Anikia Brown is marketing and social media manager at the National League for Nursing in Washington, DC.
There are times in your career when you begin to question the validity of your work. Take these four steps to align your passion with your purpose and gain the confidence needed to take your career to the next level.
Throughout my career, I have been one of the youngest in the room amongst a group of well-established professionals. So, I made sure to always bring my A game, especially since more seasoned and senior colleagues can overlook young professional's knowledge and skills. As a young professional, we often must work twice as hard to show the value of our work and how we can significantly contribute to the growth of our organization. Many view us as “arrogant,” or “entitled,” but it's our passion for change and making a difference that drives us. I love what I do, and I'm good at it. But what do you do when self-doubt begins to arise, and you begin to question the validity of all your work?
I was always confident in where my professional journey was heading. However, about a year ago, I found myself so lost. I was in a position where there was little opportunity for growth, my ideas and input were often unsupported, and my work was never recognized. Worst of all, my boss at the time told me that I didn't have the experience and skills for the job. I thought to myself, “How could that be?”
It was my knowledge, skills, and expertise that helped me to land this position. Self-doubt quickly invaded my thoughts. I second-guessed everything I did. I had others in similar roles review my work before I submitted it. I dreaded having meetings and sharing my work with my boss because I knew she would think it wasn't good enough. My performance began to reflect my thoughts, and I felt so powerless.
If you are ever in a position where you feel stifled, unmotivated, and unfulfilled, it might be time to begin looking for new opportunities fit for your growth.
One day, I came across a quote by Vincent Van Gogh that said, "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced," and there was my wakeup call. I knew I was talented, and that I did have the skills and experience to do my job—and well! So, instead of believing the words of others and my unassertiveness, I set out to prove them and myself wrong. To rise above the fear and to remove my self-doubt, I took these four steps that helped me to align my passion with my purpose and gain the confidence needed to take my career to the next level:
Look for new employment opportunities. If you are ever in a position where you feel stifled, unmotivated, and unfulfilled, it might be time to begin looking for new opportunities fit for your growth. There's something greater waiting for you.
Use your passion outside of your 9 to 5. I live and breathe all things marketing and communications, so I volunteered my professional services to small businesses and nonprofits in need of help. Not only will your work be much appreciated, it’s also a great way to make a difference in your community.
Join a professional association that is specific to your field. Align yourself with like-minded individuals who share your same passion. Use this opportunity to share and exchange your work and big ideas with peers, and to establish yourself as an expert and thought leader.
Seek mentorship. Having a mentor is crucial for your career because they can help you to avoid and overcome challenges that they have faced before. Their knowledge, feedback, and words of advice can help you grow.
Right now, I am the happiest that I have ever been in my career and I am excited see to where my journey takes me next. Wherever you are on your professional journey, remember, you are good enough and that you’re where are for a reason, so use your passion to embrace your purpose, and you will soon find happiness and success. You are your greatest advocate, and it is time to own your greatness.