Are you projecting your inner ambitions?

I was fortunate to learn this lesson very early on in my fashion career. I believe this was a poignant moment in my fashion career and played such an important part of me moving up the career ladder.

Two years in my first job, gaining valuable knowledge the in’s and out’s of different roles within a fantastic brand, I had reached a point where working all the hours and weekends began to take it’s toll and make we feel all my hard work was being take for granted. My pay for a junior designer was extremely low and till this day I am amazed how I managed to make ends meet.

Consistently battling different conversations in my head…

“Can’t you see how hard I’m busting my gut over this job”?

 “Could you survive on the money you pay me? No….well then…”

It all started with a sequence of comments mentioned by my design manager who I can only presume was in the toilet when God was giving out people skills and diplomacy. My boss certainly did not know the location of his own moral compass.

“In another two years Michelle you will have your own small product area to design into”.

I thought you have to be kidding me, another two years, please God help this guy out by giving him a clue!

The final straw was the day he asked,

“Michelle do you have ambition”?

This was not only a rude awakening moment but also evidence that had been suffering from Graduate naivety (those of you already in the industry will have already experienced this).

Initially offended, I did not even have the words to answer him nicely, so I opted for showing wisdom and stayed silent.

I must admit it left me perplexed and I began to self-evaluate and challenge myself with questions.

“Doesn’t everyone have ambition? Why could he not see that I am such an ambitious person”?

Finally, I realised that there was no doubt that I was an ambitious person but more importantly, if he could not see this characteristic in me, then maybe I am not showing it as well as I thought.

James Caan speaks about Ambition being one of the key qualities an employer looks for in an employee. I guess this also could go for those who are looking for investors in their fashion brand, i.e. showing the brands ambitions.

There are many articles giving advice about showing your ambition for example, show initiative, be an asset, be proactive not reactive, be inquisitive, training and accomplishments and speak openly about your goals.

From my own personal experience, I realised that the one thing, which was hindering my projection of ambition in my earlier days, was my lack of confidence. This realisation helped me to advance up the career ladder and made me more aware of what action I had to take to gain confidence.

Now nearly fifteen years, lecturing, mentoring others and owning my own business, I can honestly say it has been a long but valuable journey. I am confidence in the fact that if I were to see that manager again, he would be able to see just how far my ambition drove me to this day.

If  I could go back in time and speak to my younger self, I would definitely prioritise these as my top seven tips.

  • Know you strengths; skills and most of all have confidence in those if nothing else.
  • Aim to excel in all you do, no matter how big or small the task
  • Fill in the gaps – Your weaknesses are not permanent characteristics. This time next year you should aim not to have the same weakness or career blocks.
  • Don’t be afraid to come out of your comfort zone, volunteer to help in the more difficult tasks.
  • Don’t through away your confidence, perservere it will be richly rewarded
  • Find an expert buddy at work – Someone who you have no problem asking those question you feel are silly.
  • Take every negative opinion and make a decision that allows you to positively move only in an upward direction, which is right for you. Don’t let others opinions cause you to live a life of regret. Positivity is a power fuel for a purpose driven life.

My question to you is how much ambition are you projecting?

I leave you with this little food for thought with this verse.

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.”

Need some help shining or climbing the fashion career ladder? Check out these links.

All the best!

My Fashion Tutor

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