Laurie Ruettimann was uninspired. She blamed others and herself for her unhappiness. That was 10 years ago, when she realized she couldn’t sit around and wait for change. She had to be her own leader.
Today, Ruettimann is a successful podcaster and LinkedIn Learning instructor. It’s also instructive that she has compiled life lessons into her book, “Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career.”
She talked with Chelsea Krost, a millennial expert, global speaker, LinkedIn instructor and marketing and branding strategist, during Krost’s #MillennialTalk Twitter chat about how to capitalize on Ruettimann’s insights.
When work is broken, people naturally ask what’s going on with their personal life. How do they show up for themselves and others? It’s tough to separate adversity at work from personal life. The threat of collateral damage is real.
“If your personal life is in turmoil, it will eventually affect your professional life,” Krost said.
Those who accept problems and act soonest will head off bigger challenges later.
“I absolutely believe that work is only as good as your personal life,” Ruettimann said. “You can’t escape who you are. No job can hide internal chaos. The point of life is to fix it and get better.
“The good news is that you can work on yourself,” she said. “It has a positive carryover effect on your job. Fix you, fix work. That’s the equation.”
Sign of bad times
Finding yourself sitting still in your career when all about you are moving on is a sign that something isn’t right with you or your management.
“If you wait for a sign from someone else that your career is going well, that sign comes from Human Resources,” Ruettimann said. “Nobody’s got time for that. The biggest sign is Sunday Night Scaries or Monday Morning Dread. If you would rather disappear than work, you’ve got a problem.
“If you’re not meeting your personal goals, it’s time to ask yourself why,” she said. “It’s a bad sign when you can’t remember the last time work got you excited.”
Another red flag is when things feel out of place. “It’s when expectations of what you thought was your ‘dream job’ are not aligning with your current job or career,” Krost said.
Ruettimann takes a Grim Reaper perspective. “Technically, all problems are short term and resolve themselves,” she said. “Then we die. What matters is the degree of anxiety and discomfort they cause.”
Those with successful careers have overcome rejection — perhaps many times. In sales, the saying is that each No brings you closer to a Yes. As motivating as that might be, it’s a tough pill to swallow when it’s your career that’s on the line.
“No is a complete sentence, but it’s also an invitation for you to think about why you’re hearing No and get to the root cause,” Ruettimann said. “Maybe it’s not simply No. Maybe it’s ‘not right now’ or ‘take another path.
“I am terrible with rejection, which is funny because I’m rejected regularly and push through, but oh man it’s so hard,” she said. “When you hear No, you can always ask for feedback. What would make it a Yes? Is there anything you can work on?”
In the rest of their conversation, Ruettimann and Krost talked about the sting of rejection, dealing with toxic workplaces and the surprising benefits of slacking off.