tips on how to communicate with confidence and clarity. Bring some questions with and add it to your calendar here!
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