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Using Brexit to Progress Your Career (1 of 2)

Category: career insights

3 key learning points from Brexit to help you take back control personally and professionally

Part 1 of 2

Things are never as good or as bad as they seem. This is a line I have been reminded of these past 2 weeks. This post, in 2 parts, is intended to help you assess what you can learn from Brexit. Then apply that learning to assist in your own development. It presented and/or reinforced some key insights for me. You can tell me if they resonate with you or not. They are:

  1. Limit your exposure to the media
  2. Know your end goal
  3. Decide now – see the opportunities or the threats

1. Limit your exposure to the media

In 2008, after Lehman Bros collapsed, I was paralysed by fear. The evening news at home – fear. The morning papers – fear. Watching the markets tumble all day – fear. We were told, and sold, the same story everywhere – fear.

I chose to immerse myself in it. This was a subconscious decision because I lacked the awareness to decide otherwise. Choosing to do nothing is a choice in itself. I discussed, with anyone who would listen, how the world as we knew it was ending. I joined in the blame game. For a while. Until I got sick of it. But what a waste of time, I accomplished nothing in that period.

Brexit has similarities to 2008. Not because of the systemic shock to global markets caused. But because of the hysteria that followed the Leave result.

Whatever your view, how did you react? With emotion? Was it all very personal? Please don’t think for a moment I am suggesting that the result doesn’t matter and have significant consequences. I’m not. Just pause and consider……

  • What ‘facts’ and ‘views’ caused you to feel or behave the way you did?
  • Did you originate them?
  • If not, who did?
  • What was their agenda?
  • What have you concluded?

The re-enactments of The House of Cards by key political figures and parties over the past 10 days has been farcical. Too farcical for the media to avoid. But they’ll revert to the most profitable headlines soon – those driving fear and anxiety into the public.

Constant negative news is detrimental to your progress, personally and professionally. It permeates your consciousness. It erodes confidence and creates doubts. It creates inaction. Inaction means no progress. No progress means you’re going backwards.

The smartest way to protect against the media’s negativity is to be clear on what you’re aiming for.

2. Know your end goal

In 2008 my career plan was simple. I was client facing. I’d serve my clients well and things would happen for me. They were all leaders in their fields, so surely I’d do well by impressing them. This would eventually create an opportunity to work with one of them. I had no clue or designs on which one. Or which market…..

It wasn’t a plan at all, was it? It was an excuse for not having to think of a plan.

So when it all went pear-shaped, so did my career. I had no inner compass guiding me to a point I had chosen to move towards. I was a wandering generality, and deep down I knew it.

And here lies another interesting learning point from Brexit. What was the end goal of either campaign? What detailed vision did either side paint for us to believe in, and buy into? What could we work towards, even if it meant some short-term pain?

One was ideological – taking back control. To what end? What will it help us achieve? When? Give me detail. Help me picture this success.

Remain was just as weak. Protecting against ‘change’ out of fear for what it meant. It wasn’t enough. It didn’t grab the nation’s attention, did it? Tell me what you will help me achieve by remaining. When? Give me detail. Help me picture this success.

Again, consider the following. Be honest with yourself. Where is your career taking you? And why don’t you take it somewhere instead? Jot down some notes in response to the following questions.

  • What’s your picture of success?
  • When do you aim to get there?
  • What milestones will you reach along the way?
  • What route could you take to get you there?
  • Which one will you choose?
  • Who is going to support you?
  • What other resources can fast-track your progress?
  • What have you concluded in answering these questions?
  • What action will you take as a result?

(This is the first of 2 parts to this post. You can access the second part here.)

About The Author

Jasper WalsheI coach leaders, executives, teams and groups of millennials in highly skilled professions to strengthen their leadership skills, engagement and performance. I create bespoke coaching programmes to help busy, fee-earning professionals focus on their best approach to navigating the challenges and opportunities that change brings on a daily basis.
Grab my free paper on improving Leadership, Engagement and Performance here!

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