Be bold and find ways to grow professionally right now

The pace of business is not showing any signs of slowing down and the demands at work continue to trickle into our calendars as appointments, tasks and projects. It’s moments like these when I appreciate the times I can celebrate accomplishments in my work or the work of people around me.

This issue of Smart Business highlights  a select group of professional women who have made notable contributions in their business endeavors throughout Northeast Ohio.

Their impact reminds me of an Inc. article written by Benjamin P. Hardy in which he shares 30 behaviors that will make you unstoppable. As I reflect on the talented women who are being recognized this year, it is evident to me that many of Hardy’s behaviors are incorporated into their calendars:
  Continual learning.
  Own your mistakes.
■  Have clear goals.
  Don’t be afraid of failure.
  Be true to yourself.

Do not wait
As I read through the list of unstoppable behaviors and reflect back on last year’s Smart Women Breakfast, I recall a common theme. It is often interlinked within the advice of accomplished professionals: “Do not wait until you are ready.”

In fact, through my research, this is something that reappears often. I encourage women to consider taking on development opportunities before they are 100 percent ready. I have been known to say, “If you wait until you are 100 percent ready, there is little to learn. Jump-in before you are ready to ensure professional growth.”

As part of Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s research for their groundbreaking 2014 book, “The Confidence Code,” and the subsequent article that appeared in The Atlantic, Kay and Shipman found that “women take significantly fewer risks than men, leading to lower confidence levels, which can stifle career growth.”

As you think about your career trajectory, have you planned for a safe journey? Is it time to tag opportunities that align with your long-term goals and enable you to stretch beyond your comfort zone? My suggestion is to select projects and roles that facilitate calculated risks to create opportunities to increase your confidence.

Why? Because as Kay and Shipman share, “Success turns out to correlate just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.”

Make this the year
It’s likely you will see yourself in several of these women. Some of their profiles may even inspire you to take a look at your path to date and others could encourage you to embark on a desire you have had for some time. Trust in your own abilities.

This is the year to carve into your calendar the actions that will make you unstoppable in years ahead. You can do this. And when you do, don’t forget to ask a co-worker to nominate you for the Smart Business Smart Women award next year.

JJ DiGeronimo is president of Tech Savvy Women.