To truly be the best at something, you have to be willing to go the extra mile to learn, to change, to grow. In today’s fast moving, competitive world, status quo will leave you left behind in the dust by your competition very quickly.
In the last two weeks, I have had the opportunity to provide three very talented women with individual career advice. One lady is about to graduate college and is interested in learning how to choose a career. Another is a military spouse considering going back to school and starting a new career. The third works for a non-profit organization and feels like her career has stalled, and she may be considering a change. Although these women are all at different places in their lives, they do have one thing in common. They all realize that to get ahead in life, they need to be willing to grow, to learn, and to change. I admire them, and I wish them the best of luck in the journey ahead.
Nothing energizes me more than helping someone succeed. On the flip side, nothing frustrates me more than someone who asks for my counsel only to get defensive, argumentative, and dismissive during the conversation. I feel the latter will most likely be limited in their success.
One of the main reasons I joined Accenture, a global professional services company, is because of its emphasis on and commitment to continuous learning and training for employees. I am currently participating in Accenture’s prestigious Leadership Development Program. As part of this program, I am offered several one-on-one virtual coaching opportunities. Yesterday, I met with a gentleman who provides professional training and coaching to executives. He uses his background in classical theater to provide advice on how to improve our interactions and communications with clients. During my coaching session, the instructor commented on how confident, passionate and skilled I am at public speaking. His comments made me smile as I thought back a few years ago, when speaking in public would cause my heart to race, palms to sweat, and face to feel flushed.
How I pushed myself to be the best
So what changed during the last few years to help me overcome my fears of public speaking? First, I had to learn about techniques to mitigate my nerves by being over-prepared on the topics I needed to present. Then, I had to change my way of thinking. Instead of avoiding public speaking, I needed to embrace it and face it head-on with a positive attitude. And, finally, I had to grow my skill by practicing over and over again. I volunteered to present and speak on topics whenever I saw an opportunity. Now, instead of dreading the interaction, I look forward to the opportunity to engage and communicate with others.
In addition to being the best I can be at work, I strive to be the best equestrian I can be as well. In March, I will attend the Team CEO training camp in Aiken, South Carolina, for the fourth year in a row. At camp, I will join 20 horses and riders as we all seek to learn, change and grow in our riding in preparation for the upcoming eventing season. Eventing is an equestrian event where a horse and rider compete across the three disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.
This will be my second year competing with my horse, Cullen, and the plan is for us to move up to Training level (the third level) in the sport. Raising to a new level means tackling more complex challenges, stiffer competition, and a greater level of fitness and athleticism. I want to learn, change, and grow as much as possible in the next few months so that my big move up is a success.
SEE MORE OF MY POSTS:
THE HUFFINGTON POST: FLEXIBILITY TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE
CHANGING CAREER PATHS, CHANGING HORSES: WHY RISKS PAY OFF
ONE WOMAN'S WORK LESSON: WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH, DO YOUR HOMEWORK