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Remember who’s in the driver seat of your career (Hint: It’s you)

  • Posted on May 13, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
advisory practice tips

As an Avanade Advisory practitioner who helps companies transform their businesses and a mentor to university students pursuing degrees in STEM, I’m often asked how I’ve been able to craft a career that aligns with my strongest professional skills and my personal passions.

The truth is that having a rewarding profession that is also personally fulfilling is more science than art. As I look back on my 10-plus years as a professional consultant, three guiding principles have helped me stay focused on building a consulting career that I love.

1. Think of your career as a marathon, not a race. When I started to use my education in corporate finance working with clients at a Big 5 consulting firm, I felt like all the years of hard work had paid off. I was working in a large organization helping clients tackle large problems — it was a dream come true. But the focus on corporate finance in a large consulting firm environment didn’t enable me to bring all of my strengths and interests to my work with clients.

I shifted my focus to marketing and strategy early in my career and ultimately joined Avanade, where I’ve found the intersection between putting my best professional skills to work and continuing to challenge myself with interesting new projects. I also get to tap into my passions to help influence our company culture and our diversity and inclusion efforts.

2. Have a growth mentality. I’m a huge follower of sociologist Carol Dweck’s concept of a Growth Mindset. Dweck sums it up this way: People with a growth mindset believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.

In my work as an Advisory practitioner, the growth mindset is a critical component working with clients. They have tough challenges and big opportunities in the digital world. They need people who see each opportunity as something to learn from and grow, and they need skilled professionals who bring resilience in the face of challenge.

Each time I begin a new client engagement, I feel a rush of excitement knowing that I’ll learn, grow, test what I learn (and thought I knew) and help a client get to the end goal. Whether it’s helping a large Australian utility services provider completely transform the customer experience or a health-care company harness new technologies to deliver better patient care, the growth mindset — and resilience through the rollercoaster of a client project — is the key to successful outcomes. Having a growth mindset has helped me get through even the toughest of projects.

3. You are in the driver’s seat of your own career. Recent graduates often think that good luck has more to do with having a great career than deliberate planning. But luck implies that you have no control.

The truth is you have all the control unless you give it to others (including well-meaning career advisers, colleagues, bosses and even your parents). Listen to your gut and your heart when asking the question: “Is this the right opportunity for me?”

Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson once said, “There’s no greater thing you can do with your life than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you.”

If you’re anything like me, that’s a mantra you can get behind.

debra underwood

Great blog and summary of your role in Advisory, Bithia!

May 15, 2019

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