How To Own Your Career

In 2013, I launched HIMYB.com— How I Met Your Brand is a Q&A series spotlighting the journey of women across different industries. My mission for How I Met Your Brand is to provide a platform for career guidance and inspiration. This post captures some advice from women I have interviewed over the years, including my thoughts on how to own your career.

What does staying relevant mean to you?

Cultural trends evolve and constantly change over time. What we do to stay relevant, connected, and ahead of the curve, determines our position and reputation within our respective industries. We are greatly influenced by popular culture — and in my case, as part of LinkedIn’s global sales organization, staying abreast of insights and trends is necessary for me to fuel client success. Social media also stimulates greater demand for us to keep up with the rapidly changing world.

Staying relevant is taking ownership of my purpose and focusing on self-improvement. When I am equipped with tools and resources that will help me speak with authority and increase my visibility, I am empowered to invest in myself. Each of us is unique — and brings something new to the table.

Today, consider taking a step back — forget about being relevant for the next ten minutes — and ponder on the importance of getting back to basics:

  • Get to the soul of your brand.
  • Stay true to your core values.
  • Shift your perspective.
  • Embrace your future.
  • Nurture your craft.
  • Remember your ‘whys’.

Get to the soul of your brand.

(Your Brand) is your voice, your mission, your vision, your seat at the table, and how you will be remembered. YOU are (Your Brand).

“The marketplace is packed with noise on the topic of cultural trends and how to stay relevant. The pressure to implement the next best thing is a constant bug in the entrepreneur’s ear. I am obviously speaking from experience. But what time has taught me is this: first know who you are and stay true to that. Once you accept that, listen to the people who matter: your customers, your employees, your community. Staying connected is the act of being open and humble. And staying ahead of the curve, I believe, is achieved when we let the moment inspire us.” — Jelynne Jardiniano

Stay true to your core values.

As the world evolves around us, it is important to recognize and demonstrate our commitment to our core values. Our values serve as a filter through which we make the choices that define who we are in a saturated marketplace; conversely, the saturated marketplace should also inspire us to live authentically. When we embrace our core values, we are motivated to deliver honest and distinctly unique approaches that will separate us from competitors — thus, keeping us ahead of the curve.

“Staying connected is the act of being open and humble. And staying ahead of the curve, I believe, is achieved when we let the moment inspire us.”

“First off, I hope to be a participant in these cultural changes so for me it’s always about being authentic and present. Thanks to social media it is a bit easier to stay connected, but to stay ahead of the curve I have to surround myself with people that know more than me. I try to have a diverse group of people in my life that can offer me perspectives I wouldn’t normally think of myself. It’s those sometimes idle conversations that can lead to creating something really innovative and pushing the culture forward.” — Tannis Spencer

Shift your perspective.

When we limit our perspective, we create boundaries that hinder our progression towards more in-depth insights. There are multiple viewpoints that capture the truth. Shifting our perspective deepens our character and expands our understanding.

“I try to have a diverse group of people in my life that can offer me perspectives I wouldn’t normally think of myself. It’s those sometimes idle conversations that can lead to creating something really innovative and pushing the culture forward.”

“Working in fashion taught me to keep up with trends, and with the help of social media, it’s made it much easier for us to stay connected. I pride myself in having good taste and knowing how to cut the fat with all the extra crap out there, so the real challenge is being able to mute the noise while managing to staying relevant. I love pop culture, and I stay curious. I like to keep it moving. Nostalgia is good, but there’s also so much cool, new stuff out there — especially with artists and music!” — Andrea Ramos

Embrace your future.

We celebrate past wins to remember the formula that enabled our success. But, oftentimes, we find it difficult to let go of what is familiar to us. Just as it is essential to hold on to greatness and look back on what we have accomplished, it is also important for us to adapt to new situations. We embrace our future by taking smart risks and proactively responding to a rapidly changing society through a lifelong practice of learning, applying ourselves, and moving on to the next best thing.

“I love pop culture, and I stay curious. I like to keep it moving. Nostalgia is good, but there’s also so much cool, new stuff out there — especially with artists and music!”

“I’m obsessed with reading. I always try to have a book in tow, if possible. I’m always trying to find new information to consume via blogs, news, film, social media, networking events, music, etc… I am like a sponge and revel at opportunities to learn new things. I think if you’re constantly seeking new knowledge, staying ahead of the curve is easy. This is where my love for asking ‘why?’ comes in.” — Rana Campbell

Nurture your craft.

Embrace new information, connect the dots, and leverage resources. When we are constantly learning, we are consistently asking new questions that will spark creativity, inspire us to think differently, and generate bigger and better ideas.

“I think if you’re constantly seeking new knowledge, staying ahead of the curve is easy. This is where my love for asking ‘why?’ comes in.”

“Cultural trends do change, like everything else. That’s why I don’t necessarily pay attention to trends. I think what keeps me and my work relevant to others is that I try to really listen to the things that truly interest me — if I myself am not inspired, then I can’t expect others to care. What that means is constantly finding ways to travel outside New York or visit new parts of the city, reading, trying different food, supporting new artists, meeting new people and making unlikely friendships.” — Anna Sian

Remember your ‘whys’.

Welcoming other perspectives and embracing new information as we grow with the times is important. But, it is also essential to remember our ‘whys’. When we remember our ‘whys’, we go back to the source of our truth: the motive behind our work. When we engage in meaningful work, we are able to filter relevant opportunities, connect with our highest self, and continue moving towards a fulfilling path.

“I think what keeps me and my work relevant to others is that I try to really listen to the things that truly interest me — if I myself am not inspired, then I can’t expect others to care.”

This post is not just about tips on how to be relevant as much as it is about being mindful of where we have been, where we are today, and how we can nurture our craft to make the most of our career journey. How we choose to embrace our future determines our relevance in this age of disruption.

As I approach my 6th year at LinkedIn this summer, I am reminded of time, and how valuable it is. More than ever, in this ever-changing landscape, I need to slow down, shift my perspective, and remember my ‘whys’.

More than ever, in this ever-changing landscape, I need to slow down, shift my perspective, and remember my ‘whys’.

I remember sharing my passion project, How I Met Your Brand, with managers during my 30–60–90 day plan — right before I got hired. I created this platform because 1) there were few that existed back then, and 2) to provide career guidance and inspiration for women. My company’s mission echoes these sentiments — to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful —and it’s an amazing feeling to be personally and professionally invested in helping to create equitable economic opportunity. I feel most relevant when I share valuable information or spark meaningful conversations because I am helping people, and most importantly, doing what I love.

I feel most relevant when I share valuable information or spark meaningful conversations because I am helping people, and most importantly, doing what I love.

Being relevant is not about being the first, smartest, or quickest person in the room. Being relevant is displaying true grit — and leading with purpose and compassion.

Being relevant is displaying true grit — and leading with purpose and compassion.

Eventually, everything comes full circle. The decisions I have made led me to this point in my career — and I still have a long way to go.