There comes a time in every woman's career when it's time to make change—whether or not she recognizes that. Personal or professional growth doesn't always come easy; sometimes, it's downright frightening.
I was seated at my computer, having worked a full year at my current job, when it hit me: I was unhappy and needed change. I've just been "going through the motions," day in and day out, instead of enjoying the work I do or the people.
To embark on this newfound journey I've created for myself, I sought the help of Suzann Foerster, a Grand Rapids-based leadership coach, to help me take charge of my growing goals and provide some direction.
It starts with your mindset.
Suzann revealed to me that to grow, in any capacity, starts with your mindset. If you're not ready or willing to make change in your life to promote growth in your personal and professional developments, you won't grow. You could have all the time in the world but, according to Suzann, it doesn't matter.
If your mindset isn't in the right place, it will be hard to begin truly growing yourself.
"Many people know what to do, but they don't do it," Suzann explained, setting the tone for our chat.
"You have to take initiative—100 percent responsibility."
Successful women don't typically grow by accident.
Successful women grow by design.
Take the risks. Step out of your comfort zone.
"The minute you have it all figured out, be worried—because you don't," Suzann said. "There's always something more to learn and expand on. You're always going to face an obstacle or problem."
I realized I was faced with this problem after my first year on the job. I settled into a comfortable place and eventually found myself uninspired and searching for more. In my journey for growth, I want to travel more and network among likeminded cohorts—two things I'm hesitant to do but know will ultimately benefit my career.
When you're ready to move forward, there will be risks. And robust growth happens outside your comfort zones. Step away from your routine and put yourself "out there."
Make the tough choices.
Suzann made me realize that, as a people-pleaser, I'll be making some tough choices to prioritize my growth.
"Too often, there is pressure to do everything for everyone," Suzann said. Women can tend to be givers, without taking for themselves.
There will be days where deciding to put yourself first is necessary. There is no reason anyone should feel bad about that, Suzann notes. Carve out your time to grow—and make it a point to stick to it.
Don't 'should' on yourself.
The downfall to professional and personal growth is pitting your journey against anyone else's. It's nearly impossible for me to not want to compare what I'm doing in my life and career to other people: I should be doing more, should be traveling more, should be saving making money ...
"Don't 'should' on yourself," Suzann directed. "Do what you want and can do."
Your growth is unlike anyone else's; don't let the "should be" thoughts cloud your progress. Instead, focus on the goals you make and praise yourself for your accomplishments. Be your own critic and No. 1 fan.
Embrace the journey.
Whether there are ups or downs to your journey, embrace it all and power through. Be your own advocate for growth and know that you if you don't step up and decide that making a change is what you're up for, change may not come.
"You can't get what you don't ask for," Suzann said. "So, don't hesitate, don't fear rejection. Take the risk, risk your ego."
Growth is beautiful and empowering.
Painful, sometimes, but always worth it.
April Simone Stevens is a Grand Valley State University alumna and beauty blogger who enjoys dabbling in graphic design and video production. Residing outside of Grand Rapids, April Simone enjoys beer tasting, delicious food and visiting Grand Rapids Art Museum as often as possible. Follow her on Instagram at @spotlightvanity for updates.