Empowered: Your Career in Your Hands.

Nadia Edwards-Dashti

 If you want to propel your career forward, I believe you must start with the right mindset. In the UK careers market today there is so much opportunity for you to excel if you look at the press with a positive mindset. 

·     According to the magazine Economia “¾ of UK workers are not engaged”. 

·     Consultancy.uk said that “Employee engagement and workplace productivity are inextricably linked.” 

·     HR.com wrote “most people view their leaders as being responsible for engagement.”

·     HR Director Mag wrote that the “global cost of lost productivity is £7 trillion.”

I read up on the meaning of these now widely used terms. Engagement is your willingness to give your best at work; therefore, disengaged people don’t give their best effort or their best ideas and ultimately hold themselves back. Productivity can be looked at as the entire workforce and what impact that has on the economy or it can be looked at as what impact it has on you and your career. How are you affected if you are not productive and therefore how are you affected if you are not engaged? If 75% of UK workers are not giving their all – how do you become the 25% that does? And more importantly how do you take control of your career, become truly EMPOWERED and bring the best of you to every day?

 To get you truly Empowered I think these are the steps you should take.

E: Exceed Expectations

What are your expectations of yourself? What do you want to achieve and by when? What is your job right now? Are you turning up or are you taking every day to its absolute fullest? Whatever you are striving for, to get the job, to do well in the job, take it seriously by understanding what is expected of you and working out how you strive to do more than that. Most importantly work to exceed your own expectations.

M: Make Mistakes

To fast track your career you need to value your most important moments of learning. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn. But don’t allow yourself to make the same mistakes twice! Getting better is hard so be prepared to try again and again to do things you haven’t done before. To stretch you have to try. When you try things out of your comfort zone mistakes will happen and when you learn from them you will be better than you were.

P: Passion

Loving what you do will make your journey so much easier. Find something you love in your job, focus on it, let it help you through the difficulty challenges you will face in your job. Allow it to help you focus on the bigger picture. Tell people about what you love and talk openly about how seriously you are taking your career. Over the past 15 years I’ve seen time and time again that hiring managers take on someone who is passionate about their business, project, technology over someone who has all the skills but shows no excitement for the job. Hiring managers look for people who love what they do and are excited about achieving their goals within the field.

O: Obsess over Emotional Intelligence

Its critical in the workplace to know your audience when you speak. Think about how you are perceived and heard. Would you listen to you? Would you follow you? Would you invest in you right now? When was the last time someone offered you advice in the workplace, did you take it on board and learn from it or were you defensive? Working on your awareness of others will allow for a speedier learning curve. Help yourself improve and encourage others to invest their time in you.

 W: Work on your can-do attitude

Are you an “I can”, or an “I can’t” person? If you want to do well in any career you need to train your brain to work out the solution to every problem you face over just stopping when you see the problem or even worse using the problem as an excuse not to try. Hiring managers specifically test for this in interviews by asking competency questions to find out if you solve problems or just identify them. Excuse makers don’t allow themselves to grow. It’s a skill to teach yourself and when you are strict with yourself your mindset will enable you to learn and your career to move forwards.

 E: Engage your Stretch Mindset

Here are traits and things said by a fixed and a stretch mindset person. Which one are you? Who do you think will do better in their career?

 Fixed Mindset

·     Avoids Challenge

·     Gives Up

·     Ignore Criticism and gets defensive

·     Feels threatened by the success of others and then puts them down or makes excuses for why their success has been easy.

They say: “Failure is the limit of my abilities”, “I will stick to what I know”, “I take feedback and constructive criticism defensively and instead of listen and take it on board I talk over people and explain why something hasn’t been done”, “I don’t like to be challenged”

Stretch Mindset

·     Embraces challenge

·     Persists despite obstacles

·     Actively listens and learns from criticism

·     Seeks help and advice

·     Inspired by the success of others

They say: “Failure is an opportunity to grow”, “I can learn to do anything I want”, “my efforts and attitude will determine my abilities.”

R: Remember the Basics

Getting the basics not just right but brilliant is a motto for the Harrington Starr Group. I run a course number of courses called BB or Brilliant Basics that remind even the most senior of us about making sure the basics of your role are executed to the highest of standards. In any industry and in any role,  I believe that if you master the basics of what you are required to do you can build as much as you want on to that solid foundation. 

The question is – what are your basics? And how do you improve on them?

E: Every Day Get Better

Kaizen is one of the founding values of the Harrington Starr Group and it means to continually improve your working practise and personal efficiencies. Even if your daily progression is tiny it’s still a move forward. For me, it’s the constant reminder that I can’t stand still as that is the same as falling behind. Instead we have to look at what is required at work, what are we good at, what do we struggle with? What should we work on? And constantly try and break out of the comfort zone. Being outside your comfort zone once a day over time will stretch your abilities and capabilities. #getbettereveryday

D: Demonstrate a personal brand

Self-Promotion is a fine line in the workplace but an important thing to get right. This is something I still struggle with but am working on. 

It’s not fair to expect your manager to know everything you do for the team and business. If you are committed to your job, if you are career orientated, if you want that promotion, if you have gone the extra mile then you must tell people about that.  Without helping those around you understand what you stand for and who you are its easy for you to be overlooked.

It’s not to say you change your personality and become the team ‘show off’ but be vocal about what you bring to the table. If you truly are pushing yourself to reach your goals and stretching your ambitions; your managers deserve to know that and in turn will probably offer you more support and advice.


Over the years I have dealt with countless hiring managers and have seen trends that repeat themselves again and again during the hiring process, the on boarding process and the promotion process. I work closely with our clients not just to find them people they wish to hire but for me it’s so important to help people managers invest into their staff and make their people better.

I presented these nine points at Christina Imafidon’s EMPOWERED to Work event sponsored by Barclays Rise last week. I wanted to give as many people as possible the advice I wish I had during the early stages of my career.  

Please contact me to discuss further!!