Throughout our lives and careers, there will be moments when people try to project their limiting beliefs and place us within a box. Early in my career, while still deciding what direction I wanted to take and what type of company would be a fit for me, someone tried to put a ceiling on the kinds of opportunities that I could pursue. And their reasoning for the sorts of prospects I could or could not go after came down to two things – my appearance and my behavior.
Had I listened to such misplaced advice, I may not have ended up in what I consider to be my dream role.
Today, I am a performance media manager here at Cubert, where I run the paid social accounts for multiple platforms in several markets, including the U.S., Canada, the UK, Singapore, Australia, and Germany. Plus, I also work on strategy and get to explore creative and copywriting. My experience is not unique, but it continues to validate that the ways in which we look are not a prerequisite for our potential and the heights that we can go.
Our values are anchors that guide us, and when we keep this in mind, they also help to disregard out-of-place feedback. Though I know I wanted to pursue marketing as a career path, I still had a rocky start in the corporate world. Our professional trajectories aren’t always linear, and I had to figure out which environment was suitable for me. My first job out of school was at an insurance company. Despite having a plan to move from the finance department to marketing, it didn’t take me long to realize that company wasn’t where I belonged. Understanding what I was passionate about gave me focus, and I leaned into that to prepare for the role and place that would eventually become a match.
I’ve always tried to rely on my values and core competencies to guide me in navigating my career. From playing tennis competitively as a teenager, I’ve learned to lean on my strengths and leverage them to have a competitive advantage. We all face doubt and sometimes that uncertainty becomes inflated from external messaging. I believe the remedy for not letting those reservations hold us back is by staying true to ourselves, embracing our strengths, and acknowledging how our background and experiences allow us to bring a unique point of view to the table. Here are three lessons that I’ve learned that can be used to design a professional life that you love.
Reject Limiting Beliefs to Move as Your Full Self
Imposter syndrome is a common subject that we all talk about, and it’s something I certainly know all too well. I felt it the strongest when I was told that, because I’m a woman with short hair who doesn’t show up wearing pencil skirts and clicking heels, that I shouldn’t go after the roles that I was interested in. That idea caused me to doubt my abilities, and I used to ask myself three questions:
- “Am I smart enough?”
- “Do I have enough knowledge and skills?”
- “Will I look the part?”
At first, I accepted and believed what I was told. But as I grew in my career, I learned that a person’s opinion was just that – an opinion. Being confident will attract opportunities when you least expect them. In my case, that surprise came two years ago, when Marius, Co-founder of Cubert, reached out with an invitation to apply for a position at Cubert.
Build a Team of Mentors to Advance Your Growth
Another lesson is the importance of mentorship. I consider my parents to be the first ones in my life. Growing up, my mom always encouraged me to find what I loved to do and to always keep learning. She also taught me that kindness and success go hand in hand. My dad emphasized that throughout life, I would need to understand how to interact with different kinds of people. My semester in Barcelona was a great testament to what he told me. While there, I made new friends from various places in the world, and established a bond with several people from Germany, South Korea, England, and India. Despite our perceived differences, we became close within the first week of meeting each other, so much so that we used to have weekly family dinners.
The mentors I have at Cubert have been essential to my development. It’s truly priceless to have someone who is invested in your growth and can open up new pathways for you. For me, that person is Jeff Lee. He motivates me to be the best person that I can be. When I think of inspiring women, Nikki Schiavone quickly comes to mind. She exemplifies the type of leader that I aspire to be. Her advice has been invaluable and I already see the results of that in the way that I guide my team. And lastly, a counselor in my head is Serena Williams, who I’m drawn to from my background playing tennis. I consider her to be a powerful woman and an amazing feminist to look up to. Above all else, she’s unapologetically herself, which has shown me that I can be that way, too
By having these people pour into me, it helps me to be a better leader in my position. Being in a managerial role is exciting because I’m able to share my knowledge and help my team flourish. As a manager, I tailor my approach to each individual because there is no ‘one size fits all’ method to creating a safe and thriving environment. Trust is also important, and together we lean on and support each other as we complete our day-to-day responsibilities. While living and working during a global pandemic, this kind of rapport is critical, and I strive to make sure my team has everything they need to perform well at their job and on a personal level. I want them to feel like they can come to me when they have questions, and I remind them that it’s okay to pause and take a breath whenever they need to.
Be a Life-long Learner
A commitment to growing your skill set through self-directed learning is a critical competency. Before coming to Cubert, I was in digital performance at IPG Mediabrands. I credit this chapter as a key step along my journey because it’s where I found my spark for digital marketing. While at IPG, I worked on a variety of projects for small and large brands, including managing, optimizing, and conducting quality assurance for online campaigns. I also fell in love with analyzing data.
Since discovering digital marketing, I took ownership of my own education and dove deeper into the field. It’s why I went on to earn my certificate in digital marketing management from the University of Toronto. My work at IPG and my certificate gave me the foundational training I needed and when the chance to work at Cubert came up, I was ready for it. Being an autonomous learner is a vital skill, and it is the best tool that you have for success in life and at work. And I’m elated that, as a company, Cubert values and pushes for continuous learning.
Defining What Success Looks Like for You
Living through a pandemic has been challenging, to say the least, but it’s also given us time to pause and define what a prosperous life looks like on our own terms. For me, it looks like waking up every morning, excited to be at a job that I love with people that I enjoy collaborating with. Outside of work, it’s being purposeful in LGBTQ2+ equal rights causes and having an active lifestyle that consists of going for walks, biking, and playing tennis. Think about what adds value to your life. For you, it may be blocking out weekends to spend time with family or dedicating more hours to your favorite hobbies. You get to choose what happiness looks like professionally and personally. There’s no greater gift that you can give yourself then to discover what lights you up and revel in that.