Leading Your Own Career by Thinking Bigger and Bolder

By Janice Krupic, President and CEO of Paragon Leadership International

Pre-scenario – 

Matthew Bennett, a high performing mid-level leader within a Fortune 500 company, is presented with an assignment that is outside of his comfort zone. Matthew has always taken pride in the being able to take on challenging assignments through his sheer will and grit, succeeding with little help from others. After some consideration, Matthew decides to take on this challenge. Two months into the position, his self confidence is down; he feels overwhelmed and knows in his heart that if he takes the same approach of trying to go through this challenging transition alone, he may fail.

How many of you have been in Matthew’s shoes, feeling like your back is against the wall and fearing that you may not have what it takes to succeed? You are not alone. Most of us have moments in our career where we experience self-doubt and could benefit from a roadmap to help maneuver these meaningful moments. What if you had a handful of helpful strategies to help you navigate your career in a meaningful and intentional way?

If this is the case, read on for six critical tips that help leaders propel forward through strategic self-planning, self-efficacy and meaningful connections. Utilize these to get unstuck and feel empowered regardless of stage in one’s career!

  1. Get Out of Your Own Head and Create a Bigger Vision – put it to paper or declare it to other

Be intentional with your work. Make choices in your career that will help your vision become a reality.  We become our best selves, not by happenstance, but by getting out of our own way and committing to something greater than even imaged. Write it down, share it with others and reference it regularly.

  1. Leverage your strengths

Know what your strengths are, and if you don’t, ask others!  Quick tip: Send an email to the 10 people that know you best. Ask them to send you three words that best describe you. Once you know your strengths reflect on how best to articulate and leverage them.  As a women leader in a recent Who Controls the Reins to Your Career? Paragon workshop so succinctly stated, “Don’t weaken a strength to strengthen a weakness.”

  1. Don’t wait until you are 100% ready or qualified for a position

If you wait for this day to come, your desired outcome may never transpire.  How often do you think candidates fulfill all the stated job requirements?  If you answered rarely to none, you have answered correctly.  It is critical to understand where the gaps of opportunity may exist and use these as an opportunity for continued growth and development!

  1. Be intentional and focused about building your network

At Paragon, we have developed a Who Holds the Reins to Your Career? Career 9 BoxTM networking tool that helps you determine the people most important to helping your career with a strategic focus on those with ‘interest’ and ‘influence’ for you.  There is a reason the tool doesn’t have 20 or 30 boxes. Stay focused on those who are critical to your development, who support your vision, even though you may initially perceive them as untouchable or unreachable.

  1. Don’t overlook the most important stakeholder in your network – YOU!

When working with clients in completing their Career 9 BoxTM , it is an interesting phenomenon to find that rarely do leaders put themselves on the grid.  When asked why this is, some of the common responses received are: “It didn’t even cross my mind.” “I just assumed I was on the chart.” In Success magazine, generational strategist and author, Mick Ukleja, highlights key ways people can have a positive self-impact. He explains the importance focus and transparency have at work on influence. From here forward, don’t assume.  Be intentional about the power and influence you really do have.

  1. Think Boldly and just do it!

If you have been apprehensive about making a move, taking on a stretch assignment, or proactively positioning yourself for a new opportunity, think about what is holding you back.  What is your greatest fear?  Adam Grant, organizational psychologist and author, shares great ideas on how to get promoted and “move up in life”. He suggests building a network soon after you have created something of value, while working on getting your boss to be your advocate.  His TED Work Life podcasts have common sense value that are cross-generational. Promote yourself, and your work, to get ahead.

Using Silly Putty as a visual analogy, ask yourself – how far can you stretch the Silly Putty without it breaking?  Further than you initially anticipated?  What if it breaks, as it eventually will?  What opportunities present themselves that may not have been apparent to begin with when you put the pieces back together and try again? Davina Ngei, Founder of Business Broken Down, suggests, “Failure is rough, tough, and painful; however, it goes hand in hand with success.” Her 20 ideas for how to motivate yourself after failure can be located here. With her suggestions, keep stretching yourself, pressing forward with positivity.

Post scenario –

Matthew, who was feeling stuck two months into his new assignment took the time to self-reflect on where he was today in his career and where he wanted to go. He started by writing down his long-term vision for his career and referenced this regularly to recalibrate what he was doing to reach that destination. Matthew filled out a Career 9 BoxTM and became intentional about leveraging his network to help him grow. Doing these things gave him what he needed most, self- confidence. His regained belief in himself, and a focus on leveraging his strengths, repositioned him for the future. He is now thriving in his new role and is already thinking ahead to the next step in his career. 


How Paragon can help you?

Is determining a personal career path and learning to leverage your strengths of interest to you? Do you want to learn more about identifying and leveraging your key stakeholders? Do you want to grow a network of people around you who will help energize you, and you energize them, while working together to make tangible career advancements? Check out the Paragon’s signature Limber Learnings™ for more information on how to bring in targeted learnings into your company. Also, send us an email at and we will send a copy of our Who Controls Your Reigns? Career 9 BoxTM Diagram, including instructions, to your email. Start to think strategically about leveraging your network today!

We want to learn more about you!  Want a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, Leadership Assessment of Your Choosing or a Gratis Executive Coaching Session? –

Tell us your compelling story of how you shifted your thinking by utilizing some of these tips.  We will be drawing three winners on July 4th for a gift card, leadership assessment and gratis coaching session. Email us your responses to and don’t forget to provide your contact information!

Paragon Leadership International is a leading executive coaching firm supporting the development of the future face of leadership.