Get out of your own way.
There has been considerable research done on this idea of the ego; that sense of self esteem and self importance that our individualistic education has given us. I’ve found entrepreneurship to be the greatest challenge to an inflated ego I’ve ever encountered in my life; it has by force humbled me.
I was only as good as my greatest weakness; until I started outsourcing my weaknesses.
When you get out of your own way, you recognise that you have so much to learn, and so much value inside yourself that you can add to your transition journey and process, that makes the experience better for everyone connected with you, from your team, your clients, and other stakeholders!
But I know more than most, that just saying get out of your own way doesn’t make magic happen. There’s a lot more work and tears involved in peeling back that onion.
Tune into this episode where I share my journey.
Katherine Ann Byam is a best-selling author, sustainability activist, coach and consultant for business resilience and sustainable change, partnering with leaders committed to a shared future.”
A professional with 20+years change leadership experience in the FTSE Top 10, she started her consulting firm in 2019 to support sustainable development within SMEs. Katherine holds an MBA with distinction, specialising in Innovation Management as well as certificates in ESG, digital strategy, and sustainability management from established universities. She’s also a Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants.
She’s the host of the internationally acclaimed Where Ideas Launch – Sustainable Innovation Podcast, ranked among the top 5% globally, achieving the top spot in 5 countries, and the top 10 in 19 separate charts.
As a sought-after leadership and career transition coach and keynote speaker, she facilitates workshops and learning sessions for communities within global brands such as Amazon, Women Tech Global, ACCA, Stryker, Speak Up, Mind Channel and more.
She loves spending her spare time in nature, walking the western and southern coasts of the UK, France, and Tobago, or on the Northern and eastern coasts of Trinidad with her partner Christophe.
My career journal part 4
One of the first things I noticed about my first year of entrepreneurship was that if I didn’t outsource my weaknesses, my business would only be as good as my weaknesses. That’s a huge contrast to how I coach leaders in large organisations; I always recommend focusing on your strengths first, and being strategic about your weaknesses; learning enough to manage the expert, or working on only one of them, the most critical to your career, alongside improving on your strengths.
There’s no one right answer on how to approach this, but some points are not disputed: a weakness is probably a weakness with good reason, and as such it takes time to make it a strength; if at all.
A strength on the other hand gets stronger faster, the more you work on it.
Early on I didn’t have the budget and the knowledge on a lot of things I needed to run a business. To help the situation, I outsourced something I was good at: my accounting, because I simply didn’t want to make that strength any stronger. That’s an area that’s not strategic for my business, only necessary, and as such, it felt right to focus on strategic areas like business development as if I didn’t learn it, I’d be out of business.
I worked tirelessly on my weaknesses. I took marketing courses, sales courses, copy courses, and brand courses. Once I learned enough I then started outsourcing it; I would never be the best at these topics, but I certainly became better at them; and could bring to these skills all my other talents, such as ethical propriety, financial awareness, operational excellence.
None of that self work I invested in during the first 1.5 years of entrepreneurship has been lost. Adding these skills to my bow makes me stand out relative to peers who have never built a business from startup to a first profitable year.
There are no mistakes in life. I have plans to write 4 books, and I decided to time my pivot back to employment upon completion of my first book, Do What Matters – The Purpose Driven Career Transition Guide, because that book gave me an incredible opportunity to codify my learning and put it into practice for the transition ahead.
My book, written for others, acts as a form of self help and self care for me as well. My book writing process allowed me to break down all the steps of the transition process, and spend the time with myself to assess what was most relevant for me at each stage of my transition. More than that, I have now also developed “flowbooks and flowsheets” for each chapter of the book, to help all of us to make faster progress in adopting the methods I talk about.
Part 1 of the book is titled Your pathway to self mastery, and this section is the one often ignored by most job seekers, but is arguably the most important. In 6 chapters, I help someone taking this programme with their headspace, to develop clarity on how to conduct their job search, knowing clearly the direction they want to travel in.
Before leaping into the career transition specific elements of the book, I wrote 3 sections about the case for change, and that’s where my journey also started for my transition. The key elements of the case for change are the planetary dimension, the socio-economic dimension, and governing the system, prompting my readers to choose which of these areas their skills and strengths allow them to make the most important impact.
In the first workbook I’ve developed, I provide a resource for you to take that journey yourself. My personal review allowed me to see that although social impact is my passion, I’m better suited from a deep skill and strengths perspective to supporting governance. And that’s why I’ve chosen this as a key criteria for my next job.
Chapter 1, the book covers “If it’s important, build a model.” In this section I developed 2 exercises, The 6W2H Exploration, and The Mental Model Inventory.
Chapter 2 asks the question: Who are you really? And this section is action packed, with 6 flowbooks, including Happy Reflections, Attitude of Gratitude, You in Flow, The Cast in Your Movie, Value Inventory, and Closing Reflections.
Chapter 3 explores different ways to articulate your career. For this I developed one job choice matrix, to help you weigh and evaluate your options with a bit more context.
Chapter 4 The Constant Learner, gives you a simple learning inventory to stimulate your thinking and action taking.
Chapter 5 The Outcome Wheel focuses completely on action planning within the context of the outcomes you want, with 2 flowbooks, one called the outcome wheel, and the other a 5 year planning template.
Chapter 6 The Nine Steps to Positive Impact Career Transitions helps you to translate all the self analysis you’ve done up to this point, and convert this into specific language that you can use to discuss your journey with prospective recruiters and employers, or even to help you have that conversation with your family as well.
Part 1 of Do What Matters is all about stripping the person doing the work down to core values, and then rebuilding them with greater insight and awareness of how all actions contribute to your choices and wellbeing. It’s the most important section of the book, and that’s why it has commanded so many pages of the book, and quite a number of flowsheets as well.
If you are interested in being supported with a digital guide throughout this phase of your transition process, you can find this on my website at www.katherineannbyam.com
In my next career journal, we are going to shift perspectives from you, the person making the decision, to the people around you who you will no doubt need to negotiate with.
When I completed part 1 on my own, many things came up for me in terms of my why, and my how, that have been useful in my interview process, and oddly enough, saw me recommitting to my podcast and my other social impact project, because these are the efforts that are likely to continue even long after I’m gone. It also helped me hone in on the role and importance of doing a job in governance for me, as returning to potentially a global multinational will give me the international reach to make a bigger impact than I currently do as a freelance consultant. I’m looking forward to letting you know how this all progresses!
Join me next week for book 2, and my reflections on the exercises there.