5 WAYS TO BUILD A CAREER WITH ENDURANCE
In a time of insta-gratification and dangerously short attention spans, it can be difficult to plan, execute, or even conceive of our careers in the long term. But - if we’re lucky! - we have lengthy and productive working lives ahead of us, and it’s worth spending some time thinking about how they might play out. For the third event in The WW Club at 45 Grand series, we looked at the idea of endurance, with a fitness session and conversation themed around building a body/career/mind that can go the distance. A few takeaway insights…
BUILD UP YOUR BASE SKILL SET - AND NEVER STOP ADDING TO IT
As Ishveen highlighted, it’s almost impossible to build lasting success without learning the 'base skills' that will provide the foundation of your career. Depending on your chosen industry, that might mean mastering Photoshop, learning how to structure an article, or studying the great film directors. I don't believe you should let a lack of expertise hold you back from pursuing your dream right here and now, but I do believe in studying your craft as rigorously as possible.
Equally important: adding new skills to your toolkit as you progress through your career. It's impossible to move with the times if you ignore how they are changing, and arm yourself accordingly.
BREAK IT DOWN
Having a vision is a great and inspiring thing, but it can be overwhelming. In order to work long term, it's essential to break down your big idea into manageable nuggets, so as to avoid paralysis on a daily basis. I'll defer to Piera's insights for more on this:
“I ask myself: What are the big things that we’re hoping to accomplish over the next two or three years, and what does that look like when you break it down? Week to week, I look at the pieces that are going to lead up to the two-year goal, and commit to certain tasks that connect different pieces of the puzzle. Things always will always come and derail you to a certain extent, so you have to figure out what you can move around, and what needs to stay put to keep you on track.”
Piera Gelardi, Co-Founder at Refinery 29
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE
With a career that spans decades - and yet still manages to be totally current, even directional, in its approach - Diane Brown of Rxart knows more about keeping up with times than most. Her advice for staying inspired and connected is all about being mindful of the company that you keep. In order to evolve, it's essential to incorporate new ideas and ways of thinking into your everyday working life: Ensuring that you work amongst ambitious and forward-thinking people is a very effective way to do just that.
CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES
Staying motivated can be one of the most challenging aspects of building an impactful career, whether you're an entrepreneur or just starting to climb the corporate rungs. It's a myth that the self-employed among us feel driven and motivated all the time simply because 'we do what we love'; in fact, it can be very hard to get pumped up about your work with no boss to acknowledge your wins, or even a salary to reflect your growth. That's why, as Piera wisely pointed out, it's crucial to recognise your own successes and reward yourself accordingly. Whether that means treating yourself to a nice dinner or an entirely work-free weekend is up to you: just make sure you celebrate somehow.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Even if you're doing well, burnout can creep up out of nowhere. Lotta talked about getting to a point when she was crying a lot and feeling generally uninspired, which is somewhere I think we've all been! The working culture of the U.S. can make it especially hard to feel justified in taking regular breaks, but it's truly the only way to keep going if you want to make something great.
Figuring out the components of your self-care regime is an entirely personal pursuit but for our panelists, it looks a little something like this:
Diane Brown spent two weeks of the summer at restorative retreat in Northern California with her daughter.
Lotta Nieminen took a month off to visit friends at home in Denmark and travel with her husband throughout August.
Ishveen Anand listens to the music that gets her going (deep house with vocals) throughout the day at work.
Piera Gelardi has replaced her formerly frenetic morning routine of Starbucks and a donut with fried eggs, coffee, and a podcast in the comfort of her own kitchen.
(And for me, it's about regular exercise even when I 'don't have time', sleep over some party I don't really want to go, and spending money on good food even when my bank balance says: instant ramen. More on self-care, coming soon!)
Thanks again to the ladies for sharing their insights. Listen to the conversation in full here.