Episode #19 – The 2 Biggest Secrets for Maximizing Your Career Potential

The 2 Biggest Secrets for Maximizing Your Career Potential #19

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the two biggest secrets for maximizing your career potential. Hello, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, I’m glad to be here today.

Sharita: Stacy, in our previous podcast for candidates, we discussed three secrets for maximizing your career potential. At the end of that podcast, you made mention of the fact that we would discuss two more secrets. These two are the biggest and most important secrets, and that’s why we’re presenting them in a separate podcast.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. I feel very strongly about these two points, so I wanted to talk about them specifically and break them out from the other three. I believe that they hold the key to really growing your career.

Sharita: So to recap, the three secrets that we discussed in our previous podcast were “Be aware of your surroundings,” “Figure out your one thing,” and “Always act with integrity.” Which of the two secrets will we tackle first today?

Stacy: Our fourth secret and our first one for today is “You MUST take risks in order to enjoy rewards.” I firmly believe that this is the mindset necessary to truly “climb the ladder” in your career.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind here. First, there are varying degrees of risk. Second, people are different when it comes to how they view risk.

Some people enjoy taking risks and some people do NOT enjoy taking them. In fact, some people thrive off taking risks, and some people avoid them like the plague. However, there’s no getting around the fact that you can’t grow your career and take it to the next level without taking some sort of risk.

Sharita: Do you have examples of some of the risks you’re talking about?

Stacy: I sure do. Some examples of these risks would be:

• Talking with your boss about what’s making you unhappy in your current job
• Talking with your boss about a promotion and other growth opportunities
• Making the decision to leave your current employer
• Accepting a job with another company that involves more responsibility than what you have now
• Moving to another part of the country for a better opportunity
• Moving to another country for a better opportunity

Sharita: It seems like there are risks involved in whatever career path you choose. There are risks if you choose to stay with your current employer and there are risks if you choose to pursue other opportunities.

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. There are risks involved in whichever path you choose: your current employer or a new employer. If you believe that it’s easier to grow your career by staying where you are, that’s simply not the case.

You’ll still have to take risks to get where you want to go. They’ll just be different risks than if you decided to pursue a job with another organization. I have seen people take risks and be rewarded for taking those risks. I have also seen people NOT take risks and be penalized for not taking those risks. In fact, I have a story that illustrates this.

[Case study #1: The candidate who wanted to take the next step in their career, but who only wanted to work in the Topeka, Kansas area.]

Sharita: I’ve actually heard that people who change jobs more often earn more money than people who don’t. Is that true?

Stacy: It is! People who change jobs every three to five years earn more in compensation and benefits than people who stay at the same employer for 10 to 15 years.

There was an article in Forbes magazine that stated staying employed at the same company for over two years on average is going to make you earn less over your lifetime by about 50% or more.

Sharita: So why is this the case?

Stacy: This is the case because employers must entice professionals that they want to hire with more money, compensation, and other benefits. As a result, those people are rewarded for taking a risk, leaving their current employer, and going to work for another company.

And I have a story that shows this, too.

[Case study #2: Sales rep who had been at the same employer for 17 years and found out that she was one of the lowest-paid professionals at her company and didn’t even know it!]

Sharita: What is the second secret that we’re talking about today?

Stacy: Our second secret is “Don’t let fear rule the decisions you make about your career.”

The reason this is so important is because fear is the one thing that’s responsible for holding people back from what they want most. This secret goes hand-in-hand with the one we just discussed, the one about taking risks. That’s because the main reason people don’t take the risks that are necessary to enjoy big rewards is fear.

Fear takes a lot of different forms, like:

• Fear of the unknown
• Fear of failure
• Fear of not meeting expectations
• Fear of making the wrong decision
• Fear of stepping out of your comfort zone

There’s an acronym that I believe spells out perfectly what fear really is in most situations, especially in those situations that pertain to a person’s professional life. That acronym is:

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

Sharita: Isn’t fear a natural emotion, though? I mean, everybody is afraid at one time or another.

Stacy: Yes, fear is a natural emotion. However, it’s what you’re actually afraid of that’s the main issue. Many times in the professional world, people experience the emotion of fear without any actual reason to experience it.

Sharita: What do you mean by that?

Stacy: I mean what these people fear is the anticipation of an event and not the event itself. I have an example from our childhood that I think everybody will relate to.

When you were a child, getting a shot may have been a frightening experience. If so, you probably remember the drive to the doctor’s office and the questions that were running through your mind.

How big would the needle be? How many shots would you be getting? How much would it hurt?

Then, of course, once you reached the doctor’s office and received your shot, you discovered that thinking about the shot was worse than getting it.

Once again, the anticipation of the event was actually scarier than the event itself.

Sharita: So it’s the same thing with your career?

Stacy: Absolutely. People experience fear within their job and about their career because of the anticipation of an event, which usually signifies some sort of change.

Some examples of situations that people fear, or more accurately, that they fear the anticipation of, include:

• Talking with their boss about a raise
• Undergoing additional training and obtaining new certifications
• Talking with their boss about a promotion
• Taking on new responsibilities or managing others
• Deciding to accept a new position with another organization

Sharita: So like when you were getting a shot as a child, all sorts of questions can race through your mind in these situations?

Stacy: They sure can. Questions like:

• What if it doesn’t work out?
• What if I fail?
• What if I struggle?
• What if my current boss freaks out when I submit my resignation?

Also like getting a shot, these fears are unfounded. You’ll find that thinking about a change is worse than actually making that change or taking that next step in your career. I can say, without a doubt, that fear is the one thing that holds people back from going after the things they want most in their careers.

Sharita: You have a personal story about not letting fear hold you back, is that right?

Stacy: That’s right.

[Case study #3: Stacy being afraid of picking up the phone during her internship, and now she’s a recruiter on the phone all day long.]

Quite simply, if you let fear rule your decisions, you will NOT reach your full potential as a professional. It just won’t happen. The fact of the matter is that taking risks and making decisions take a certain amount of courage.

Everybody experiences fear from time to time. Courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to overcome fear and still go after what you want the most.

Sharita: And there’s really no way to avoid risk and feelings of fear professionally, is there?

Stacy: There isn’t. Risks and fear can exist no matter which path you choose to grow your career. It could be with your current employer, or it could be with a new one.

If you don’t take risks and overcome fear caused by the anticipation of change, then your career will remain stagnant and you won’t achieve the things that are important to you—especially the “one thing” that’s most important.

I want everybody in the audience to remember that this is the result of more than 20 years of experience as a recruiter. I’ve worked with literally thousands of professionals during that time.

I know what has worked and what hasn’t worked. These secrets that we’ve talked about today are the things that work, and they can work for you.

Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!