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Critical tips to owning your success

Frew Murdoch

What does success look like? Many women at work believe that success is knowing how to strike the balance between your professional and personal lives. Not so, says Jo-Ann De Wet: Senior Director of Operations at McDonald's South Africa. De Wet believes that you achieve success when your professional and personal lives are in harmony. "Both are equally important. While you won't always get it right, it is important to keep focussing on this to avoid conflict between your personal and professional lives," said De Wet. How can this be achieved?

Keep these three tips in mind to own your success, says De Wet:

1. Live the three E's

The three E's are "Education, Experience and Exposure".

Education: Commit to learning in both spheres of your life and you will grow your potential for success.

Experience: Aim to gain varied experience in your career. It adds to your 'value offering' as an individual and a valued member of your business and will shape your career.

Exposure: Maximise your exposure. You can do this by striving to become a thought leader and by growing your personal brand online using social media platforms. Expose yourself to other successful individuals who you can learn from and emulate.

2. Experience positive discomfort

"Positive discomfort is a catalyst for change," says De Wet. Try volunteering for tasks that will take you out of your comfort zone and are outside of your core competency. Doing this will help you define the value you contribute to your organisation and what you are capable of when you take a chance on something new.

3. Say 'yes, how?' instead of 'no'

Instead of answering 'no' to new challenges, try out the phrase, 'yes, how?" Ask yourself how you could address a new challenge and try come up with innovative solutions. It's amazing how rewarded you will feel, along with gaining recognition, for accomplishing feats outside of your usual field of expertise.

Beware the 'Sticky Floor'

Although De Wet believes that there is at times the reality of a glass ceiling for women at work, she believes that the problem experienced by women is more often than not what she terms as having a 'sticky floor'. Sticky Floors are those limitations that we as women impose on ourselves. En example of this is women at work basing their career aspirations and goals on hope. Hope that their boss will recognise our great performance, hope that we will get the next promotion. This is a 'Sticky Floor'. To escape this, women need to take action to progress, use their voices and put their hands up to get that next promotion thereby extinguishing the fire of self-doubt and taking recognition for themselves.

Women at work should always keep the end in mind and visualise where they want to be in the short term and long term. Ask yourself what your next sticky floor will be and how to eliminate it. "Remember that success isn't a destination," said De Wet.

Build a personal support system

De Wet attributes part of her success to the strong support system she has at home. Her husband Denver has contributed to her success by sharing all personal obligations as they rear their four sons and minimising personal disruptions.

"You can't separate your personal and professional life. You are the integral piece that links the two worlds," concluded De Wet.

Jo-Ann De Wet will be speaking at the GIBS IPM Women in Business 2014 – Leading The Future on 19 August. For more information, follow this link.

*These suggestions and insights don't apply to all women but are reflections on the average woman out there.

Frew Murdoch is the assistant editor of HR Pulse. She has a BA degree in communications and English and a passion for HR technology.

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