Forging a fulfilling and satisfying career Forging a fulfilling and satisfying career
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What does it take to build a fulfilling career?

If you are reading this, then I can safely guess that you are the kind of person that believes you could maximise fulfillment in your career, and life. And I imagine that the reason you are reading this is because you’ve been searching for pathways to realize that satisfaction.

I’ve been in your shoes. As an obsessive learner and purposeful leader, I have for the last 16 years worked towards achieving my career goals - one by one. In my current role as Director at Vodacom Tanzania, and a potential builder as a Certified Executive Coach, I have been blessed to actualize my dreams into an ongoing and satisfying reality.

My career successes were not handed to me on a silver platter. Far from it. I have earned all my badges. I remember a time when I was passed up on a promotion after acting in a certain role for a few months. I believed I had put my best foot forward to earn the promotion but my best wasn't good enough. Feeling disappointed in myself and the establishment, I could have thrown the baby out with the bath water but instead, I chose to count it a blessing. I chose to see that experience as a stepping stone, a lesson. One thing that has always kept me going is a positive mindset - this has been the fuel and motivation behind my story. And you also have that same strength in you to move your career forward despite the challenges that may come along.

At a certain point in your journey, there will be important mindset shifts that will have to take place in order for you to make progress along your path. For me, this included understanding my purpose, my values and my pillars of strength. Once I was consciously aware of these core beliefs, they elevated me to a position where I could always pivot my mindset for continuous career progression. These components are critical and we will explore them further - together.

In hindsight, I realize there were three pillars that allowed me to follow my dream and build a satisfying career. The three most important pillars for me have been: a strong vision, an appetite for results and a sense of togetherness.

A strong vision

Since high school, I have always known that I was made to make an impact in the world and whenever I visualised my path, I saw myself being part of the C-Suite- in a senior leadership role of a large corporation. Growing up, my immediate surroundings did not expose me to women in the C-suite, but what I saw externally did not deter me. My truth about my future drove me forward. I did not waste my energy comparing myself to other women or let other people's thoughts derail me. I had a strong knowing of where I wanted to be and I believed that I would get there.

I believe it is important for everyone, particularly women, to develop a strong vision. Having a vision for your life - that comes from a deep inner knowing - cultivates the resolve and grit to get you there.

Having a strong vision will also create clarity especially on days where you need to make tough choices about your trajectory. And on days that you need something to hold on to, a strong vision and inner knowing will become a source of strength as you transverse your career. If you have it already, then power to you! If not, take some time to introspect and as we continue with this series, I will share a practical tool that can help you develop a strong vision towards a satisfying career and life.

An appetite for solutions, for results.

In order for you to experience career progression and fulfillment, you have to build an affinity for results. Results. In a world that emphasises on productivity, that’s the magic word. Throughout my career, one consistent thread in all my promotions has been my ability to achieve the intended outcomes. My natural disposition and approach to problems and challenges has always been solutions-focused. This is a strong part of Who I am.

I remember when I first entered the job market in Tanzania in 2004, I knocked on the doors of a number of corporate entities in town. I interviewed well but never got a job offer. Part of the reason was my very high expectations on salary given my past experience working in the financial sector in the States where I earned both my Bachelors and Masters degrees. I knew my worth but was also realistic. I also wanted a solution out of my problem, so I adjusted my expectations and resolved to work my way up by accepting what will be offered. My first job was a sales executive role at a shipping company selling container space to importers and exporters of goods and commodities. I moved from a sales exec role to a manager role within a year, was swiftly identified as talent in the organization and got enrolled into a regional management trainee program. I took a job that was 83% less than my original expectation, and focused on delivering results for my employer, and I was eventually rewarded accordingly.

Over the years, one thing that I have noticed amongst young professionals is a need for instant gratification and also the prevalence of self entitlement. Do not entertain any of those two attitudes. You have to earn your place; build an attitude of gratitude, curiosity and endeavor to always add value and deliver beyond what is expected of you. If you do so, you will rise from strength to strength , and fulfillment to fulfillment taking your company and colleagues higher with you because of the shared value that you create.

A sense of togetherness

Growing up, we lived with our cousins in our house and I got to witness my parents treat us all the same. We had a big family but never lacked. Love and care for the human race were demonstrated to us at a family level. I went to a boarding school where we did hard work in the fields and studied hard too. These experiences during my formative years helped me see everyone as equal and deserving. And it further entrenched in my consciousness a sense that we are all in this together.

This part of my upbringing formed the foundation of how I interact with my colleagues at the workplace. As much as I drive for results and career advancement, I am very aware that success is better achieved when it is shared. And with success also comes great responsibility (but this is subject for another day).

As you move up the ladder, remember to always uplift others and not to step on their toes as you advance. Always have the bigger picture and the welfare of the team in mind. Remember, alone you can go faster but together you can go farther.

So there you go. In our next installation we will look at 3 values that I hope will inspire you in forging a fulfilling and satisfying career. I hope my pillars of strength have inspired you to dig deep and find your own gems that can help you navigate through your current state of affairs or simply add clarity to your situation.

Once you delve in, do share your views with me as a comment.

By Rosalynn Mworia 

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