Your Brilliant Career Podcast

The go-to resource for getting the most out of your career

This podcast provides an injection of energy and practical insights to women who are committed to their career. I share tactics, tools and stories that inspire capable women to think bigger and unapologetically achieve the success they deserve.

One of my early realisations was that there are many unwritten rules about career success that no one tells you. Smart women are tired of generic career tips. They want accessible, relevant and practical tips. Each episode includes content that inspires women to step up in their career and experience the energy and reward of being more.

Your Brilliant Career is a podcast that aims to help more women rise and reach new heights in their career.



In this podcast episode, we explore three key missteps that can hinder career progression.

The first misstep revolves around waiting for promotions. The second misstep highlights the importance of finding one's voices. The third misstep focuses on making one's value visible in the workplace.

Tune in as Gillian shares practical and actionable strategies that will help you avoid these missteps, enhance your professional journey and enable you to shine brightly in your chosen career.

✨ Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss an episode! 


Links we talked about on the podcast include:

RISE Accelerate program

FREE GUIDE: Confident, Not Cocky: The Executive Woman's Guide to Strategic Self-Promotion

Inspired? Looking for more?

We are always creating, innovating and sharing at Your Brilliant Career.

Connect with us to stay ahead of the game and if you loved this episode, we would be incredibly grateful if you shared it via your socials or left a review!

