I played a round of golf this past week with several other women. One of them, let’s call her Sue, was sharing about how she was contemplating a job change because she needed more interaction with people. She was in a global role, working from home, and most of her interactions with others were via TEAMS or conference calls. It was not cutting it for her. She was thinking about going back into field sales.

But the more Sue talked, the more she got clear that the underlying need in this situation was to get validation, praise, and encouragement for the work she was doing. She then shared how that seemed to happen naturally when everyone worked in the same space, where superiors had a “birds-eye” view of what was going on, and how peers and superiors could provide cheers when things were going well and share tears when they weren’t.

Another woman in our foursome then shared that she had been a part of a work support group that met on a once-per-week basis for the sole purpose of sharing accomplishments and cheering each other on when things were going right AND when they were going wrong. This experience would have satisfied the need Sue was describing.

And then Sue said, “I am really ambitious. Is this need of mine going to keep me from rising up the corporate ladder?”

“No,” I replied emphatically. “Not if that is what you really want.”

Now the point is, there may be other reasons why ascending the corporate ladder may not be right for Sue, but the need for validation and recognition should not be one of them. And just getting clear about what she did want was a big step in knowing herself and being honest about it. That authenticity is what is really important in effective leaders.

Is a move “back” to field sales the right move for her? I don’t know without considering a lot more factors, but there are a few things I am sure of:

  1. Understanding and accepting your needs is a critical step to being happy and successful.
  2. Finding a way to get needs met while still in a current role is always a good thing to do and a good first step. And in this case, there are ways to do so (as the second woman shared) that don’t require a job change.

But a really easy way to do this is to form your own mastermind group. In a mastermind group, you not only get the support and encouragement you likely need, but you can also get some good ideas as well.

So I want to suggest that you check out my previous blog on What is a Mastermind Group?

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