Hey there! You’re right in the middle of a series of posts called Ready to Ride. We’re talking about taking the journey through your professional life… your career… your job and how you can be more intentional about where you’re going. If you want to catch up, here’s Part 1 and here’s Part 2. Let’s get on with Part 3!

There are 2 types of motorcycle riders… those who ride and those who are passengers. Did you know that the fastest growing segment of motorcyclists is women? More women are moving from the passengers seat into the driver’s seat. They are grabbing life by the bars, literally. No more waiting for someone else to take them for a ride! We’re ready for the challenge. We’re ready to take control of our own power.

As working women, we need to take on this same attitude when it comes to our careers. More women need to grab their professional lives by the bars. We need to stop waiting for our bosses or our spouses to take us where we want to go. It’s time to move up to the driver’s seat and take control of our own success and fulfillment.

So how do we grab our professional success by the bars?

As I mentioned in Part 1, many women are paving the way for us… Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer, Mary Barra. In Sheryl’s book, Lean In, she poses 2 questions every woman must answer regarding her professional career:

1. What is my long-term career dream?

I like to think of this as your ultimate destination. Don’t just think about what you want to BE when you grow up… think about what you want to DO. When I was in banking, my mission was to help people strategically build wealth so they could live their dream. I did this by financing their home or helping them purchase investment properties. Now, my mission is to empower people to intentionally live their dream despite their wealth. I do this through my inspirational speaking and coaching… encouraging people and giving them resources to live life at full throttle. So how do you want to change the world? What does having an impactful career mean to you? How can you make a difference in the lives of others through your chosen profession?

2. What is my 18-month plan?

 The 18-month plan used to look very much like a ladder… everyone going the same direction, at the same time, only moving up when the person above you did, and the only person that had a decent view was the one at the top. This is how I viewed my career path for over 20 years. However, the typical ‘corporate ladder’ is not how we should be looking at our career plan. Navigating your career is like playing on a jungle gym, especially for women. For many of us, we jump off the jungle gym to play somewhere else on the playground (raising kids at home) and then we want to join in the play again. A jungle gym offers many points of entrance… you can play anywhere! You can go around someone if they’re in your way.  There are many places at the top and your view is what you make it. So where do you want to go on this jungle gym? What climbing skills do you need to get there? What’s your route to the top?

I’d like to add one more question to answer as you navigate through your professional life…

Who knows where you want to go?

Every corporation has a succession plan. When a position opens up, company leaders and HR managers have an idea of who will fill certain roles. They know who is ready and who needs more development. But here’s the catch… do they know YOU want that job? Is your name on the short list? Enlist the support of your boss and when you want something, speak up! Often times, women get ‘tiara syndrome’. We believe that if we do our job and perform well, someone will notice and place a tiara on our head aka getting a promotion. Instead of having a tiara mindset, develop a KaChing! File. Keep a list of projects you’ve lead, money you’ve saved the corporation, clients you’ve landed, profits you brought in, your career wins… the ammunition you need to prove you’re ready for your next position. Nobody is going to brag for you… ditch the tiara and position yourself intentionally. If you can’t do this, then I hope you’re happy being in the passenger’s seat.

Many of you are just along for the ride. You’re sitting in the passenger’s seat of life and you’re simply watching the scenery. You’re letting someone else decide where you’re going and how you’ll be getting there. Don’t be satisfied being the passenger! It’s time to grab the bars and move up to the driver’s seat where you’ll be in control of your destination!