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Feeling Pigeonholed In Your Career?

Posted by Carol Seymour on Aug 18, 2020 9:34:37 AM
Carol Seymour

8.18.20 Pigeonholed

Do you keep getting asked to do something that you are really good at over, and over, and over again? Perhaps you are only seen inside your organization for these strengths, and you are becoming pigeonholed.

You may be performing well, getting things done, delivering results, but are you thriving? Are you able to bring your full self – your authentic self with all of your unique gifts, thoughts, ideas, and experiences – to the table? Are you described behind closed doors in a way that sets you apart from others? Because, if no one in your organization can differentiate you, you are not owning your brand – your “Signature.”

In 2017, I had the pleasure of interviewing Myriam Beatove, then VP Global HR Solutions for Cargill, for my book, Wisdom Warriors. When I asked her how she ensured her organization recognized her talents, she replied, “It isn’t about selling or marketing yourself, but you need to occupy your space. You need to express your aspirations, or people will make assumptions, and you will miss opportunities.”

Myriam was recently announced as CHRO of Cargill.

“I believe that your passion and drive are what make your career, but I also learned to embrace any opportunity, even if it required me to walk the extra mile for some time.”

Seven months into a pandemic, managing your career may be the last thing on your mind. You probably already feel like you are walking that extra mile. Even if your role hasn’t changed, you are still getting things done… more things… more of the same.

How do you occupy your space in this environment? How do you make yourself known when you only see your managers, colleagues, and potential sponsors through video conference calls?

Last week, a new group of high-potential female leaders from Fortune 500 global companies graduated Signature Select after spending three days focusing on their “Signature” – Who You Are, How You Show Up, and How You Relate to Others. Signature prompts participants to become aware of missed opportunities for their Signature to shine through. You cannot be intentional unless you are first aware.

One exercise and small group discussion included a review of many aspects of their weekly calendars from non-negotiables and prioritization to managing their energy and creating opportunities for innovation.

Look over your calendar appointments. How many of your meetings, conversations, and video calls involve the same people again and again? While everyone is using video calls, you have an opportunity to schedule one, or even two calls per week to connect with someone you don’t normally interact with, independent of their physical location. Innovation arises when we can use what we already know and apply it in different ways. Reach out to different people inside your company, or outside of it, who are not related to your everyday work. Extend a simple invitation: “I’m impressed by the work you are doing and would love to learn more about it. Coffee via video on Friday?”

You can’t get known for your gifts, thoughts, ideas, and experiences unless you SHARE them. Although many of us are not in an office right now, embrace this opportunity to become known for your full Signature, and the opportunities you need to get unstuck will start coming your way.


Topics: Advocating for Yourself, Presence, Setting Priorities

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