FlyGirl's Tips to Soar in Your Career


As I mentioned in a past post, I spoke last month at the 2014 Working Mother Media Multicultural Women's National Conference in New York. As one of the U.S. Marine Corps’ first African American female pilots and America’s first African American female combat pilot, Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour was one of the most-talked-about presenters at the conference.

The consultant, trainer, speaker and author delivered an energetic keynote speech. I want to share some of the key points I took away from Armour's talk at the conference. I think you'll find them inspiring and energizing, and many are aligned with how I coach leaders.

  • Look and act like you're already at the next level.

    As I always say, “Think about how you show up.” Consider what it says about your capabilities and potential. By noticing and aligning your behavior – in an authentic way – with what is valued at the next level, others will see more potential in you. Learn more about the importance of how you show up in this video, and check out my new booklet "Building Executive Presence" (part of the Leadership EDGE SeriesSM) for more strategies you can quickly put into play.

  • Make a decision.

    Don't sit on the fence. Trust me; it will hurt after a while. If you need some extra motivation, learn how to escape three traps that keep you on the fence instead of moving forward.

  • Acknowledge the obstacle in front of you, but don’t give it power.

    This was one of Armour’s biggest messages. She talked about the importance of recognizing the roadblocks, but simply as a way to strategize around moving past them. People often put too much emphasis on the obstacle itself, giving it a life of its own. She encourages you to avoid making excuses; commit to the commitment; take action — no matter how minor it may seem; and review, recharge and re-attack.

  • What is your flight plan?

    Without clarity around your direction, it’s hard to move forward. By taking time to get really specific about the action you will take, and writing the steps down, you will increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.

  • You have permission to engage now.

    Stop raising your hand waiting for others to give you permission and just move forward. You are more empowered than you may realize. Recognize when you just need to take action and inform.

  • As leaders, what seeds are you planting?

    Each of us has the opportunity to develop future talent. What are you doing to cultivate others? In my own work, I talk about the importance of delegating to help others grow. Another e-booklet in the Leadership EDGE SeriesSM. "Building a Strong Team," has more ideas on developing others.

  • Who needs a runway? Take off from where you are.

    Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith and go for it. I often hear stories of people who tie their commitment to taking action to another condition being met. At the end of the day, that may never happen. What would mean to you if you achieved what you want? What would be happening in your life? How would it feel? As you think through the answers to those questions, they will motivate you to take the first step.

What piece of Armour's advice resonates the most with you now? How can you put it into play this week? Remember, soaring like FlyGirl starts with small steps.

PhotoCredit - Wikipedia