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Career advice: what I wish I knew then

Giving Advice Mother to Daughter

I celebrated a birthday dinner with three friends and asked them for advice:

What do you know now that you would advise a young adult entering the workforce?

Here’s what they said:

  1. Be confident. You know a lot more than you think you do.
  2. Remember why you chose your profession. Don’t complain. Enjoy what you’re doing!
  3. Travel and work abroad, especially in your 20s. Push beyond your fear to do what you really want to do. Seize opportunities. When you’re asked, “Can you take this on? Would you like to be part of this project?” say YES.  It will lead to new learnings, relationships and doors opening.

I loved how firmly – and quickly – they had a response.

My Advice

I wish someone had told me, Don’t worry so much about picking the “right” job. You’ll figure it out in time – what you like and don’t like to do, the type of working environment in which you thrive best. Perfect jobs (or lives) don’t exist.

I’d tell “young Laura” that life is a process. Learn what you can and move on. You won’t have one career for the rest of your life. You’ll evolve and your experiences will take you in directions you won’t anticipate. Picture your career as a jungle gym not a ladder.

Since that dinner, I’ve asked a few others for their guidance and they all readily answered. So I ask you the question:

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

The answer usually revolves around a work experience “shortcut” that would have saved you time and perhaps heartache had you only known about it.

Leadership Mindset

Another friend talked about the mindset shift that needs to happen when you become a leader. Specifically, she talked about flexibility.

Too often we focus on creating a career path based on “what is” instead of “what could be.” Your next career step may be a job that hasn’t even been created yet. Think about that. Those juicy opportunities operate in the white space between the clearly defined, already created jobs where you get to grow the most by creating something from scratch.

Get comfortable with uncertainty, meaning that which has not been created yet, and see your leadership blossom. The truth is, leaders don’t always know what to do. They lead despite the uncertainty by forging alliances with peers within and without their organization, building strong teams to execute their vision, and accepting they will learn as they go. They are always “in process.”

Parental Guidance is Advised

As a mom, I want my kids to thrive. I want to share work experience shortcuts as they move to a new life stage. As a former HR professional, I want to help our Gen Zs navigate the working world. Consider:

What advice would you give your kids as they start their working lives?

Send me your advice before Labour Day and I’ll pull it together into an eBook. For those who participate, I’ll give you a free copy. I don’t need to identify you by name if you prefer anonymity.

Women Talking photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash; Men Talking photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

I think the advice will prove valuable not just for our kids but for all of us. We learn through others’ stories as much as our own. Let’s build our community by helping the next generation!

You have to be open minded in order to grow. The coaching that Laura gave me opened my eyes to what and how I was doing things and allowed me to see the bigger picture. I am not done yet but I already see the changes in my everyday life.

MM

I think coaching is a great way to help you clear your mind when you get stuck with overwhelming situations or when stepping into changes in your life.

MO

Coaching is life changing. It pushes you outside your comfort zone and challenges your perspectives.  It is highly motivating and the exercises and techniques used are both fun and informative.  I think the main benefits of coaching are to see yourself, others and the world more clearly.  I think coaching is valuable to anyone regardless of where you are in your life or career.

LE

I honestly never thought I’d need a coach. I thought coaching was for CEOs and industry VIPs. I didn’t think it was for the “little guys” (i.e. me). Now, I’m of the belief that everyone – yes, EVERYONE – needs a coach. Coaching has really benefitted me and I’m so grateful to have had that time with Laura. It’s changed my life!

VB

Laura is very patient. She took the time to understand what was causing me to be stuck where I am today and help me build a better vision so I can continue to grow.

MM

I think Laura’s coaching was what I had been waiting for. Laura was so approachable, kind, and open. Her willingness to help and support made a difference for me. I found in her coaching new strategies, ideas, and perspectives that I could incorporate into my goals and objectives that I didn’t see before.

MO

Laura is an incredibly intuitive, positive and caring coach. Her techniques helped me recognize both my strengths and areas I might want to explore as I embark on the next chapter of my career. The exercises she employed were instrumental in providing self perspective and challenging my frames of reference.

LE

Laura is a natural coach. Her probing and compassionate questions helped me learn about myself: my value system, interests, goals and strengths.

LM

Coaching sessions with Laura gave me new perspectives on how to process specific feelings and situations in life.  She showed me how to sit with my emotions, acknowledge them, and then use visualization strategies to move through them.  I now feel more confident and in control of how I choose to walk through life.

CP

From the beginning, Laura put me at ease, creating a safe, open space for me to talk and share freely without fear of judgement. I loved the variety of approaches she used depending on the topic we were working on and it was fun being able to try out things I wouldn’t have considered before! With Laura’s coaching, I substantially grew my confidence in the workplace, overcame fears, dealt with issues I’d been carrying around for many years and, most importantly, learned to value myself and define a path forward into the future.

AG

Laura’s coaching was a breath of fresh air and EXACTLY what I needed at that point of my life. I didn’t realize how impactful coaching was going to be, but by the end of the sessions together, I left feeling refreshed, inspired and genuinely curious about what my future held for me. Because of Laura and her coaching, I believe I became a better person – someone who is more open-minded, someone with a clearer focus, and someone who is willing to explore opportunities and possibilities far more than I ever did before.

VB

I engaged Laura for coaching as I took on an expanded role leading an asset management company in Canada. As a female, I knew I would be a role model and had high expectations of myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

In our first few coaching sessions we worked through exercises that allowed me to reflect on my purpose, leadership style and what mattered most to me. I continue to be grounded by the clarity I achieve in my coaching sessions – allowing me to be resilient and confident when challenges came my way.

OS