Stepping Into a New Role: Business Development Manager Annie Cotter
I made a change this past November. A pretty significant change. A change I did not welcome at first because, you see, life was happening. Last year was a challenging one on a personal level, and I had finally found myself in the sweet-spot in my professional life. You know the place — the one where you are comfortable with the 1,895 plates you are juggling. You know what to do, when to do it, and how quickly it needs to get done. You know how to expect the curve-ball before it even leaves the pitchers’ hand. You are in C-O-N-T-R-O-L. You’ve got this.
Then.. opportunity comes knocking. You politely tell opportunity, “I do not feel like being stretched or learning something new, thank you very much” and “I am comfy, opportunity, can’t you see?”
Here’s the thing about the God we serve. He doesn’t call us to be comfy. He calls us to be oh, so much more.
I guess you can tell by the title of this blog; I answered the call that opportunity sent me. I did the scary thing.
Learning does not come so easily for me. I was not the student who absorbed something so quickly that I did not need to study. Oh, no, no, no. Friend, learning is tough for me sometimes. I get easily flustered when things don’t go my way, or I feel that I am out of control. This is especially so because, if you’ll remember what I said before, I just went from knowing All. The. Things to knowing None. Of. The. Things. Pretty unsettling, right?
I went from work in an office, to working remotely.
Knowing what I was doing, to not.
Being comfy to being scared.
Wearing pants every day in an office to, well.. you get the point.
To try my best to set myself up for success, here are a few things I try to do at least 796 times a day.
- Ask questions
A lot of them. Ask questions when you feel dumb, when you feel frustrated, even when you feel like you’ve asked them before (48 times). You see, you need to trust the people you work alongside. When they tell you that it is okay to bother them with the full barrel list of questions you have, you have no choice but to believe them. So, ask the dang question. How am I pushing myself in this area? I am allowing myself to ask questions at every turn. God bless Kerry, who I come to with everything. She is someone I consider to be “on the ball.” We all have those people who we look up to. What I have to do daily is remember what she told me on my first day – “You can’t have too many questions, and you can’t read into short responses.” We communicate internally via the Slack app. Everyone is uber busy and sometimes all they can manage is a one-word response. For an Enneagram 2, this can be like a drive-by shooting. Learning not to read into people’s reactions, with the use of no emoji (thanks iPhone) has taken work, but has made all the difference. Did I mention PR has its own language? In my first team meeting, I think I interrupted the team 7 different times asking what terms meant. Your new team doesn’t know what you don’t know. Speak up.
- Be realistic
You may put the pressure of an elephant on your shoulders to “perform” instantly, but that is not realistic. Be realistic. The elephant needs to go away and let you breathe. Those around you do not expect you to excel by week three. Get ahold of yourself, woman! In this area, I have to admit I am still living wholeheartedly. As previously stated, it is an adjustment to go from being on your A-game to not knowing how to work a G-Drive. Consciously reminding myself, I am smart and talented, and they hired me for a reason. Seeing as much value in myself as my new team sees in me is a complete game-changer. The fact that you will drop the ball is inevitable. Luckily for me, I work on a team of women who know grace and act grace out through their daily lives. When you do drop the dreaded ball, own up to it and move forward.
- Step outside your box.
Did I also mention you have to make new friends? New work wives? This is a toughy. All of your secrets and tears and rants need to fall on fresh ears. Allow yourself to find new confidants. I am a firm believer that we need to walk through the hard days (we all have them) with those we have a connection with (we all need them). The ladies I work with are intentional in every sense of the word. I am a very outgoing person, but it can be intimidating coming into a room of women who know everything about each other. On my first day, we went to a lunch spot where each girl knew what each person would be eating there. They could have ordered for each other! Sister, I am here to tell you that they will soon know your order and all of the quirky things that make you who you are.
Change is change, no matter how big or small. Stepping into a new role is an honor and a privilege, and that is a gift. Do not sell yourself short on the gift – He calls you to the gift. The scary and dark and new are places where you will find out new things about yourself. What you can handle, what you can’t, what works, what doesn’t. If you are deciding on whether or not to step into a new role, no matter what that looks like, can I encourage you to do it? Go for it and jump, already why don’t you? What is on the other side is more than you can imagine. So do it.. jump and let me know how it feels when you start to fly and soar and do all of the great things you thought you couldn’t. It will be worth it, and you will live to tell the tale.