Your transcript

Gillian: Today, we are talking about the career missteps that could be holding you back. Now, some of the smartest women I know have made these kinds of mistakes in their careers and then wondered why they're not progressing in the way that they want to. And to be clear, I'm talking about mistakes that cost them a promotion or sometimes their job.
And the worst part is that these mistakes are completely avoidable. So in today's episode, I'm delving into what I believe are three pivotal missteps to career advancement and what to do instead.
Hello and welcome. I hope you're all doing well. It's 8 am here in Sydney and I'm sitting here in my home office and I'm feeling pretty smug because this morning I got up early as I do, I love that quiet time to myself, I did my exercise, I returned home, I showered, dressed, tidied up the kitchen and lounge room. The boys say they've done it. But I just can't help myself. And then I landed at my desk at 7.45, ready to go. And now I'm recording. How about that? If only every morning was this productive, huh?
Anyway, I'm grateful that I'm here and I'm very excited about chatting with you about this episode because I do think these three missteps of career advancement are relevant to so many of us. I feel it's the stuff that no one tells you about, and it can make a huge difference to your career.
So let's dive straight in today. And let me talk about career misstep number one, and I'm running with the big stuff first and misstep number one is waiting to be promoted. Now, securing a promotion, it can be such an exciting thing, right? You acquire more responsibilities; you get exposure to different and new aspects of the business your peers are now more senior. You even get to experience this heightened sense of achievement. And of course, there's that sweet increase in your pay check too. Who doesn't love that? So if you're ambitious and want to move up, then there's a lot to like about a good promotion.
But here's the thing. There are so many ambitious, hardworking women that miss out on their desired promotion because they don't own their careers. Now there's a reason for that, so I'm just not throwing that out as a criticism, and I was no different myself when I worked in corporate, and I think the greatest hindrance is our track record.
And the track record tells us that we don't have to put that much effort in because people will promote us. That's what's always happened. They'll look out for us, elevate us. Every step opportunity has been given to us. And I always find this interesting, now I'm running my own business and coaching and supporting high-achieving women, particularly those women in the RISE program, they too have had a brilliant career track record. Okay. They've been given promotions and the opportunities throughout their career have organically arrived one after another. Until they don't, and when that moment comes, it's a shock. It feels strange because it's unfamiliar territory. And that's kind of when women really land at the RISE program, trying to figure some of this stuff out. Because up until then, people have always looked out for them and helped them to progress. And then there's radio silence. Well, it feels like that anyway. So the key thing here is to acknowledge that things change as you progress in your career and your approach needs to change with it.
There was a time when waiting and being supported worked like a charm. You just knew the next opportunity was just around the corner. You knew, you are going to be rewarded for hard work and contribution, but then there's this invisible line you stumble upon. It's a bit cheeky really because no one tells you about it. And then one day you realize you've crossed it, and you know you've crossed it because that next opportunity is not given to you.
It's that shift in the game, that moment when waiting isn't enough anymore that you realize you have to take charge, shift gears and actively steer your career in the direction you want it to go. You have to own your career in a way you haven't up until that moment. And it's about recognizing that change and being proactive.
How do you do this? What do you need to do differently? Well, it'd probably be no surprise for you to hear this part, but you need to communicate your ambitions to the right people in the right way. And this is part of the work we do in the RISE program because using the right language, leadership language with the right people in specific business situations, it does require insight and quite often new skills. It's not something that, that people teach you. So all I want to say around this mishap is don't shy away from this. Look for ways to own your career. When you're not waiting for someone else to facilitate that next step, you know, be it your boss who you really like or your HR partner or whatever, it will make such a difference cause you'll be orchestrating that change. And the sooner you really, realize that's the new approach for you, the sooner you will create the desired results in your career. So own your career. Okay. So that's misstep number one.
Misstep number two. It kind of relates, what we're going to talk about will feed into misstep number one. It will help you consider your approach. But it's this. You didn't find your voice and ask. Now there's a great Latin saying… He who is silent is taken to agree. So what this means is if you don't speak up, it is assumed that you're on board. If you're silent, then people will assume that you agree with whatever it is that they I want you to go along with now.
Let me give you an example to bring this to life, a real life scenario, actually, that I saw play out countless times as a senior leader working in the media industry.
Let's call her Cassie. Cassie is a digital marketing expert. Worked in a large Sydney agency. She’s been there for four years. Considered to be very good at a job. So Cassie worked hard and saw herself progressing within the agency. She really liked it there and she hoped to be promoted in the next 12 months. Okay. So that's your background.
Now, as good fortune would have it, her boss got promoted in that period, leaving his position open. Now it was the perfect opportunity for Cassie. Her track record was great. Like all her performance reviews were strong. She knew people saw her value and expertise because she often received great feedback. She felt that she was beautifully placed to get her boss's role. Four years under a belt, good relationship with the boss. It all seemed positive. She felt this role was going to be hers. Now in that period, the leadership team had one of their weekly meetings as they did every Tuesday and at the end of the meeting, there was some casual banter and one of the execs raised the position of filling Cassie's boss's role. So, you know, they just said, what are we going to do if we got people in mind to fill that spot? And another lady interjects and says, well, Cassie would be a good fit. I think we should be considering her.
And then someone else jumps in and says, I think she's happy where she is right now. I don't get the impression she's seeking more right now. And with that, that part of the conversation is closed and someone else throws another name in and that becomes the focus. Cassie is off the table in that one short, casual, end-of-meeting conversation with the senior leaders.
