Article by Karima Mariama-Arthur
Whether they’re focused on intrapreneurship or entrepreneurship as a long-term career strategy, high-achieving women have always encountered barriers to success. What’s more interesting is how these women have mustered the courage and determination to secure a seat at the table and the power to effect change in the face of these obstacles.
And you can do it, too.
If you’re a woman looking for smart ways to succeed in your career, consider the following strategies as you make your trek up the corporate ladder and beyond:
1. Raise Your Standards
The same level of excellence that got you where you are now will not take you where you want to be in the future.
Mediocrity has never been associated with high performers or high potentials. Whatever your career objectives, challenge yourself to work smarter rather than harder, and expect more from yourself than others do. This might mean adopting daily rituals designed to get you a little closer to where you want to be. Wake up earlier, work later, complete the task sooner and better — whatever it takes to elevate your performance and expedite outcomes.
Results don’t happen without rituals. Make sure yours reflect a level of excellence that positions you for greater success.
2. Make More Mistakes
As quiet as they are kept, mistakes are rather common occurrences along the road to success. No matter how smart, prepared, or savvy you may be, expect to find yourself smack dab in the middle of a few during your career.
Missteps offer opportunities to learn and begin again with a renewed sense of self and new insights into your path. Embrace the lessons rather than trying to avoid them. When it comes to mistakes, the more, the merrier.
3. Know the Difference Between a Mentor and a Sponsor — Then Get Both
Mentors share wisdom they’ve gained over a lifetime of experience. They act as advisers, providing behind-the-scenes feedback and direction on any number of factors that affect professional mobility.
Sponsors, on the other hand, are generally senior-level leaders who are vested in a protégé’s career success and actively advocating for them. By putting the protégé forth for new opportunities, the sponsor leverages their influence to add credibility to the protégé’s career trajectory.
Women need both mentors and sponsors, as the level of overarching support provided by the two in tandem ensures greater upward mobility and long-term career success.
4. Leverage Your Professional Wheelhouse
It is easy to forget the comprehensiveness of your knowledge, skills, and abilities is not limited to your current or most recent career path. Your professional wheelhouse consists of the entirety of your knowledge, skills, experiences, and abilities. When used to add value to all that you do, this wheelhouse gives you a home-court advantage of sorts.
Professional experiences inform one another — even seemingly unrelated ones. Together, your various experiences add up to your powerful professional capacity. That said, do not take for granted the bounty of what you know. Dig deeper to find ways to incorporate more of what you know into all that you do.
5. Network, Delegate, and Collaborate Like a Pro
Success is never the result of a solitary effort. In business, attempting to do everything yourself is a recipe for disaster, no matter how capable you may be.
Beyond delegating duties — which is a must — make purposeful connections and collaborate with others to add unlimited value to the work you do. Networking on a regular basis is a tried and true way to reach new audiences, explore synergies, and share your expertise in a low-stress environment.
There is no one way to network. Keep things fun and interesting by mingling outside of your industry and comfort zone. With focused efforts, you might be amazed at how easily you grow a circle of influence.
If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, take these strategies with you. Cheers to breaking the chains that bind and shattering the glass ceiling!
A version of this article originally appeared on SUCCESS.com.