This question was brought to mind recently when I had dinner with a former boss - a loyal individual who has had enormous influence on my career and personal life. He said one evening - (he is of the ilk "Everyone has a right to my opinion!" Not everyone's cup of tea, but I love him dearly for it!) "You became more successful when you stopped trying so hard."
Wow - he was right. Once I started operating from a place of confidence, not fear, my career began to flow more easily. I stopped trying so hard to impress. I knew I was good at my job - actually, not just good, but a top performer. When I stepped into those shoes, my career blossomed. I spoke calmly, passionately and confidently about my domain to anyone who would listen - C-suite to entry level.
Closely related is the advice that I, personally, would give to my younger self. "Choose your battles." As a young thing, just starting out in the insurance industry, I was driven, ambitious, I wanted to change the world (I do still!), and be a strong woman leader to boot. EVERYTHING in my eyes was up for argument - I battled every point. Instead of stepping back, assessing, reframing, and taking the situation at a different angle, I came at it head-on like a Mack truck! The result? This same individual I call a dear, loyal friend now - my former boss, began the process to fire me!
I recovered of course, with an attitude re-adjustment. I went on to have a long professional association with this individual and a successful corporate career; but it was that jolt I needed - a kind of 'slap in the face' to review my approach to things. Again, it came down to operating from a place of confidence, not fear.
So, what would you tell your younger self? I'd love to hear in the comments.
(Of course, the question is, would she/he listen?!)