How to take the driver’s seat in your career journey, according to change and transformation coach Niamh Ennis
13th Mar 2023
Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Want to get that promotion? We ask an expert how to take control of your career and go after what you really want.
As someone who personally struggles with confidence in the workplace, it’s hard not to roll my eyes when I hear all too familiar advice like “just be more confident in yourself “ or “visualise your success”. Don’t get me wrong, those sound like great goals (I would love to be able to do that) but it feels like I’m standing on one side of a bridge and shouting to them from the other side.
What are the practical steps to actually getting there? Thankfully, crossing that bridge is what change and transformation coach Niamh Ennis specialises in, helping businesswomen get unstuck by determining their goals and then making the right decisions to reach those goals.
In partnership with Range Rover, we sit down with Niamh to ask her the tough questions, because finding purpose in your career shouldn’t just be a dream, but an everyday luxury that all of us can enjoy.
What should I do if I feel like I’m stuck in a rut?
If you believe that this best describes how you’re feeling, and you’re sure it’s not simply a bad patch, then ask yourself: ‘Is it the job, or is it me?’. All too often we blame our careers for problems that in fact exist in other areas of our lives. For some reason, it feels much more acceptable to articulate our unhappiness with our career, as opposed to our relationships or personal lives.
If, however, you find yourself feeling this way, but really enjoy your job, then you must identify what it will take to spark that joy and make you feel excited about work again. Please don’t feel you have to come up with all of the answers on your own. Ask for help. Consider working with a coach, speak to a trusted colleague, or look to others who have moved up the ladder in your chosen career and ask them for guidance on your next steps. Also, communicate with your line manager and share how you are feeling.
How do I know if it’s time for a change?
If it’s time for a career change, you’ll start to feel resentful about going to work, and you’ll spend your time wishing you could be somewhere else – when your mind is elsewhere you should be elsewhere. Review before you react. If the things that once excited you, no longer do, then that’s definitely telling you something, but please be absolutely sure before acting on it. Is it the job, the company, your team, your manager or your role? Again, be very specific here – what is causing your unhappiness? Learn how to trust your intuition and listen to it.
Before you move on, you need to get crystal clear on just what it is you want from this next step of your career and how it fits into your overall career path.
- To know what you want, you really need to know who you want to be. How will you want to feel when you are working in that career that is calling to you? Be very specific in your answer offering lots of detail.
- Remind yourself what your values are, that is, what matters most to you right now, and how will this next step match that? Are the stories you are living your life by in your career supportive of the life you say you want?
- Nobody can get you from where you are now to where you think you want to be – other than you. It’s time for you to take responsibility for what is going to happen next. Feeling stuck in a rut tends to be a state of mind more than a state of being, so removing yourself from there starts with how you think about yourself.
What are some confidence-building practices you recommend?
1. Make sure you’re chasing your own goals.
“What do you want to do, and how do you want to feel?” I ask my clients this to ensure that the dreams and goals they are chasing are in fact theirs. When it comes to your career, your parents and teachers will have likely influenced some of your choices like the courses you took, the college you went to and the jobs you applied for. Many of you found yourself on a career path that, in truth, might not even have been yours to begin with, which accounts for so much of your career frustrations, so start there. Are you currently doing what it is you wanted to do? Is your job lighting you up?
2. I believe that when we are learning we are living.
Keep feeding that natural curiosity that’s inside you. Take the course, buy the book, and attend the seminar. You don’t need to act on every nugget you hear and learn, but the very experience will help you to grow and expand how you think and how you show up in your life. It stops you from staying the same, from getting caught in a repetitive cycle and guarantees that you feel constantly challenged by your life, which is exactly how you should feel.
3. Stay connected to yourself.
A lot of emphases is put on those activities that centre around your mind, which can result in you overthinking and living exclusively in your head. Your heart space needs your attention too – it’s where you feel and emote. It’s where your intuition, creativity, spirituality, vulnerability, and purpose all live. The confident woman will understand the importance of connecting to herself when it comes to her life and to her career.
How can you show your boss you’re ready (and worthy) for a promotion?
- Be yourself and do the work. Keep an eye on the measurables within your role and ensure you stay focused on achieving them. Trust that if you do the work to the best of your ability the right opportunities will come to you, and try to ensure that everything you are doing is supporting the vision of who it is you want to become.
- If there are any promotions coming up express an interest in them. Ask your manager what you must do to be considered for the role. Show willingness if extra hands are needed from time to time (but don’t be a doormat).
- Be more visible at work. Communicate more, raise your hand to speak up at meetings and ask for what you want more. Set up regular meetings with your manager and use these as an opportunity to keep her updated on your work and your progress. If she doesn’t know what you’re doing she can’t possibly know how much you’re doing!
- Observe what others are doing, especially those who have moved up the ladder and are being recognised. This will help you understand what is being looked for and then start showing more of that side of yourself if it feels in alignment. In other words, don’t pretend to be something or somebody you’re not as that will become apparent pretty quickly.
- Be a cheerleader and be seen to recognise the achievements of others. When others succeed be sure to express your congratulations and support. Don’t think of the workplace as somewhere you need to compete. Be like a flower – they don’t think of competing for sunlight, they just bloom.
Any other advice for women who want to take more control over their careers?
1. Learn how to ask for what you want. Remember that you teach other people how to treat you by how you treat yourself. For example, if you don’t respect your own time don’t expect others to. Set and keep boundaries which will avoid resentment setting in.
2. Identify what’s getting in your way. There’s no point in complaining that your career isn’t moving fast enough or in the direction you want if you can’t acknowledge what is stopping you. Is it fear, jealousy, comparison, or judgement?
3. Don’t stand still. Continue to grow/upskill.
4. Stop blaming others for unhappiness in your career. You may not have caused it but you are entirely responsible for where it is going.
The new Range Rover is the ultimate luxury vehicle designed for businesswomen who are constantly on the go. With exquisite design and convenient features, it ticks all the boxes to make your work commute a breeze. To learn more about the new Range Rover, visit landrover.ie.