Breaking the Career Glass Ceiling and Realising Your Professional Potential

Sometimes getting beyond a certain level in your career can feel like a huge struggle. One thing I do want to say to you is that you need to start viewing your career more like a marathon and less like a sprint.

Let me share my own experiences with you whilst working in the accounting profession. Unlike most people in the profession, I left school at 15 with basic qualifications, started at the bottom and never went to university.

Despite starting from a low base, I managed to get myself qualified as an accountant, rose the career ladder to a Finance Director role and had the opportunity to work with two of the Big 4 Accounting firms (PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young).

Now, let me reassure you that I am not telling you this to brag or boast. Quite the contrary, I am telling you this because I honestly believe that anyone can do it.

So it got me thinking about what it really takes to break through the career glass ceiling and realise your professional potential.

The first thing on my list was a willingness to work hard. Nothing in your career comes easy.

Next, you need to believe in yourself. If you don’t, how do you expect anyone else to?

Thirdly, be self confident. People often confuse self confidence with arrogance. For me, it is about being willing to put your point across without fear of the response.

Next on my list is determination. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy to attain. When I was doing my professional accountancy exams, it was a struggle. However, the rewards from success are huge.

Fifth in my list is personal resilience. You will encounter plenty of setbacks and disappointments and you need to be able to bounce back from them.

Next comes three core skills: Business Skills, People Skills and Management Skills.

You also need to be an effective leader and build great relationships with others in my experience.

I am wondering if you are noticing something from all of the ideas I have shared?

Let me tell you. In my experience, the thing that sets apart those who break the glass ceiling and realise their professional potential is not how smart they are. It’s about the right mindset, right characteristics, the ability to contribute to the business and bring out the best in themselves and others.

So if you are serious about breaking the glass ceiling and realizing your professional potential, start focusing less on technical competence and more on what are oddly referred to as ‘softer skills’.

Duncan Brodie helps accountants and other professionals to have more successful careers. He invites you to sign up for his free audio masterclass.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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