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Sharing your challenges can help your career.

Posted on January 29, 2018 at 8:00 AM

What’s going on with you?

If we were asked this question, a lot of us may hesitate initially on how to respond. We may first consider who was asking the question, the environment we were in or who else might be listening in on the conversation. Based on any of those factors we may respond with a focus on our accomplishments the latest item we have purchased, or a self-deprecating response to divert the focus of the conversation.

Why is this the case? What are we trying to prove or to hide? Due to how we are looked upon in society we are often constantly scrutinizing ourselves. This makes it challenging for us to have authentic conversations with people we come into contact with, including friends, colleagues, and those of differing levels of position or “authority".

Living this way can be exhausting. In the world of work, this can place lots of pressure on each and every one of us because we may be trying so desperately to put on a particular “face”. To exude, a “brand” of confidence, self-assurance and strength many of us may be missing a very important opportunity—an opportunity to have authentic conversations and support one another.

Sometimes at work, because of the perception that we must have it together, we fail to come to a colleague and ask about her experience for an issue that we are currently struggling with ourselves.

Take for example the Manager, with an elderly parent at home who is doing really well at work and the opportunity comes for a possible promotion. The Manager is fearful of taking on a new opportunity and does not apply for the chance to participate. Senior leaders encourage her to consider applying, however she decides against it. In the mind of the Manager, there is no way that she is able to handle a new opportunity and family obligations. She convinces herself that the priority must be her family, and she is right. There is also another option that she has not yet considered before declining the opportunity however it takes courage.

This same Manager could choose to share her challenge with other managers or senior leaders whom she trusts. In doing so the Manager may find that there is a way to take on the project and still care for her elderly relative. It may not be easy but there is a way.

  • Most good solutions and strategies are created when more than one mind is charged with looking for a resolution. This Manager may come to learn about resources that she can tap into, to help her with her relative. She might find that by asking more questions and seeking to collaborate on this dilemma instead of keeping it all to herself the idea of taking on the promotion might be a viable option for her.

  • Rather than counting herself out and not even giving it a shot, there is the option for her to put her name up for consideration. In the end, she may not be successful in the competition, but participating is important, being true to your desire to want to use your talents is important.

  • As women, we at times need to be reminded that there are others who have gone before us who have had similar trials and tests and made it through. Perhaps it was not the experience they wanted or hoped for, but nonetheless, the experience came to them and they survived.

Let’s consider being more authentic at work, sharing our experiences, asking for help, and offering help to others. When we are able to collaborate on both professional and personal matters we may find that we are better at integrating work and life. The balancing act of managing our “brand” changes to responding authentically about what we say about who we are, no matter who is asking.

Be strong, Loving, Fearless

Categories: Communication, Empowerment, Career