I am apparently renowned for telling women to “say yes and work it out later”. It’s the closest thing to a motto that I have for how I have managed my career. It is definitely a statement that defines my approach to life.
Quite early in my career, I was offered a job that was to involve three new challenges for me. I had to lead the launch of a magazine, which is something that I had never done before. I hadn’t even worked on a magazine launch. The subject of the magazine was food and it wasn’t a category that I was familiar with. And the magazine was a custom magazine with a cover price. This was a new business model and a new way of working with a retailer, who also half-owned the magazine.
There were so many firsts that I was intrigued. I wasn’t sure that I was the right person for the job, but my new employer believed that I was. His confidence in me was enough for me to throw caution to the wind and go for it. I would go on to leap out of my comfort zone many times in my career.
The approach has served me well, but I am aware that the very thought can elicit fear in others. It’s a statement about trying something new, pursuing opportunities outside your comfort zone and believing in yourself. So I realise it’s a big ask, but anyone can make it work for them.
1. Ask yourself what’s the worst thing that could happen if you pursued that opportunity? Write it down. Write down all of the things that you most fear about taking this chance.
2. Ask yourself what’s the best thing about pursuing that opportunity? Than write down everything that could possibly go right in your life as the result of this chance.
3. Then consider the next five years. What would your life be like if you stayed where you are, rather than taking the opportunity on offer? And what could it be like if you took this opportunity now? Write both views down.
4. Ask yourself how you will feel in five years time looking back at this opportunity. Do you think that you will regret not taking it, or regret taking it?
5. Consider a person that you most admire. Have they been career risk-takers or career-conservatives?
6. Write down the pros and cons of your career as it stands today.