Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go and do it all again, knowing what you know now?
Well unfortunately, we can’t. But we can apply the wisdom we believe we’ve acquired to our current situation – and we can also pass on such wisdom to the women behind us.
We asked some of the speakers at the upcoming 21st Women in Leadership Summit 2017 to share some of the key things they would tell their younger selves.
From taking control, to getting a mentor and ‘letting it go’, below’s what they had to say.
Kellie Hush Editor in-chief Harper’s Bazaar (pictured above)
“Hard work is what it will take. There are no short cuts and there won’t be a clear career path so be prepared to take what seems like several detours. Listen and learn while on those detours because expanding your skill set is not going to hold you back, it will open more doors. Advice will come your way which you can take on board or dismiss. Trust your gut. Just because a colleague has more experience than you it doesn’t mean they understand your personal ambition or career goals. At a poignant time in your career a boss will tell you fashion journalism is a dead end street and you will ignore him and achieve your career dream.”
Frances Martin, VP of Retail Optus
If I could pass on advice to my younger self I would say:
- It’s your life so be in control of it
- Start your own personal portfolio earlier, take bigger risks and be brave
- I would encourage myself to get a mentor and to use their time wisely
- To talk less, listen more and always try to understand the perspective of others because you will find a better outcome in less time
- I would also say if something, be it work or personal, isn’t working have the trust and belief to let it go.
Chantelle Pritchard, CFO Monde Nissin Australia
“I would love to be able to put my arms around my younger self and encourage her not to place so much pressure on herself. Life is full of enough challenges, obstacles and sometimes critics along the way, and the most important thing is to learn what is important to you and trust your instincts. There is no benefit in wasting energy and emotion worrying about what other people think and trying to prove yourself. Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself and as the saying goes… enjoy the journey and not the destination”.
Catriona Larritt, Chief Commercial Officer, Jetstar
Your career is just a part of your broader life journey, not a narrow, definable pathway. There will be many unforeseeable turns, blind allies, challenges and opportunities. There will also be times when you choose to take ‘time out’ to travel, study, start a family or simply do ‘something else’ for a while. Don’t let any of this deter you. It is all part of the journey. Part of what will make you who you are. What is important is that you continue to understand and learn about the things that you do well, the things that have gotten here so far, and how to use these as building blocks to help you to continue to learn and become better at what you do, both in your career and in your life in general.
Joanne Beckett, Chief Product Officer – LexisNexis Asia Pacific
‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. These are the words I have lived by as I have changed careers, moved up the corporate ladder or branched out into business on my own. Acknowledge that every step in your career will involve change, uncertainty and potentially fear. Whilst our natural inclination is to run from fear, I have found that it has been the occasions I have felt the greatest fear, when I have had genuine concern that I would fail if I took the promotion or moved into a brand new venture, that have been the most pivotal to my career success and my growth, learning, experience and understanding as a human being.
Sulin Ho, Head of Group Wholesales Credit Operations and Enablement ANZ
- Take more risks and take them earlier – actively seek to be challenged
- Be adaptable and flexible
- Be curious and open to learning
- Think about your career strategically and not just opportunistically
- A strong work ethic will only get you so far – you need to directly ask for opportunities
If I were to sum this up with a quote, it would be: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later”, from Richard Branson.