That simple comment, “I think she's happy”, took her out of the game. One person made an assumption and then everyone kind of acted on it. In my mind, this is a classic case of.. He who is silent is taken to agree… because she didn't speak up. She didn't find her voice, but there's more to this story. And it's an important segue because what I'm talking about here isn't just speaking up.
I know as women, we are told to speak up, which is great advice, but the way you speak up is even more important. And this is why the RISE program, you know, I take a lot of time to build in as part of the tools and stuff scripts, because I think scripts help women have better and more compelling conversations in the business environment. It builds that toolkit so you know how to articulate what you want and you can influence more effectively.
So, for Cassie, as you may have assumed, she didn't get the job, okay? So, Cassie didn't get the job. She realizes not speaking up let her down. And she feels a bit miffed. Yep, she feels that the way things played out for her in the business was unfair and as the months trickled by her frustration with the situation grew and grew and Cassie went from this enthusiastic, positive person in the team to a slightly disgruntled one. Now let's fast forward about eight months after all that happened. And let's say now another role opens in the business, a very similar role to the one Cassie previously applied for.
It's a promotion, everything she is looking for. So this time, she finds her voice. She speaks up. She asks for it. She puts her hat in the ring, but owing to the angst and feeling that she was let down previously, when she spoke up, she sounded a little entitled. She didn't present a great business case as to why she should get the role, which is what you should be doing.
Instead, she told her backstory and why this position should be hers. So there's a lot of baggage in the whole narrative. Her attitude wasn't appreciated. And it actually, did some damage to her reputation, because things like this go straight back to the execs. It's that anecdotal part of the conversation where they talk about the way Cassie behaved and then she is presented in a bad light to that important group of decision makers too. Now the upshot of a story like this is that you normally leave the business. So Cassie would have left that agency. Of course, she could have got a career back on track and this happens. I've seen this play out for so many people, which is why it's easy to tell the story, and people do get their career back on track.
But the key lesson here is the power of speaking up and having a voice at the right moment. However, the second part of this lesson is equally critical, and that is speaking up effectively. Learn how to speak up well, you know, be eloquent, compelling, impressive, ensure your message lands with poise and confidence.
I could talk so much more about this, but that is a mishap when you miss that.
Okay, let's move on to the third misstep to career advancement and it's not making your value visible. And in this way, I'm talking literally, and I hope you run with my sense of humour here. So the challenge most women face is how do you make people in the workplace aware of what you're great at and why they should come to you?
Like how do you take the valuable things that you bring to the table, your skills, your accomplishments, and make that stuff visible? Because this is what will impact your career advancement. And so many women don't do it. Now, early on in your career, it's pretty easy to get the reward you desire. If you work hard, you get good results and the rest follows. We've already discussed that.
But people don't always recognize your contribution and when we first realized this, the equation has changed. Like we have this epiphany. It's like, oh, things are operating differently now. And that producing results doesn't translate directly to reward and recognition.
It can actually feel like you're running for political office. Things feel far more complex all of a sudden. And the transition is that not only do we need to deliver results, but we need to make those results visible. And this brings us to an important question. How do you make your value more visible at work, particularly when the idea of bringing attention to your achievements is uncomfortable?
Now I have a terrific guide. I think it's terrific that you are most welcome to download. It's free. It's Called Confident, Not Cocky: The Executive Woman's Guide To Strategic Self Promotion. And it includes, five ready-to-use scripts.
Remember I mentioned scripts, ways to actually showcase your achievements at work? And I will include that in the show notes so you can access this now, I mentioned that guide because making your value visible does have a lot to do with the way you promote yourself, what you say, and you'll find some brilliant insights in that guide that I hope help you.
But I also want to suggest another way to make your value more visible at work. And I imagine, because you're a listener of this podcast, that you are committed to your career and that you have a fierce work ethic. And this tip is take a step back from your desk, step away from it, stop working, take a step away from your desk, and then consciously broaden your perspective.
Like look out at that business horizon and make observations. So what I'm suggesting here is that when you're in the office, that you make the effort to step away from your desk and walk through the business. Like find excuses to physically observe the business, your area, maybe even other areas too. And by doing that, not only might you bump heads with the right people, but you get to observe what's going on?
The simple act of being on that floor, not sitting at your desk with your head down and your tail up, well, it can make you more curious, but it can also make you savvy because you're observing things outside your little microcosm. And as I always say with good careers, your perceived value will always be determined by your contribution.
Like you need to be doing things that are aligned to the company's strategic priorities. You can work your backside off. Keep your head down. But if you're focused on the wrong work, it's really hard to be valued. So walking the floor and being exposed to other parts of the business helps you to understand what's going on so you can stay relevant.
Now the other upside of stepping away from your desk is that people see you. Yeah, that's right. You're on the radar. That visibility prompts them to keep you in mind. Because think about it like this, how can you be memorable if all people see of you at work is your back, you know, with your little head hovering over your computer? It's not your best view, right?
So to enhance your visibility, step away from your desk, gain a broader perspective of the business and be seeing. And while it may seem like a minor adjustment to remain tied to your desk, I assure you this simple tweak will amplify your presence.
Okay. That's a wrap for our discussion on the three missteps of career advancement. We've delved into the common mistakes that could be hindering your progress from waiting for promotions to finding your voice and making your value more visible. So remember these missteps are avoidable and by proactively owning your career, communicating effectively and stepping away from your desk, you can shine more brightly in your professional journey.
Okay. It has been a pleasure hanging out with you today. DM me on Instagram at Your Brilliant Career with any comments or questions and stay tuned for more insights and strategies to elevate your career. I'll be back in a few weeks. Thanks for joining me.