Our experiences are extremely key when it comes to where we are trying to progress to in life and our careers and it’s not always just about what we have been through in the past. A lot of where we go in our lives is a direct impact from what we see, do and embody now in the present.
Renee Hunt, the Director of Group Digital Platforms at Sky, on the ‘Why Not Lead?’ podcast discussed the impact that our experiences can have on us. Her examples of being a Black American woman in the UK and what she saw in her ascent up the career ladder and also what she experienced in her personal life gives us examples we can follow and here are some of the main points we can take away from her sharing her story on the podcast:
You Are More Than Your Environment
Renee urges people to get out there and experience new things. In many cases, a lot of people have a one-track mind about how life is supposed to be because they were never exposed to anything different or new – new cultures, new ways of thinking, etc and as a result, they become stuck in their own experiences and mindsets.
Many stay in their familiar environment for years whilst not seeing anything else than what is around them so as a result, they limit themselves and what they believe they are capable of. This is compounded even more for people that come from a less well off socio-economic background so instead of rising above their situation, they embody the environment around them. As Black people, a lot of us have grown up in systems set up for us to fail and although many tried hard to transcend this, some let it consume them.
Experiencing more in our lives means breaking out of the boxes that people put us in.
Representation Is Key
Never play down the impact you can have on someone else’s experience by showing them a tangible example of success, outside the parameters of what they believe to be possible. It can be a liberating experience for someone to know that they do not have to break new ground in their field, such as for Renee growing up and seeing a Black woman on TV as a Communications Officer. She attributes seeing this representation as one reason she became a Communications Officer in her own career.
Know Why You Want To Do The Things You Want To Do
Our experience can also be seen in the literal term of what we know and what we are good at. You may have a tendency to wish to elevate in your career, however, a few questions that you must ask yourself and answer honestly among others are whether or not you have the capacity to elevate with your current skill set? Whether you know exactly why you want that promotion? Whether you believe you have put in the necessary work to deserve the progression you are wishing for?
Renee touches on an unrealistic expectation that many have about how long they should perform a job or how long they should perform that job before they are ready to be promoted. From her own experience, she found that it isn’t a pleasurable experience to be promoted to a level that you simply are not ready for. Embrace the journey and seek to master your domain so that you know that you are able and ready to embrace the opportunities that will come your way through consistency and proficiency in your industry and field.
I urge everyone reading this to take a step that they haven’t taken before. If that means traveling to somewhere that you haven’t seen before or learning that new skill, it all contributes to the bigger picture of where you are trying to get to in your life.
Make the most of your life.