What if there was a game show entitled "Yes, You CAN Have It All" - would you want to be a contestant? The ultimate prize would be unlimited wealth, health, and happiness for the remainder of your life. You might be interested; however, I bet that you are asking the question… ” What do I have to do to win?”
Simply put…you must shift your thinking. Let me share some examples of what I mean.
- A young executive assistant shared with me that she wanted to attend my upcoming master class, but when I asked “Why are you not attending then?” she indicated “No budget…our company won’t pay for it”.
- A second example is the Executive Assistant that I reached out to and asked if she would speak at our upcoming administrators' all-hands meeting. She stared wide-eyed in panic at me and stated– “I could never do that, I’m no good at speaking in public!”.
- Then there was the case of the senior Executive Assistant that I had been coaching. She was miserable in her role and saw no room for growth. When I asked her “Why don’t you just move on?” she sadly replied, ‘I will when the time is right”.
Through the years, having become a teacher, trainer, and coach to many administrative professionals, I have come to realize that many things keep us from having what we desire. To realize our dreams and win we have to knock down the walls of the boxes that surround us. The boxes that keep us in our comfort zone and safe from fear and self-doubt. The walls that hold us back from investing in ourselves, (both personally & professionally) or even worse, losing ourselves to the demands of taking care of others above ourselves.
Investing in our profession and ourselves is all about learning how to change our mindset. Company budgets should never stop us from developing ourselves. I have seen administrators (myself included) take money from their own savings accounts just to get that opportunity to learn, network, and grow in their profession. The new skills we acquire are ours to keep no matter where we go in our careers. Growth is all about doing things you may have never done before and trying them on for size.
We have to step outside of the box!
I did finally convince that executive assistant to speak at our all-hands admin meeting and she was good! In fact, she continued to develop her speaking and presenting skills to become MORE than good – she ultimately increased her confidence enough to speak in her leader’s staff meetings! She increased her value to the organization and even increased her compensation! That is how investing in ourselves can pay off - she rid herself of the box!
It is about continually moving forward and not letting stagnation or lack of motivation creep in. If we are unhappy in our immediate roles yet telling ourselves “I will move on when the time is right” then I say the “Time IS right” to make the move to new growth and opportunity! That Executive Assistant faced the fear of change and the box that was limiting her capabilities and moved to a new role in a new company and became Chief of Staff!
When stepping out of the box, chances are quite high that we will get what we desire in our profession.
Many administrative professionals are so heads-down and focused on their leaders, organizations, and companies they support that they will not take or make time for themselves. Some just simply stay in the box and rarely make the time to look up over the cube (or box) wall. Are we missing quality time with friends and family? Are we failing to “recharge” ourselves? I hear statements such as “I don’t have the time”, or “my Executive needs me so I can’t focus on anything else”. If we are going to run marathons, then we need to take the time to care for ourselves too.
We all indeed desire to have wealth, health, and happiness as evident in how hard we work. What is truly stopping us from seeing our dreams come true is probably one of the biggest boxes we hide in - FEAR.
Often when I am mentoring Executive Assistants and asking them if they want to truly become business partners with their leaders they inevitably say “Absolutely!" That said, it's normally followed by “I’m pretty sure he won’t give me a chance.” This was the case with this one Executive Assistant who really wanted to participate in her Executives’ staff meeting and thus feel more like part of her team. I nudged her to face her fear and just ask. What is the worst that could happen? She decided to build up the nerve to ask! To her surprise, he was glad she asked. She became part of every staff meeting, including assisting in creating the agendas, driving the action items, and becoming a truly integral part of his team.
If we take the chances and face our fears, climb out of the box we can find more meaning in our roles and yes, we CAN have it all! We just need to remove the walls we have placed around ourselves and see that there are no limits to what we can have!
We can expand and grow exponentially by making decisions to go beyond the day-to-day expectations of our leaders and our organizations. To remove fear and self-doubt and truly shine and showcase our talents. We are only as valuable as we believe we are and what we aspire to be is what we become!
Breaking down the walls of the box is scary – hell yes! If I had stayed within the walls of the box and my comfort zone I would not be where I am today – teaching, coaching, and mentoring others and I would certainly have never gotten up on the stage to speak or written my book!
It is time we got rid of the Box and step out into the unbelievable future ahead for ourselves and our profession. As I turned the last page in the book of my thirty-plus year career as an Executive Assistant and started a new book and career journey, that is exactly what I was and continue to do. I am stepping out of this familiar box to face the future of unknowns. I have a great new story to write!
I want all of us in this profession to have unlimited wealth, health, and happiness and we CAN have it all by stepping outside of the box and in fact – getting rid of the box!