The route to success isn’t a quick and easy path but there are ways you can accelerate your journey…
Backstabbing, conniving behaviour and cattiness do you no favours in your personal life or at work, so first thing’s first, ditch the bad attitude and open up your mind to the following advice by Sconaid McGeachin. With over 25 years experience in PR and communications, she knows how to do a job well and how to get up the career ladder, successfully. Follow her top 10 tips and you too could be a successful entrepreneur, designer, philanthropist or, like Diane Von Furstenburg (pictured above in her stylish office) all three…
1. FIRST AND FOREMOST BE POSITIVE
This is key to a successful, and happy, life in general. It’s so important to not be beset with and get overwhelmed by problems, but really see what you can learn from every situation – even if it’s a challenging one.
2. HAVE A PLAN AND REVIEW IT REGULARLY
Know what you’re aiming for and where you’re trying to get to – professionally and privately. Look past the day-to-day tasks on a regular basis and work out a plan of the more significant next steps and then keep reviewing your progress on these regularly. Set aside time – at least once a month – to take stock of where you’re headed, your successes and challenges to date and to change priorities if necessary.
3. BE A ‘SPONGE’ AND LEARN FROM EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING
It’s so important to keep abreast of what others around you are doing and also watch and learn from how they manage and handle situations. There is something to be learned from everyone and everything around you – all the time. So listen, observe and soak it all up. Be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Asking questions shows you’re interested and want to learn more.
4. BE FLEXIBLE
Flexibility is essential as things inevitably don’t always go to plan. And sometimes new opportunities arise along the way that you weren’t expecting and that are even better than those you planned for. So it’s important to not be too structured and fixed in your approach but be adaptable and seize all those opportunities and possibilities along the way and turn them to your advantage.
5. DON’T FEEL GUILTY
For working mums, like myself, trying to balance a successful career and a family life isn’t always easy – it’s a juggling act and an ongoing time and logistical challenge. But rather than feel guilty about the things that I can’t always do I try very much to focus on what I am able to achieve. Being a mum to two boys, I focus on the positives I can bring to them and their lives, and to my career as well.
6. TAKE A RISK SOMETIMES
At times push yourself out of your comfort zone and give something new a try. Be bold and have courage. Even if it doesn’t work out you will learn from it. Remember failure can sometimes be a positive in itself. Taking a considered risk every now again can open doors you never thought possible. My move to Russia (from the UK) in 1999 was certainly a step into the unknown but one that I’ll never look back on as I then went on to Poland, Croatia and Slovakia before my move to the UAE in 2008. And with all these moves I progressed further in my career and acquired invaluable knowledge of new markets and different ways of working. All the moves meant considerable change and certainly brought new challenges each time but I wouldn’t change my path at all as each move opened an exciting new chapter of my life and career.
7. LOOK FOR CHAMPIONS
Everyone needs help, encouragement and inspiration from others at times. So try to gather a small group of champions, or supporters, around you, either through your career or in your general network. Nurture these relationships. These should be people you trust as a sounding board and who you can exchange big ideas, ambitions, opportunities or challenges with.
Delegation isn’t always easy but it’s so important to recognise that you can’t do everything yourself all of the time so it is vital to learn to delegate and to delegate well. And this isn’t passing the buck but being realistic in a busy workplace. Good and successful delegation is very much a skill – knowing who to delegate to, when to delegate and also when and how often to check-in on progress.
9. BE ASSERTIVE AND HAVE CONFIDENCE IN WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF
Sometimes women are afraid to come across as too direct and stand up for themselves. Men are often much better at this and we’re sometimes too apologetic, wanting to please and not make a fuss. Know when to be strong and be assertive as people will respect you more if you’re firm on your values. And have a sense of what you are capable of and believe in yourself.
10. LAST BUT BY NO MEANS LEAST, BE GENUINE
Don’t try to be someone you’re not as people will see through this. Whilst it’s good to have role models and aspire to new things, you must be honest to yourself as this will come through to others. In this regard don’t over promise, focus on what is realistic and achievable so that you deliver and over achieve on things rather than trying to please and falling short.
Sconaid McGeachin works at global communications consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies (H+K), which celebrates its 30th anniversary in the Middle East this spring. Sconaid is based in Dubai.