Do you feel stuck? Undervalued? Are you looking to further your career in tech but don’t know where to start? You keep saying you want to make changes, but then days turn into weeks, which turn into a few months, and you find yourself in the same position. It’s a dangerous yet common thought pattern that most of us have experienced at one point or another.
Nine years ago, I was in the same place. I was unemployed at 29, lost, and looking for a way to move my life forward. I decided to take action. With time, hard work, and patience, I found myself with a thriving career in tech. Now, I work my dream job remotely, get to travel the country, and have created my own company, DevelopHer, where I help women in tech get ahead, stand out, and earn more in their careers.
People who break out of the toxic thought pattern of “I’ll do it someday” are the people who find success in life. Below I’ve provided the framework to help you change your mindset from “I’ll do it someday to “I’ll do it today!”
Taking action is what will separate you from the rest. The hardest part is taking that first step. It takes so much energy to get something going, but listen, that’s okay because once you start, it takes a lot less energy to keep that thing going! At the beginning of my career, I definitely had my fears. Who was going to take a chance on me? How would I compete with peers who had been in the industry for almost a decade while I was just starting out? Honestly, if I had taken the time to think about all of the unanswered questions of my future, I probably would have felt paralyzed. Taking action is scary – it’s not like we get a blueprint for navigating our careers. It’s so important not to let the fear of failure prevent you from getting started.
What’s enabled me to get ahead in my own tech career is my bias towards taking action. The truth is, you can’t plan an entire career journey because you have no idea what opportunities are going to arise. Mistakes will be made; that’s all a part of the process. Continuously taking action is the key factor in building the future you want.
Visualize Your Outcome
What is it that you want? What are you working towards? These are the critical questions to ask. Tony Robbins, a great mentor of mine, taught me that “where focus goes, energy flows.” I live by this. Once I’ve decided on what I want my outcome to be, I set out and visualize what it will look like when I reach that goal. When our brain is attuned to what we want, it can cut through all the noise of our day and help us achieve our ideas.
Anyone with the boldness to dream big has been laughed at – including me. I used to tell people that one day I would work nationally, and they would roll their eyes. Now, I get to work remotely and travel the country. I got here by changing my mindset and visualizing a positive outcome. When in a high-pressure situation, try looking at all the things that can go right instead of wrong.
Create Your Own Opportunities
When I was at rock bottom nine years ago and trying to break into software development, I only received one yes. One yes was all I needed. One yes is all it takes – you can pave your path from there. How do you get that one yes? For me, the fastest way to get there was to continue to show up. I kept my eyes open to every potential opportunity. You create your own luck. The more you put yourself out there, the more you will “be in the right place at the right time.” Remember that.
And look, things aren’t always going to turn out as you hope. When that happens, it’s important not to feel defeated. When you start to look for the silver lining in life, you will begin to find it everywhere. A few years ago, I was in a bad car accident that led me to leave a leadership position and transition into an independent contributor role. To many, this may have looked like a step-down in my career. Interestingly enough, this new role gave me time to create DevelopHer as well as pivot my tech skills into security and voice applications, which led me to the job I’m working now! I could have been so down on myself after the accident, but instead, I kept my eyes open for that silver lining.
Keep the Momentum Going
Alright, so you’ve started to take action towards reaching your goal. Great! Now, you need to keep that momentum going. For me, the best way to do this is through micro-goals. Instead of setting a goal to achieve in a year, I create twelve-week goals. By focusing on smaller tasks, I’m able to go all in. Once those are completed, I set new goals and continue to move forward. Twelve weeks is enough time to not only form a habit but see real transformation. Take the micro-approach consistently and watch as your career flourishes.
A critical factor in keeping your momentum going is making sure a strong support system surrounds you. When you’re tired, and in need of an extra push, it’s so important to have a community to fall back on for encouragement.
Remember that there is no such thing as an overnight success. What most people see as a significant accomplishment is really just the natural progression from hard work. Power kicks in when you do something over and over again.
Continue to show up, take action, visualize the future you want, and I promise you will start to notice a difference. When I was unemployed and unsure where my life was going, I could have looked to blame others for my position, but I didn’t see how that would help me move forward. Instead, I decided to start actively pursuing opportunities. For even more in-depth detail on how to yield incredible results in one’s career, be sure to check out my best-selling book, The DevelopHer Playbook. It’s time to stop just dreaming of a better future and start taking steps to create one.