There will never be ‘enough’ time to prioritise our own development, so make time. I cannot over-emphasise this. The people who get the most value from Crossing Thresholds are the people who make it work for them. You have already come so far by taking the steps to get your line manager’s approval, sign up and attend module 1, so why not make this the ‘year of you’. Here are a few ideas for ways you can really kick-start your journey, get the momentum going and experience some immediate benefits.
1. Follow up with 2 people who had an impact on you during the module.
The relationships you make are at the centre of the Crossing Thresholds programme. Start as you mean to go on and start to build these relationships. Did someone say something that really resonated with you? Did they share a similar challenge? Inspire you? Or have a problem you can help with? Send them an email to say so! Then arrange to meet for coffee. You will experience an immediate boost to your confidence after doing this, make them feel great and set in motion the amazing benefits of a widened network.
2. Blog/tweet about your experience
It’s time to get out there! The Crossing Thresholds network goes far beyond just the cohort you will travel with. Start connecting with others by writing a blog about your experiences (we will share it) or tweet using the hashtag #CrossingThresholds. Maybe you had a great insight or would like some input. You might just find what you’re looking for, or inspire someone else to follow in your footsteps.
3. Schedule in time for your own development
I know I keep banging on about the time thing, but it’s really important. And given that waiting for time to magically appear doesn’t seem to be a great strategy, why not try scheduling it in? Just as you would with an important meeting, put it in your calendar and stick to it. You could even go so far as to specify exactly what you will work on in that time.
4. Contact a mentor…. Immediately!
The first person you contact might say no. Or you might wait a couple of weeks then chicken out. SO don’t wait around, find someone you think is right for you on our database and contact them straight away, certainly before a week has passed. Then as soon as you get a positive response, schedule in a meeting. Aim to meet them within 6 weeks of module 1 so it’s still fresh in your mind. At your first meeting schedule in your next block of meetings. Of course some will get moved or cancelled, but trust us, this will give you the best chance of success.
5. Take one action towards your career goal
It almost doesn’t matter what it is. You are making a signal to yourself that you take this seriously. Don’t worry that you may change your mind later or change direction, as they say “It is difficult to steer a parked car, so get moving.” So update your CV, contact your local college, request that bank loan application, read a job spec. Whatever it is, just do it.
6. Figure out the best way to maintain an ongoing conversation with your peer group
Your peer group will be a fantastic support, challenge and information system to you. It might seem like a small thing but figuring out how to easily stay in touch will be the oil that lubricates this group. Group email, messenger apps, skype groups, whatsapp and slack are a few great ways to do this. Agree what you think will work for you and don’t be afraid to change it if it turns out that it doesn’t.
7. Update your LinkedIn profile and your Twitter bio
This is a great way to make your intentions known, start to play around with your ‘personal brand’ (more on this in Module 3) and talk about your achievements. As you go through the programme and make further discoveries you will likely update it. This article has some good ideas as a starting point.
If you’re not on Twitter and LinkedIn, what are you waiting for?
8. Share your action plan with someone whose input you really value
The action plan you have created should be a live document. You will need to start by incorporating all the ideas and suggestions from the rest of your group. Then arrange a coffee with an existing or previous line manager, colleague, friend, old tutor or whoever you like to discuss these things with and talk it through with them. Get their ideas, challenge and questions.
9. Get inspired by reading some of our case studies
See how women before you have taken what they’ve learned and put it into practice, and what the results have been!
10. Create a vision board
A vision is of course an innately visual thing. There’s a reason why we start with a visualisation, to get you thinking in images before you start trying to put it into words. Pictures can help to clarify and strengthen your career vision and keeping it somewhere visible can help keep you motivated and on track. Creating a vision board also gets you thinking about the things that matter in other areas of your life (something we will reflect more on in module 2). To create a vision board:
- You will need a poster board, cork board or canvas
- Collect magazines, photos and postcards
- Hold your career and life vision in your mind as you look through the images and choose the ones you will use
- Lay them out and stick them on in whichever way you wish, you can also write, circle or use symbols to add meaning to your board
- Stick it up somewhere you will see it every day
I really hope these 10 ideas will help get you on the road to making the most of this life-changing journey. I’d love to hear what’s worked for you.