Refresh Your Leadership Path

As a leader, you’re always thinking about others: your team, your peers, and the organization as a whole. But what about you?

Our podcast guest, Tammy Alvarez, says leaders must give their own careers as much priority as they give their teams. Hating Mondays is a sure sign your career needs a refresh. Based on her own remarkable career path, and now as CEO of the Career Winners Circle, Tammy offers a wealth of career-enhancing guidance. Here are a handful of her tips you can start using today!

Foremost, shift your mindset from getting paid for what you do to being paid for what you know.

Knowledge is your true value proposition. It’s unique to you and the experiences you’ve had: the lessons both formal schooling and the school of life taught you. No one else holds the exact same formula. Then, move your career toward positions that need your knowledge; they ARE out there and might even be in your own department.

Second, yet just as important, treat your career like a business.

It only makes sense to view your career as a business. After all, your skills, experience, and knowledge are your product, brand, and intellectual property. Just as you do for your organization, develop a major career goal. Strategize; determine the steps on how to get there, and formalize that into a plan. You can even set career benchmarks. As Louis Pasteur famously said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Knowing your career path prepares your mind to better see the opportunities that will move you toward your goals.

Use your leadership mindsets as career-advancing mindsets.

Resilience. Adaptability. Agility. So many of the mindsets and traits we’ve emphasized as marks of great leadership also work well when focused on your career. Receiving rejection on a job application is all but inevitable; maintaining resilience so you recover from disappointment and resume your career plan quickly has obvious advantages. It can be difficult to apply some leadership strengths to our personal lives, but when you view your career as a business, using your day job skills becomes much easier.

Transform apathy into ambition.

This one is probably new to you; it was to us! Tammy points out that apathy lurks at the root of the career trap. You feel stuck in an unfulfilling job but held there by the need to pay the bills. It eventually becomes apathy. You go through the motions, and the career red flag goes up: you hate Mondays. Let that apathy, paradoxically, become your motivation to take control of your career path. Let your plan become the light that dissipates the darkness of apathy. Think of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption and how his careful, long-term plan kept him going until his iconic escape.

Finally, navigate chaos and opportunity.

“During times of chaos, there is always opportunity,” Tammy says—and we are most assuredly in a time of chaos! This goes beyond simply being agile and resilient. It’s more than spotting opportunities, per Louis Pasteur above. Here, you’re actively creating opportunities. In her own career, Tammy did this by taking on third-rail projects. Those are the projects no one else will touch because they seem doomed to failure or otherwise require Herculean efforts. Tammy found, though, that precisely because no one expected success, simply making progress on those projects elevated her reputation among her leaders, and taught her valuable new skills that brought success to “normal” projects down the road.

Tammy and Maureen discuss many other career tips in the podcast. These are just a few you can start working on right now. Another way to boost your career now is by diving deep into the leadership mindsets Tammy mentioned. You can do that easily in our focused Leadership Mindset course; click to see all the details at


This article was adapted by Dan Mushalko from our podcast episode Steer Your Career to the Next Tier.

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