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5 Actions I Wish I Had Done Better Or Earlier To Empower Myself Even More As A Young Professional

Written by: Christelle Soto-Suarez, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

This is the 2nd installment of my 3-part series on the topic of "Do you ever look back at the early stage of your professional life?”. Having looked back at the5 Steps I’m Glad I Took to Empower Myself as a Young Professional”, I’m now looking back at the “things” I did, but wished I had done them in a better way, or earlier, or both!

First, what brought me to do these “things”?


The main reason that pushed me was the “wanting” to design, build and lead MY life based onwho I wasandwho I wanted to be”, as far as possible…


But that “wanting” took a bit longer to be strong enough for me to take action… because, most of the time, taking action means getting out of our comfort zone, getting (very) uncomfortable – and there are some levels of “uncomfortable” that we’re just not YET ready to put ourselves in!


Next, how did I do these “things”?


In the 1st installment, I stated that


But I often feel conflicted between what I need to do to become who I want to be… and enjoying a peaceful, smooth and comfortable life… I called this my “internal contradiction”…

And my “internal contradiction” voices have recurrent, lengthy, argued conversations in my head… The decisive factor, for me, is the weight of “what I want” against the impact of the actions necessary to get this "what I want" in my life…

Here, the “internal contradiction” is even stronger, and the answer to my question “Am I willing to be uncomfortable?” is “no, I’m not” or “no, not yet”…


Over time, and after going back to asking myself “how much do I want this?”, the answer can slowly shift to “yes, I am” … but is often conditional on me preparing myself for the uncomfortablethat is coming up…


Finally, what do I get out of doing these "things"?


This is the same answer as in the 1st installment:

  • If it went quite well: satisfaction, fulfillment, a great experience to build on, a pleasant adventure, happiness… progressing in designing, building, and leading MY life…

  • If it didn’t go so well but I got close to my desired result: still progressing in designing, building, and leading MY life…

  • If it didn’t go so well and I didn’t get close to the desired result: need to accept that this was a “learning” experience, even if it’s not that easy to do!

And now, let’s look at these “things” I wish I had done better, or earlier…


Pursuing further education while working


As I said in the 1st installment, "education was always the main pillar to having a different life from my parents'”.


For me, “education” includes:

  • College and university qualifications, but also online programs, programs from professional organizations, programs specializing in narrow topics and expertise;

  • Learning via means that do not provide a “certificate”: reading, listening, watching, speaking to others – in and outside of our line of work;

  • Training in something else, something we don't need for our work, but that could help us be different from others, or that could help us have a different perspective on the problems we encounter and how to deal with them…

So, what is it I wish I had done better or earlier about "education"?

  • Going back to university while working full time, deepening my understanding of the specialization I was involved in (preparing delay and quantum expert reports) as well as improving my communication skills with our client's representatives (lawyers) – it took me about 10 years to even think of it (no “models” around to inspire me!)!

  • Undertaking an online program by a professional organization, to differentiate myself from others in that specialty in the industry I was in – it took me nearly 20 years to seriously consider it, again without any “models” around me!

  • Studying something not related to my role and the industry I was in, just for myself, because it interested me! Of course, in my case, I ended up switching careers – but that is not the point! In other circumstances, I could very well have tried to integrate some of that training into my existing role, or as a volunteering role on the side…

Not waiting for someone to “discover” me


This is one that I already mentioned in the 1st installment, stating “practice keeping your eyes open for opportunities” instead of waiting for someone to ask you if you would be interested in…


There is one opportunity in particular that I regret not having taken earlier, and that’s self-publishing on LinkedIn!


Because writing is something I've been interested in for a long time… but I never did anything about it… until the "wanting" became stronger than the "uncomfortable" of putting my thoughts out there… And now, since my 1st article back in February 2021, I’ve self-published about 20 articles on LinkedIn and had 6 articles published by Brainz Magazine and I’m very pleased with this experience!


Participating in professional and networking organizations


By "participating", I don't means just paying the annual subscription, reading the articles, and attending events… I mean: participating in the life of the organization – because it's a great way to practice, and learn, a range of skills as well as to get to know more people in the industry, and be known by people we wouldn’t connect with because of their position (senior managers, department heads)!


For example, having identified an organization doing something I was interested in (supporting women in the construction industry) and with a small enough leadership group, I decided to put myself forward for their Board of Directors election – but it took me more than 20 years to think of it, consider it seriously, and then take action!


