If you want more options, more choices or even a completely different career, there is one surefire way to get it – become your own rainmaker.
Earlier in my career, I was laid off three times in twelve months (I refer to it as the “3-bang lay-off” in my book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback.”) I realized that the universe was trying to tell me something BIG and what I needed to do was take control over my career. I needed to stop being so reactive and become more proactive.
Back then, I applied for every job opening I heard about within a 100-mile radius and if someone wanted to hire me, I’d go work for him. Or if my manager said, “Go lead that team”, I would go lead that team. But being complacent and compliant wasn’t getting me anywhere.
Fast forward to today where I’m working full time at a Fortune 100 company (14 years and counting…) leading management and career training, as well as having a side gig as a leading career coach and award-winning author.
How did it happen? I became my own rainmaker. In other words, I found and created my own career opportunities by following these three simple strategies –
Taking my career into my own hands.
I no longer feel “safe” working inside a company. I love the challenge, but with all of the downsizing, mergers and re-orgs going on I was in a constant state of worrying about “what if’s.” So I decided to follow my heart, my passion and my intuition and mitigated my full-time job by starting my own side gig – as a career coach.
I never dreamed of being an entrepreneur, but I did have a strong desire to be the master of my own career domain. So I decided to write, speak and coach others on something I knew about – career rebranding. Since I had successfully worked in several industries including radio, television, finance and high-tech, as well as various job roles such as DJ, advertising producer and marketing manager, I invested three months to write my first book called, “Career Smart – Five Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand.”
When I took my career into my own hands – doors started opening. The book led to media interviews, consulting contracts and a few clients. What that experience taught me is that the universe will provide us with opportunities when we 1) move in the right direction, and 2) step up. The point is to share your expertise. When you start teaching, mentoring and leading others on a topic you are passionate about – opportunities will chase you down. J
Finding my balance.
When you do work that you enjoy – it fills you with energy. When you work on things you dislike, it drains you. I’m now able to do more of the work that I love by having rich, meaningful conversations with my manager about what I enjoy, and where I can add the most value to the department. It didn’t happen overnight but once I was able to articulate what I enjoyed doing, my manager was able to re-assign some of my less fulfilling work and give me more of those projects and assignments that infuse me with energy.
I’m also able to pick and choose the opportunities from my side gig that energize me. If a client seems particularly picky or fussy, then I don’t take them on. If a speaking opportunity isn’t worth taking a vacation day for, then I decline it. If there’s work I don’t enjoy doing (website maintenance, email communications, etc.) then I contract it out.
When my full-time day job gets demanding, then I put my side gig activities on hold. What I know for sure is that I’m the architect of finding my own balance. Every day, we make decisions regarding when and how we spend our time. It’s been a learning process (and still is), but I’m now able to identify and prioritize the kind of work that fulfills and energizes me.
Creating a pipeline of opportunities.
I’ve had a full-time training job and my own side gig for the past five years, and I’ve realized that some of things I do (coaching, training, speaking, etc.) create opportunities for me; however, I never know exactly which activities will create those opportunities. For example, after I speak at some events I’ll receive an invitation to speak at a bigger, higher paying event. But I never know which events will bring me those lucrative opportunities.
What I’ve learned is to follow what I love doing. For me that includes coaching, training and speaking. When I’m doing any of those activities I’m fully present, passionate and excited to be helping others find their best career. I don’t do them because they bring me opportunities – I do them because they energize and fulfill me, and as a result, some bring opportunities. My desire outweighs any expectations.
Some opportunities I decline, and some I accept. But no matter what I’ve found that the more opportunities I have, the more empowered I feel. It’s empowering to know that I have choices and that I am the driver in my own career. Whether you want to make one small change or a complete overhaul in your career, start today to make it happen. Become the rainmaker in your own career so that you can do meaningful, purposeful work and feel valued, appreciated and energized. I’m here to cheer you on and say that you really can create a career that you love – you just have to get in the driver’s seat and make it happen! 🙂
Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist. She teaches others how to think differently and more proactively in their career. Her book, “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” was named “Best Career Book” by the Indie Book Awards. Her first book, “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a powerful personal brand” has been #3 on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. As the Founder/President of Career Coaching 360, Sherri teaches training professionals, managers and executives how to change, reinvent or advance their career. Sign up for her new 3-part free video training series “15 Clever Ways to Get More Job Offers” at CareerCoaching360.com