business woman MEDIA: Inspiring women who took control of their careers

Featured in business woman MEDIA, Michelle talks about some inspiring women who took the leap and took control of their careers.

Successful careers are borne out of two common threads – being deliberate and purposeful, and being willing to take a risk and put in the effort.

Career success isn’t about luck and being in the right place at the right time.  It can be very easy to paint the picture of someone as an overnight success, but there’s always more to the story.

This became clear as I interviewed people for a new book.  Each of the interviewees had a different background and experiences, and yet there were common beliefs, behaviours and actions that helped take them to great heights.

Layne Beachley AO is a seven times world surfing champion (six of them consecutive) – making her the most successful female surfer, ever! But her career didn’t end when she retired from surfing.

She now runs her own charitable foundation, Aim For the Stars, is Chair of Surfing Australia, an author, as well as a highly sought after professional speaker and trainer on sustaining success, overcoming challenges and maintaining a winning mindset.

As detailed in the book, her biggest piece of advice in thinking about changing careers: “Take the leap.”

“Tim Ferriss often speaks about negativity bias, which is exaggerating the riskiness of certain moves and underestimating the opportunities of others. If we only focus on the cost of moving from the known to the unknown we will never take the leap. So ask yourself ‘What are my fears?’ and own them. You can’t change what you can’t see”, she said.

For Jessica Watson, who was the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop around the world, achieving her goals was about planning.

“Like any big goal, it is useful to approach a career leap by working backwards from the ultimate destination. It’s not rocket science but you have to start with the end in mind. That’s not to say that the end goal shouldn’t change and evolve but it’s important to have a clear vision,” she said.

All the people I interviewed didn’t shy away from taking a risk, and they backed themselves, even when other people may have doubted them.

Gorgi Coghlan’s career leaps took her from being a year-12 biology teacher, to professional musical theatre, to community television, to TV reporter to media presenter, who is regularly on Channel Ten’s The Project.

“Regret is a far worse emotion to live with than fear. You can work through fear and process the fear. You’ll always have regret. When you jump, it’s certainly scary, but the excitement is not knowing where you’ll land.  It’s such a cliché, but you really only do get one life.  So make the leap and do what you love,” she said.

Career success is about you putting yourself firmly in the driver’s seat, and taking accountability and responsibility for the choices you make, the decisions you take and the actions you implement.

It’s you being the leader of your career.

You don’t want to be a passenger in a future hurtling past you, nor do you want to be a backstreet driver with no control or someone stuck on cruise control or autopilot.

To get into the driver’s seat you need to ready:

  1. Your mindset – and for it to be in a growth state where you are open for cultivation of ideas, ready to embrace challenge and willing to learn
  2. Your thought processes – so you are intentional, and therefore deliberate and planned in the decisions you make
  3. Your approach – so it is courageous and you are willing to push beyond what you are told is possible