Is your career (and your manager) zapping your energy? Then you might be doing it all wrong. Here’s six ways to help you create a working life you don’t want to escape from.
Is your career (and your manager) zapping your energy? You’re not alone. The results from my 2018 Global Executive Women’s Wellbeing Report revealed that six in 10 executive women don’t want to turn up to work on Mondays and seven in 10 don’t have enough energy to meet the demands of their day. Yet very few do something about it until they burn out. I get it, I really do – because I’ve been there myself.
In 2012, after working in London, New York City, Asia and Australia to deliver over $5 billion to Fortune 500 companies like Unilever, Nestle, and Pepsi Co, I burnt out in spectacular fashion. After rebuilding my life, becoming a World Champion sailor and finding my passion as a Career Acceleration Strategist, I started the research that would inform my Global Executive Women’s Wellbeing Report. My goal was to understand the root causes of career and life dissatisfaction and do something about it. I took a career sabbatical and wrote the best-selling book ‘Smart Girls Screw Up Too – The no-nonsense guide to create the life you want’ to give all women the tools to create a working life they don’t want to escape from.
Here are six tips from my toolkit to help you create a career don’t want to escape from.
1. Love your manager
Your relationship with your manager is the most important relationship you have (outside of your romantic relationships). If there’s love and deep respect, it’s roses. If it’s not, your life can be hell and your career could be jeopardised. When choosing a manager (or continuing to) here’s seven things to consider:
- Do you have similar values and care about you as a person?
- Do they put yours and the team’s best interests at heart?
- Do they elevate you and your results?
- Do you trust them, and do they listen to you?
- Do they listen and take on feedback?
- Do they model flexible work practices in reality?
- Do they make themselves available to you and support your development?
2. Love your work environment and the people in it
One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Why doesn’t my work environment feel right for me anymore?”. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, 7 in ten women don’t like their work environment. The truth is you’ve grown and the environment and people in it haven’t. You’re breathing in the same recycled air they are, the same belief systems and values that simply don’t align with what’s important to you anymore. If your energy is being sucked away when you tap into the gates, it’s time to find a better environment or actively change the one you’re in (if you’ve seen some success of that in the past).
3. Love the cause you’re working for
I’m talking about the real ‘why’ behind what you do here. The thing that gets you out of bed on Monday morning. Don’t worry if you don’t know, 8 in ten have no clear vision for their life or career, but those that do earn up to nine times more across their lifetime and feel great doing so.
Be aware of the double whammy, a lack of personal and professional vision and following an organisation’s vision that grates at your values and (soul). This breeds sickness and burnout. Life’s too short to spend it feeling ordinary and working for a cause you don’t believe in, so if you’ve stopped believing or didn’t start believing do yourself a favour and get the hell out of dodge.
“Work for a cause, not applause. Life life to express, not to impress”. Unknown
4. Love your lifestyle
One of the top drivers of career satisfaction is your ability to blend your work and life in a way that suits yours (and your family’s) lifestyle. Creating a career, you don’t want to escape from starts with designing and planning for the lifestyle you desire.
To give yourself a kickstart ask yourself how would you like to spend your working day, who are you working with, on what cause and where are you doing it? Compare this to what you’re doing now and begin to create an action plan to achieve it. Even if it takes five years (it’s taken me that long!) you’re setting yourself up for the next 20 to 30 years of your career and that’s something to be excited about.
5. Love your numbers (and savings plan)
Seven in 10 fear that not having enough money stops them from pursuing what they really want to do. That means there’s a lot of women sitting on their hands (and their unique gifts and talents) because they’re not planning the money stuff.
Most women I’m supporting with a career strategy are planning their career pivot two years in advance before they crash and burn or are so disengaged they become apathetic (it’s not an attitude you want when taking your next career steps).
These women create financial scenarios. They save up to fund courses to skill themselves up, they create side hustles or use their salary to fund their ideas as they test and learn. They have also got clear on what they’re prepared to trade off and what they’re not and they create their next steps from that place.
6. Love and nurture your health
Seven in 10 female executives say they don’t have enough energy to meet the demands of their day. Much like loving our numbers, loving our health means we’re ensuring our number one asset – our energy – to enable sustainable performance and financial outcomes. You might be one of the six in 10 experiencing a gut, hormonal or sleep health issue that’s having a profound impact on your mental health and stress levels. Getting back to basics and diarising practices to support your energy, like a morning and evening tech-free routine (you can let those 5,000 marketing messages you see a day hit you after 9am), is essential if you want to be sustainable in the long term in your career.
We’re proud to have Bella Zanesco as a Premium member of Business Chicks. She is a Career Acceleration Strategist, a World Champion Athlete and screwed up royally when she suffered a $5 billion burnout. For a free career and life audit or to purchase a copy of Bella’s book Smart Girls Screw Up Too – The no-nonsense guide to creating the life you want go here. @bellazanesco