Crossing the Finish Line


by Victoria Hills Assoc. CIPD MHFA

Every day we are crossing imaginary finishing lines in our lives, both professionally and personally. Contextually it's like the time you wanted to be the one who sold the most in your team so your boss could see how you were smashing your sales targets ahead of your appraisal. But it shouldn't just be just a 'one of' should it?

Crossing the finishing line should always be a question we ask ourselves. Nevertheless, you could argue we are now questioning more now. Pandemic or no pandemic we should adopt intuitive thinking. Crystallising, harmonising and solidifying how we can be the best version of ourselves to cross the over the finishing line in our careers.

It's no surprise to anyone though, the focus to become the best version of ourselves has made headlines as evidently there's more competition in the marketplace to succeed. Crossing the finishing line takes energy, expertise and definition. From which we can translate into defining and shaping our personal brand. Our personal brand is a mix of all our emotions, thoughts, beliefs, values and experiences to date. Thereby leveraging our assets within a professional capacity could literally mean propelling our career from failure to success and that's how we will cross that finishing line.

The crux of the matter is that we shouldn't ever want to stop at wanting to be the best version of ourselves. Don't ever be afraid of wanting to cross the finish line first. Strive for perfection. Be the best.

So how can I do this, you might now be thinking? 

Well let me share a story with you, which will hopefully inspire you. Some years ago, I was informally coaching a friend of mine, who for arguments sake for this story we will call Joe. Joe was at a career crossroads in his life. He really had had a lot of unfortunate events in his life meaning he hadn't always been able to make the right or even informed choices to get ahead in his career. 

He was struggling, and I was only too happy to help. Situations kept presenting themselves which meant these were sabotaging any incremental efforts Joe was making to get ahead. Events were happening with alarming regularity and they were not allowing Joe to have any control over his destiny.

So, if I allowed the status quo to continue where Joe was continuing to make mistakes and making choices without considering all the implications of his actions, these choices would have disastrous and catastrophic effects on his longer-term career, or to put it another way their choices were slowly eroding and eating away at Joe's personal brand. Joe really had reached a pivotal moment to act.

Luckily, for Joe events unfolded and his luck changed, and we set about using the GROW method of coaching to facilitate him making more informed career choices which empowered him to unilaterally find his dream job. I am also pleased to say Joe now is very settled in a job he really enjoys and finds extremely rewarding.

Life is about making choices.

You could do nothing.

Or you could ......

Act now.

So how can I do this?

For me, it starts with looking at how others see me. Build your brand. Remember it's not a sprint. This race is for life. Start building your brand slowly, the rest will flow and momentum will get you across the line. Don't loose sight though.

Personal brand for me starts with authenticity and integrity. Central to that is honesty. No-one is going to take you seriously if you can't be honest.  Whether that's honesty with others or the honesty you have to yourself.  Honesty with yourself requires self-reflection. And if I'm being completely truthful it's a little more complicated than not lying. Why would anyone take you seriously if you can't be true to yourself ?

On the other hand honesty with others is more straightforward and you don't need me to tell you that if you have been caught out telling a lie, building up that trust again is difficult so keep that in mind when defining your brand To put this into context and whether we like it or not we seem to have an unconscious bias when thinking of certain types of professions, so for a moment think of a second-hand car salesperson. Inherently we have a distrust of this type of person as we think potentially they will say anything to sell a car. No, I'm not labelling all salespeople with the same brush, but we've all become accustomed to this way of thinking. So, this is in effect damaging their personal brand.

Brand also should be about being bold and courageous. Step out of your comfort zone from time to time. Be accountable for your actions. Realise your actions have consequences. Moving on, but still linked to the above you need to be adaptable. Be confident in setting your own goals and objectives. Be ambitious. Be real. Don't wait for others to define your path.

My best advice to you..... In the words of Oscar Wilde:  'Be yourself, everyone else is already taken'.