Mindful Monday: A Great Career Is an Inside Out Pursuit… Especially for Women!

Nov 14, 2016


Nancy Fredericks

Nancy Fredericks pens IWLC's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at

When women feel they are not achieving their aspirations, they look to shore up their skills. The assumption is that they must be lacking something. Frustrated they often go back to school for a higher degree to build credibility. They work harder to produce more and better results to prove their value. Or they attend business seminars imagining this will fill some unspecified gap in knowledge and skills by your company.

Are your efforts designed around doing something externally that will make you more worthy in the eyes of the business world?

Take a deep breath and believe: your career isn’t based exclusively on learning more or doing more. Instead, shift your attention away from external fixing as the way to move ahead and rather embrace the idea that everything starts from within and is then brought to fruition externally. 

Three confronting questions:

  • What would you do right now if you believed in the confident, developing you? Allowing a lack of confidence, or insufficiency, or fear to permeate your thinking is the death of anything new or impressive. A satisfying career is rarely about building the same sand castle over and over again because you’re the best sand castle builder in the sandbox. That will not lead to growth and progress. Staying small in the sandbox—even if you are spectacular at it—will curtail your future. A gratifying career requires risk-taking and a willingness to battle against whatever holds you small.
  • Are you treating yourself as well as you do others? Psychological research reveals a simple secret that will ignite your career. Instead of beating yourself up when your career doesn’t go as planned, treat yourself as you would someone you admire and love. As you respond with self-compassion, you will experience: higher positive affect and better mental health, and report greater life satisfaction than people who are low in self-compassion. So, the next time you stub your toe during one of your business endeavors ask yourself what you could or will do differently and move forward.
  • What do you think about yourself—right now? Try this quick exercise. Pull out a sheet of paper, draw a big circle and then, draw a line down the center. At the top of one side, write: What career skills am I an expert at that are foundational to my success? On the top of the other side of the circle, write: What work skills do you assess are your weaknesses? Take a moment to stop reading and start writing. Do not over think. Please write whatever comes to mind.

What popped into your head? Did you find one side of your circle easier to complete than the other? Answering these questions will reveal more about yourself than you might expect! Now, what are you going to do?

The moment you realize you’re repeatedly building the same “sand castle;” and thus, limiting your career possibilities both today and tomorrow, choose to stop and take decisive action. Remember, a career is a journey—a long one—where you’ll experience many ups and instead downs along the way. It is how you choose to respond that determines the outcome of your career.

Category: Mindful Monday