This week I attended the Business Chicks breakfast event where Lisa Wilkinson spoke about her amazing journalism career in both magazines and television. Lisa was surprisingly funny and incredibly inspiring, having started her journalism career fresh out of high school with only a certificate in secretarial studies. Lisa never attended university and that certainly didn’t stop her from having a rewarding high profile career.
Lisa credits her career success to her tenacity and attitude of supporting and encouraging those around her. I’ve only recently been following Lisa’s career, since the news broke about her exit from the TODAY show. I shared my thoughts on this bold career move here.
At breakfast I especially loved Lisa’s career advice about how she’s approached her career and lived by the mantra – “it’s not a competition”. As more and more women want a meaningful career, Lisa has noticed the trend towards competing with each other to the point of judging and criticising each other. Lisa has certainly received plenty of criticism from TODAY show viewers about her fashion choices and interview questions, which she shared with us at breakfast this week.
Now more than ever we need to be supporting and encouraging each other. As I reflected on my own career I remembered a particular moment last year when I chose supporting instead of competing.
Within a couple of months of returning from maternity leave (the second time) I had the opportunity to apply for my team leader’s role (as she was going on maternity leave). I didn’t know anyone else applying for the role, so I was focused on doing my very best to write an interview-worthy cover letter and resume. Mission accomplished! I successfully received an interview and again did my best to impress the panel – two of my current colleagues.
Soon after, someone else I didn’t know was appointed to the role. Someone who had never worked in my department, let alone my team. It was at this point that I thought to myself – I can either make their life easier by helping and supporting them to learn about the department or I can treat them like competition and let them figure it out on their own.
I chose the supportive approach and soon formed a great working relationship with my new team leader. She turned out to be a great fit for the role and brought a wealth of experience to the team. Which is exactly why the panel had recruited her. Having worked in the team for a few years before her arrival I was also able to influence some key decisions about improving business processes as I shared my corporate knowledge with her. She was definitely grateful for the warm welcome to the team and my supportive approach in helping her get up to speed quickly. She became one of my biggest advocates within the organisation and was also very supportive when I announced my resignation a few months later.
You’ll also be pleased to know that Lisa walks her talk and she even commented on my Instagram post about the breakfast:
Such a fabulous breakfast with @lisa_wilkinson and @businesschicks this morning. Lisa was the perfect combo of funny and inspiring 👏 I especially loved her approach to her career and professional life as a woman ie "it's not a competition". Yes, let's support each other! Not judge, criticise and compete with each other. How do you support your colleagues and friends?