My goal in today’s episode is to remind you that you have an amazing superpower.
You’re good at your job. You know the company pretty well. And you have a powerful set of skills.
You made a plan and followed it. You’re checking all the boxes. You got yourself this far in your engineering career.
Now, let me say that this is not unusual. You’re just reaching a point in your career where things get more challenging. And you’re also in a time when new technology development happens at lightspeed. And workplace dynamics are in flux.
The answer lies in a particular skill. One that you already have. In fact it’s your superpower. It’s called agility.
You already apply agility in your everyday life. You used it to get through engineering school. You use it to manage your family. You just need to apply it more in your job.
You’re good at agility. In my experience women engineers are better at it than men engineers.
It’s just that your agility skills haven’t necessarily been emphasized up to now. In your engineering career you’re taught to be prepared. To have a plan. To anticipate what’s happening next.
And for as long as things work out as expected, you’re good. But when the unexpected happens you’re kinda locked in. Without some agility you feel stuck or at a dead end. Less effective or even lost.
Why You Need Agility for Your Job and Your Career
Frequent and unexpected change is a good thing because it requires you to be more innovative. And we want innovative workplaces. But you have to be agile to survive in an innovative environment.
Agility means being open and flexible for whatever happens. It’s your ability to handle change at any speed. To shift gears. To alter your direction or modify your approach.
When you’re agile, you can manage the unexpected. You can make your way through chaos. You can feel comfortable with uncomfortable.
You may already know that agility is a characteristic of effective leaders. It will enrich your professional power and help you stand out as a resourceful leader and creative engineer.
You need agility for quick decisions, unforeseen problems, and sudden opportunities. You need agility for changing company priorities, corporate reorgs, and new customer demands.
And you need agility to navigate the unknowns in your career. It’ll enable you to:
- Do more fluid career planning and align with changing needs and opportunities.
- Find ways to develop next-level skills in the work you’re doing right now.
- Consider future roles that don’t even exist yet.
- Go with the flow in today’s dynamic workplace.
- Be comfortable with less clarity about the future.
Agility Means Being in the Ready Position
My favorite analogy of agility is the ready position. I still remember this from tennis lessons I took when I was 12. The ready position is the stance that allows you to quickly get to the ball and hit it. No matter how it comes at you.
Proper grip. Forward racquet. Elbows out. Shoulders relaxed. Knees bent. Weight evenly set. It’s a physical stance. And it’s a discipline.
And the better you can handle more responsibilities and higher level positions with ease and confidence.
Using the tennis analogy, be more agile at work by:
- Arriving each day warmed up and flexible
- Being prepared to move in any direction
- Focusing on your game and what you want the outcome to be
- Being open minded
- Taking whatever comes at you and using it to achieve your goal
- Not responding to anything that’s out of bounds
- Having confidence in your abilities, your game plan, and your reflexes
- And accepting unpredictability.
Start bringing your superpower to work with you. You can apply agility to each situation. To the problems you face and the decisions you make.
Soon you’ll notice your situation seems less complex. You’ll find ways to compete with confidence. And in your ready position, you’ll be able to handle whatever is coming next in your engineering career.
Remember to grab a copy of my guide “4 Steps to Commanding Greater Influence and Impact as a Woman Engineer.” It’ll give you useful tips to support your career and enhance your superpower. And it’s free.
Next time on Her Engineering Career Podcast I’ll share some insights on motivating and inspiring your team. I hope you’ll join me for Episode 61.