“Don’t be afraid to fail because there is no failure; it’s just another learning opportunity presenting itself to you” ~ Carol S. Dweck
In this episode, I interviewed Dr. Tamara Baynham, PhD, an electrical engineer and director of Clinical Research at EBT Medical, Inc., based in Toronto, about women in STEM. She provides nine great tips on how women in STEM can navigate career challenges with confidence.
Here Are 9 Tips for Women in STEM to Navigate Career Challenges With Confidence:
1. Claim Your Seat at the Table
- Claiming your seat at the table in your profession as a woman takes courage, boldness, and intentional navigation.
- The most important thing to do is not internalize the thought that you should only be happy to be invited to sit at the table.
- Understand that you have earned your place at the table and be vocal about what you believe and why you are there.
2. Be Open to Possibilities
- Always stay open to take a divergent path in your career and life, no matter which path you planned to take.
- Being open to possibilities may take you somewhere different that can pleasantly surprise you.
- Sometimes when people set themselves up on a path, they become scared that they are going to fail, and become laser-focused. There is no such thing as failure — what you have is a closed door that opens you up to looking at another path. Know that you are going to be scared, but move past that!
3. Build a Support Network
- Try to make connections with like-minded people who can help you grow in your career.
- Look at your employee resource group. Most companies have employee resource groups that are focused on ethnicity, gender, and different points of distinctions and uniqueness an individual might have.
- It will provide you with an opportunity to meet people in other parts of your company that you would have probably never interacted with, which in turn can open a lot of professional doors for you outside of just building a social network.
4. Set Clear Goals
- Using a vision board will allow you to visualize yourself in an ideal state, and will increase your chances of achieving your goals.
- Be open to pivoting or making changes in your original plan. It does not mean that you have failed to achieve your goal; it means that your goals have changed due to life circumstances.
- Do not forget to add things that you personally want on your vision board and see how they combine with your professional goals.
5. Develop a Global Mindset
- Many places in the world tend to group different kinds of people in separate boxes. Try to understand that everyone is different and everyone does things differently.
- Look at how you are different from others and how your differences can bring unique things to the table.
6. Strive to Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone
- Just because you decide to do something does not mean you are not going to get scared and have doubts. Become comfortable living with the fact that there is going to be uncertainty.
- Think of something that you are interested in but are reluctant to try, and do it without thinking about it. You are reluctant because you have been calculating the “why nots” and “what could happen.”
- Allow yourself to fail sometimes and take the experiences and knowledge gained with you.
7. Be Open to Support No Matter Where It Comes From
- It is a good idea to join a support network. It can help you to get comfortable with asking people for help, and you will have many more people who will be able to help you in many ways.
- You can start from the ground up in networking and relationship building.
- Try to express your desire for assistance to people in your support network.
- Be prepared when you ask for help, and have your questions ready.
- Remember that people are willing to help, and they are eager to pass on what they have learned.
8. Learn to Toot Your Own Horn!
- Remember that you are the only person responsible for your career and telling your story.
- Try to promote yourself and not expect other people to notice the work you are doing.
- Try to read the book “Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It” to get more tips on how to promote yourself in ways that you are comfortable with.
9. Bring Your Authentic Self to All of Your Endeavors
- You are the strongest when you are yourself. Trying to copy how someone else is will be exhausting.
- Embrace yourself fully, and only then will you be your best self.
- Know your values and never compromise them.
- Have fun, have a sense of humor, and build a sense of community with the people you work with.
- Play to your strengths and let people know what your flaws are. Nobody is perfect, and nobody expects you to be perfect.
- Knowing who you are and what you want out of your career will save you a lot of time and energy.
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