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Recommit to Your Role

Back in January, I had the opportunity to attend SMPS Boston’s “Recommit to Your Role” event with speaker Joanna Hoffschneider. Joanna, with a background in teaching and marketing / business development, spoke candidly about the challenges of a seemingly fuzzy career path and the quest to reinvigorate drive and purpose within our marketing positions. Her presentation provided concrete steps for career success and greater professional satisfaction.

  1. Self-Assess

To begin, Joanna guided us through a self-assessment of our current satisfaction within our roles. She encouraged participants to reflect on their own values and drivers – what makes each of us tick. Given a sample of about 50 principles and motivating factors we each considered what was essential to our happiness in the workplace and what was a deterrent. For example, I find friendships and good working relationships crucial, while chaos a huge turn off (let me keep my color-coded planner, please). We then compared our personal values and drivers with the values and drivers of our firm to build a greater context. Of course, satisfaction is only part of the picture – we also want to make sure we’re actually good at what we do. Joanna emphasized the importance of assessing our current strengths and weaknesses, not only through self check-ins, but with manager and peer feedback.

After re-confirming we’re all in the right place, with the right employer, Joanna gave some practical ways to continue to build a long-term, fulfilling career. She challenged us to be visionaries – to “define our new role.” In 18 months, what do we hope to be doing? Who is it that we want to be at work? Do we want to be more vocal in meetings? A CPSM? Marketing Director?

With that vision in mind, we wrote our aspirational bios (what we hope to be able to say about ourselves in the near future). The recipe for these bios was broken down into three key components; our qualifications, strengths, and a personal tidbit. This exercise allowed us to explore our story, define our impact, focus on outcomes, and clarify our values.

  1. Make Plan

After some brave souls shared their aspirational bios to the group, we talked about what some of the barriers to our goals might be. To figure out what’s working for us and what’s not, Joanna encouraged us to think ‘uncomfortably’ and ask for honest feedback from peers and managers. Then, most importantly, develop a plan to move forward. In creating a plan, we should consider:

  • What do we need to get ourselves to where we want to be? Training? Connections? Research? Resources? Documentation?
  • Who can we leverage?
  • How many steps on your path?

While it may seem overwhelming, we all have to start somewhere. As Joanna says, “Thinking on the couch keeps you on the couch.” What’s one actionable item you can take charge of to kick things off?

  1. Follow Through

Lastly, we talked about accountability. What I learned from The Four Tendencies Quiz is that when it comes to taking action we’re not all wired the same way. Some of us are great at prioritizing our own needs and can be largely self-propelled to follow through on personal goals. Others are more likely to succeed by confiding in a friend or trusted advisor. The key take away here is whatever you need to do to keep yourself accountable to stay on track with your career plan, do it.

Joanna did a great job of laying out specific things we can all be doing to take hold of our own careers and find fulfillment in our roles. I was left with a lot to reflect on, and more importantly a list of actionable items to bring myself closer to where I want to be. I look forward to making my aspirational bio a reality. Now for the hard part… actually doing it!

Author

Cathleen Martin is a Marketing Manager at Structure Tone and a member of the Professional Development Committee.

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