If you’ve seen the movie The Holiday, you likely remember the scene where Kate Winslet and Eli Wallach are conversing and Eli Wallach tells her rather bluntly that the reason she is not happy is because she isn’t playing the leading lady in her own life. Now, I am asking you — do you consider yourself the leading lady of your own career?
Leading ladies maintain high standards for themselves. They are constantly working to hone their craft and are always on the lookout for the next big role even when they are currently working on a project. Leading ladies are deliberate in their career trajectory — consistently investing in themselves, putting themselves out there, and looking ahead for new opportunities.
You may not personally be in the public spotlight, but that doesn’t make fighting for your career any less important within the context of your own life. You can adopt these ideas and design your career accordingly. Continually keep yourself at the top of your game, so when opportunities present themselves, you are ready, willing, and able to take action.
Here are a few ways to establish and develop your own personal stardom:
1. Find ways to shine in your current job. Be the best you can be in your role and take note of what makes you stand out. What are you doing when you are contributing significantly, or achieving recognition, at work? Whatever these star qualities are, they can be leveraged where you are right now and then taken with you to the next stop on your career path.
2. Learn to communicate your talents to others in a way that feels natural and matter-of-fact. You don’t need to brag or be verbose on the subject, but you can allow others to see you striving for excellence. Take the lead where appropriate and step into the forefront of work projects with positive energy.
3. Look for opportunities to learn. If you are interested in projects or positions beyond where you are currently, investigate what additional skills or knowledge are needed to move into those roles. Discuss this with your employer to see how they might help you grow. If they don’t offer any options, find a way to pursue them on your own.
4. Expand your horizons beyond your work. Engage in volunteer activities, hobbies, and social situations that introduce you to new people and provide new experiences for self-development. If your work isn’t creative enough, find a creative hobby or socialize with creative people, so you bolster that part of yourself and keep it alive.
5. Network and keep up your LinkedIn profile even when you aren’t looking for work. Continue to make new connections both online and offline. Keeping up with networking as you go along is much better than scrambling to get back into it every time you think you “need” to.
6. Schedule a monthly or quarterly career check-in. This is a date you set with yourself to check in on career progress. As a professional, keep up your image and assess yourself. Just as you track your income in business, you should also track your career. Ask yourself — what successes have you had, what are your current challenges, how can you address them, and who are your advocates? Checking in regularly will give you a good idea of what you have accomplished and what you have left to do.
Whether you want to be the best you can at your current position or you are on the lookout for new opportunities, the same rules apply. Stars don’t get complacent. Take these actions for yourself, regardless of whether anyone else is watching, and you’ll find yourself as the leading lady of your own career.
Michelle M. Perkins is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.