Who’s Got Your Back?

I recently attended a lunch at the Consulate General of Canada in New York with the Minister for the Status of Women, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, where a group of businesswomen engaged in a thought provoking discussion about female leadership, success, and women’s rights.

The topics raised during the lunch had me thinking about my female clients and their professional experiences.   Most organizations have started addressing female advancement issues head on, through the implementation of policies and practices regarding hiring, training and retaining women at all levels.

However, if you are a corporate professional, I would ask you to answer this question each day:

“What are you doing to advance yourself within your organization?”

Even within the most progressive organizations, at the end of the day, you must have your own back.  If you are not taking active steps to foster your own career progress (or sometimes just survival), you cannot expect others to do it for you.

The good news is that if you have fallen into the trap of just making it through the days, without watching out for yourself at the same time, it doesn’t have to be that way.

To get you started, let’s look at this as a two-step process:

1.    Do you know what you stand for and what you are willing to stand?

To answer this question, take some time to outline your values, your personal and professional priorities, your short-term and long-term goals, and your unique parameters.

2.    Who else has your back?

To answer this question, think about the support that is available both within your workplace and outside of it.  This means your superiors, partners, professional development team, spouse, friends, and family.  Once you put yourself out there, you will be amazed at how many people want to have your back.

Most law firms and companies have support networks in place, whether it’s through training, coaching, and/or mentorship.  If you haven’t been identified as a candidate for a program, please raise your own hand today.  Contact me for a coaching proposal you can use to request your own support.

For support and built-in accountability during this two-step process, and to ensure that you really do have your own back, please contact me at valerie@cherneskicoaching.com.

If you enjoyed my thoughts in this email, please pass it along to other lawyers and corporate professionals who could use help navigating their careers.

I coach lawyers and leaders to fine tune success and:

  • Show up 100% at the office and at home;
  • Reduce daily exhaustion and stress;
  • Build in structure and accountability for career plans and business development; and
  • Navigate professional relationships to achieve their goals.


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