One of the highlights of my week was participating in an American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) panel with several Boston area healthcare leaders. The panel, entitled “Making the Next Move: Career Positioning and Proactively Managing Your Career Development,” was part of a series focused on early careerists and co-sponsored by the Boston Young Healthcare Professionals (BYHP).
We covered a range of topics, including taking ownership of your own career, knowing yourself and clarifying your roadmap, the work-life balancing act, gender and cultural diversity, personal branding and using social media, and generational differences.
Ted Witherell, Director of Organization Development and Learning Services at Partners Healthcare, also served as a panelist. He posed three key questions to ask when thinking about your career:
- What brings you joy?
- Are you good at it?
- Does the world need you to do it?
These questions seemed to resonate with the audience. They came up often during the Q&A period as attendees sought to connect the experiences and advice being shared by the panelists with their own situations.
As the only woman on the five-member panel, I wanted to make sure I spoke directly to the women in the audience on challenges we face. At times, one of those challenges is having self-confidence. I encouraged everyone to check out the excellent article — “The Confidence Gap” — which was published in the Atlantic a few years ago. I highly recommend reading it to understand that “success correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence” and “that with work, confidence can be acquired,” according to authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.
I also addressed the work-life balance that we all struggle with. My colleague, David Muntz, likes to call it “life-work balance.” It’s an interesting way to flip it as you think about what’s most important to you. We all need support systems. Women in particular should let go of being perfectionists, figure out what they can say “no” to, and stop putting so much pressure on themselves.
I learned that lesson many years ago when I was a young mother of two daughters, holding a management position and attending graduate school at night for my MBA. I remember very distinctly the night when I realized and accepted I couldn’t be all things to all people — super wife, super mom, and super manager. I figured out a game plan — what could I take off my plate and what help I needed from others.
Today, I am committed to helping develop the next generation of leaders. To the extent personal experiences from my own career and lessons I’ve learned along the way can help others, I will readily share. Thanks to all the other panelists who were willing to share their stories; we all learned from each other.
For more career advice, I hope you’ll check out some of my previous posts. Remember, you own your own career and need to make the choices that are right for you.