Since then, having learned from the experience, I do try to be more actively involved in some organizations and to support others, especially the younger generations, even if only via informal chats! And there is no telling what opportunities may appear: speaking at events, being part of coaching-mentoring programs…


Exploring and experimenting


This is also one that I mentioned in the 1st installment – but this is such a wide topic that many, many “things” can be included in!


For me, the "exploring and experimenting" that I wish I had done better or earlier refers to integrating some of my interests into my career, whether as part of my role or as volunteering activities:

  • Writing and then self-publishing articles on LinkedIn (see above), empowering and inspiring others to consider the construction industry, or to be more intentional in their choice of career;

  • Co-writing a professional article with a colleague, getting it published in a professional review (thanks to professional connections), and getting it highlighted in the company’s newsletter;

  • Being a panelist at events on a topic I know very well (as far as I’m concerned, small events organized by small organizations are great – much easier to start with and practice public speaking!);

  • Joining a mentorship program, as a mentor, to guide and support others on one side, but also to inspire them and expand their view of what’s possible;

  • Becoming an informal mentor to people joining the team, the project.

Getting mentoring and coaching


Those are words that I didn’t hear in my line of work for a very long time…


I started noticing the word "mentoring" when I became more actively interested in what was going on around leveling the playing field between genders (especially about women). But all the programs I could see were about "leadership" and "executive" – and I didn’t consider that these 2 words applied to me…


Finally, only a few years ago, I decided to join a mentorship program – it wasn't 100% what I was looking for, but I liked the presentation webinars about the program, so I decided to "jump"… And it was greatly beneficial to me… And yes, this is definitively something I SHOULD have done a long time ago!


As for coaching… again, I heard this term more about “leadership” and “executive” than anything else (or in situations where it actually referred to mentoring!). Digging deeper, I discovered life coaching – which sounded perfect for me… but also appeared to be a real mix of trained and untrained people, specializing in every direction… and very confusing! But I was so fascinated by this "life coaching" practice that I decided to learn more about it, getting a lot of coaching along the way – discovering and learning more about myself and how I can get to where I want to be, following a path that suits ME. Like mentoring, this is something I SHOULD have done a long time ago!


Note: They’re many forms of mentoring and coaching, so it takes a bit of time and energy to research and find one that works for us…


What about you?


I’m curious… If you’re at the beginning of your professional life:

  • What is it that YOU want to do but you don’t YET feel ready to be UNCOMFORTABLE for?

  • How do you get READY to be UNCOMFORTABLE?

  • What is it that you see more experienced people do that you could do NOW?

  • What ideas of “things” you could do came up in your mind when reading this article?

Final words


Interested in knowing more about my 5-step process to “Empowering Yourself to Create the Life and Career You Want”? Book a free 45-minute Empower Yourself Discovery Call!


Simply curious? Then check out Pistachio-Cassis Coaching website!


Subscribe to my Pistachio-Cassis Newsletter for monthly insights on Empowering Yourself to Create the Life and Career You Want.


Follow me on LinkedIn for inspiration, motivation, and education about how to empower yourself. And please, reach out to me via LinkedIn or email to let me know you’ve read my article. I’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback, suggestions, or anything else you want to tell me! Visit my website for more info!


 

Christelle Soto-Suarez, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Christelle Soto-Suarez is a Personal Leadership & Development Coach who empowers Women in STEM / Construction to create the Life and Career they want, and is the founder of Pistachio-Cassis Coaching. She’s a certified professional coach and a member of the International Coaching Federation.


However, coaching is her 2nd career. Previously, she spent 25 years as a construction professional, working on a wide range of construction and engineering projects and in different roles. She worked and lived in several countries, experienced working in multicultural teams, and speaks 3 languages.


But however fulfilling and challenging these experiences were, the time came when she realized that she actually felt unhappy, unfulfilled, unsatisfied with where she was in her life…


Through her own exploration journey to discover how to create the life and career she wanted for herself, Christelle realized she was actually following a life coaching process… That fascinated her so much that she trained as a professional life coach and she set up her own coaching practice to empower others to also create the life and career they want.


Outside of coaching, Christelle loves expanding her horizons through reading, conversing with people with different backgrounds and experiences, and relaxing in nature.


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