by Ishana Tripathi
Erasmus Young Entrepreneur Fellow, The Negotiation Academy
There’s no escaping “Bey” when one wants to give an example of strength, character and individual presence! Beyonce once said, we need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves, we have to step up as women and take the lead; and there’s no better way to resonate this sentiment than to take fifteen women with a combined strength of character that can move mountains and ensconce them in a quaint castle in the Austrian countryside.
Two weeks ago, the trainers of the Negotiation Academy spent five days with some of the most remarkable individuals that I have ever had the privilege of interacting with at the Women Leadership and Negotiation Summer Academy.
In an almost family-like environment, having chosen only 15 top women from around the world, including countries from almost all continents, like India, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia, we explored different segments of confidence building, career development, negotiation and leadership skills.
Day by day we worked on pushing boundaries, aiming higher and developing ambitious career goals (and the necessary steps).
As a keepsake, here is a sneak peak at our five mantras to pave a path to a top career:
- Identify What You Want
The first step is the most underrated but the significance of it creates the foundation for not just life navigation but personality development. It is necessary to list out the things that you want to achieve in your life – in the form of long term goals which could be five year plans to get an LL.M. at a top law school, or daily goals like reading 30 pages of a new book every day on your commute. Psychologists say that doing the smallest errands which you have listed out helps reduce complacency and increase energy to be more productive. Long term goals can (and should!) be big and daunting, but if you break them down into many individual steps and smaller sub-goals and write them down they suddenly become a manageable to-do list (and who doesn’t love ticking those off?).
- Make a plan about how to get there
Once you’ve made a list of the things you want to achieve, or set that one big goal with sub-steps, research them! If you want to study in a particular university, inform yourself about it, read through their website, check blogs, connect with alumni, read books and articles written by professors in the area you want to study in and so on. There should be no difference in your work and preparation whether its wanting a life skill like learning a different language or planning for a big goal. Every lesson needs planning; therefore, to achieve a goal you need to plan how and why you want to get there!
- Do Not Compare. Persevere Instead
Let’s not deny that there is a competitive market which keeps increasing on a daily basis. But, the standard that you want to compete with is for you to set. It’s very easy to get derailed when you’re already on the plan achievement path. It could be because it’s not an overnight victory or it could be because you start to believe that you’re not good enough! How do you block out negativity and the insecurities that come with the people around you? The key is to set your own standard of work and work for yourself! Condition yourself to tune out negativity and comparisons around you and focus on how you can improve everyday to become better the next day. Recognise that there is a scope for improvement and keep at it till you’ve reached your own brand of perfection. Your aim should be to become a benchmark to be compared to! Surround yourself with people who encourage you and find your daily escape from reality. It is important that you reflect and spend time with yourself. I find solace in books and movies others enjoying baking or running, find your own alternate reality as a coping mechanism and trash out negative energy! This will enable you to be more confident and also the best version of yourself.
- Find Your Demons and Overcome Them.
Positive reinforcement! Find your weak spots and convert them into strengthens. Use positive reinforcement to help you with it. Don’t seek out rewards or validation from others, gift yourself every time you push yourself out of your comfort zone. In a classroom, make up your mind that you’re going to ask a question or offer an answer, which you would never do otherwise. Treat yourself to a chocolate or something else you like because of this! Talking to people too much about your demons or bottling them up inside are both dangerous, ineffective and are roadblocks that blur your future vision. Like you research professional growth and ways to get there; personal development is also co-related to working hard on improving your fallacies. Put your mind towards working on one concern you have about yourself and overcome it. If you have trouble maintaining eye contract while speaking in public because it makes you nervous, practice every day in front of the mirror, find speaking events and sign up for them. Don’t run from being embarrassed. It’s the same as running from yourself. Accepting failure is one’s biggest demon and you need to condition yourself to treating it as a life event which helps you move forward.
- Lead and Follow
Listen to the masses to form your own decision. Listen to your brain, instinct and heart to make your decisions. Good leaders are good listeners and they have to combine the information from the masses and their own rational thought process. You cannot be a leader if you do not follow your own instincts and blend into the masses nor can you be one if you’re not aware of what they are saying! Learn to filter and retain information that is necessary.
Through the five days we spent together, we touched upon each of the above points and an atmosphere which started with natural unsureness and, almost, intimidation by the achievements of others, turned into one of confident go-getters!
By the end of just one week each of our participants had set a big goal to achieve, a date by when it was due, and was eager to get home to start executing their to-do list to get there.
As a wrap up, I urge every reader to try out these tested mantras and see for yourself the changes not just in your work goals but your personal outlook to approaching problems and life in general! And if they work for you, pass the message along.