In this article, our President & CEO, Manar Morales sums up her advice on achieving Flex Success®. It’s not too late to register for our Flex Success Institute, which provides detailed and personalized advice on successfully navigating your flexible schedule.
Over the years, I’ve counseled countless professionals on how to successfully transition to and manage a flexible schedule while maintaining a strong career path. While many professionals can’t imagine cutting back their hours in the office without jeopardizing their careers, I can attest that with the right strategies in place, anyone can achieve Flex Success®.
At the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, we have developed our Seven Strategies for Flex Success® to help professionals working a flexible schedule to overcome challenges, seize opportunities and advance their careers.
Define What Success Means to You
The first step to ensuring that you will be successful while working a flexible schedule is to envision your future plans and define what success means to you. Take the time to clearly map out your one, three, and five-year vision for your personal life as well as your professional life. Include financial and professional development obstacles and needs, as well as personal goals.
Identify What Makes You Special
The second step is to identify what you bring to the table and then capitalize on it. It’s all about self-reflection and self-esteem. The best way to feel confident is to know your strengths and identify what makes you unique. By developing an area of expertise that’s in demand, you make yourself uniquely valuable to your firm or corporation, regardless of your schedule.
No matter where you work, you may come across co-workers who think you’re less committed to the job because you work reduced hours, or supervisors who question whether you are working when you’re not physically in the office. Be prepared for these obstacles, and when they do arise, maintain your confidence and harness your grit. You know you’re meeting your deadlines and the quality of your work has not diminished (in fact it may have improved.) Remember that flexible work policies are implemented because they are beneficial to the organization’s bottom line and you should not feel guilty.
Brag a Little
You’ve identified what makes you unique and now it’s time to show it off. Harness your self-esteem and create your personal brand. Just as a corporation would market a product, you need to market yourself to make sure others perceive you the way you want to be perceived. Make sure you’re speaking positively about your schedule and your work. Ask for feedback about how people perceive you. Your career trajectory not only depends on the quality of your work but also your reputation as someone who is serious about your own success and the success of the organization.
It Takes A Village
No matter how effective you are on your own, it’s critical that you surround yourself with a group of experienced people who can advise you, guide you, mentor you, and open doors for you. This personal board of advisors should consist of individuals from inside and outside your organization, and should include both mentors who can give you advice, and sponsors who invest in and advocate for you. Keep in mind that you want to find people who you trust, who you respect, and who will be candid with you.
Never Underestimate Business Development
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s always good to stay one step ahead of your business, your clients, your customers or your marketplace. You always want to be thinking about tomorrow and where your career is headed and where your income is coming from. While you might approach business development in a slightly different manner in light of your flexible schedule, it’s still imperative that you dedicate time to business development and to generating your future revenue. Consider making time for activities that will raise your personal profile such as speaking engagements, publishing articles and papers and networking.
Make Room for Happiness Outside the Office
I find that it’s impossible for me to be completely successful in my career if I am not fulfilled outside of the office. Find time in your schedule to devote purely to yourself and your interests outside of the office. Part of finding some sense of balance between your professional and personal life is remembering that you can’t and shouldn’t do it all alone. If you are a parent, you undoubtedly need a team to assist you in your responsibilities. I recommend determining which responsibilities enable you to have the biggest impact on your family, and which can be delegated or left until another day. Even if you don’t have a family, you may need to consider delegating errands, cleaning and other chores, to make time for work, education or other priorities in your life. Having a plan and having control over your goals and your responsibilities enables you to find that work life balance that you will cherish.
Want to learn more about how to successfully navigate your flexible schedule and maximize your career potential? It’s not too late to register for our virtual Flex Success® Institute going on now. Webinars are recorded and available for registrants who have missed dates.