Strategies for Career Progression: LEAD YP Learns from Dallas Business Owners

by Nikki Canga, Zerorisk HR

On March 28, the LEAD YP class had the opportunity to hear successful Dallas business owners give advice, impart wisdom, and inspire action to help young professionals developing their own career path plans. In attendance were Brittani Rettig, founder and Chief GRIT Office of GRIT Fitness; Kenni Driver, CEO and CMO of Marketing Uplift; and Mike Poskey, President and CEO of ZERORISK HR. The panel shared stories of successes and failures, and gave the class knowledge and encouragement to help them in their own career progression. Although the panel members all came from very different backgrounds and work in very different industries, they all stressed the importance of pursuing a career that energizes, the importance of emotional intelligence, and commitment to learning and growing.

Follow What Energizes You
Energy and passion are key ingredients to career progression. Brittani put it best when she said, “follow what energizes you.” When you are passionate about a path you follow, it will give you energy, which in turn will give you natural motivation. Figure out what gives you passion and energy, and then set your goals around it.

  • Action Item: Figure out what your passion is and then build a network around you based on that passion.
    • Ask Yourself:
      • What skills do I have?
      • What do I do?
      • How do I contribute to the world?
      • How do I make the world better?
      • What is important to me?

Emotional Intelligence is One of the Best Skills You Can Have
Of the competencies that correlate to workplace success, 80 percent are based on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is your ability to connect with people, recognize the moods and feelings of the people around you as well as your own, and your ability to regulate your own feelings and emotions. This skill will take you far in your career and individuals with high emotional intelligence have higher levels of self-awareness and excel at relationship building. Learning how to work with people and being aware of how your verbal and non-verbal communication influences those around you is a skill all great leaders possess.

  • Action Item: Learn more about emotional intelligence and work towards become self-aware of your emotional intelligence.
    • Read the following books:
      • Working with Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman
      • Primal Leadership, by Daniel Goleman

Never Stop Learning
Learning new things and pushing yourself to do something that makes you uncomfortable is a practice you should start today. No matter what your ultimate career goal, at some point along the way, you will be faced with a situation that scares you and pushes you. Practice this today to help you in the future.

Each of the panelists shared with the class what they do to keep learning and growing in their careers.

Brittani Rettig

  • Every year, Brittani has her team anonymously write down a piece of feedback for her. Although an uncomfortable and very vulnerable exercise, she said it’s been incredibly helpful to keep pushing herself and her business to the next level.
  • She earns one new certification per year.
  • She attends one new professional development conference each year.

Kenni Driver

  • Kenni reads all the time; blogs, books, articles, trade publications. She recommends reading Focus by Al Ries and makes a point to read it every year.
  • She watches “Shark Tank,” “The Profit,” and Ted Talks.
  • She builds network groups from her contacts to share information and get feedback. To increase self-awareness, she recommends asking a group of people who know you well and will be honest with you the following questions:
    • What are five things I do well?
    • What do you like about me?

Mike Poskey

  • Mike is also an avid reader and reads 2-3 hours per day.
  • He has been involved in leadership groups, giving him a place to receive feedback, solve issues and find opportunities within his business.
  • He is a big believer in mentors and speaks to his mentors each week. He recommends asking your mentor tough questions about yourself to help you grow; the key is to be quiet and listen, and don’t get defensive. Your mentor has your best interest at heart and honest feedback will help you grow and push you to that next level.