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Ep 26: Making an impact in your career through owning your personal brand: Andrea Martin, Coach

Updated: Jul 16, 2023


Hello, This is Sirisha, welcome to my podcast!

Working in a male-dominated environment has shown Andrea Martin how to exercise her voice and speak up to drive change. In her coaching business, she identifies common themes that can hinder career progression and works with her clients to articulate and set their goals so they enjoy the journey to achieving them. With broad visual strokes, she also discusses how she had to reevaluate her business and find the right balance for self-care and mental health. Her advice for early and mid-career individuals is "The biggest thing is you don't need anybody's permission to start making an imprint wherever you are". We also delve into the difference between Personal Brand and Reputation. We touched on many different nuggets for people to unpack and see how they can drive their career, no matter their stages and what they can do to provide and add value add in an organisation or for their own personal growth.

Andrea Martin is the podcast host of Career Confessions. She's a Latina who started her career in the corporate world growing into the executive ranks before pivoting her career to grow her own business along with her coaching career.

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Below is a transcript of the episode, slightly modified for reading.


[00:50] Meet Andrea Martin, Working in a male-dominated environment [Jump to section]

[05:56] Coaching clients... Common Themes [Jump to section]

[07:18] Articulating your goals... Enjoying the journey[Jump to section]

[12:45] Balance...Self Care...Mental Health[Jump to section]

[19:26] Advice for early/mid-career individuals[Jump to section]

[21:25] Personal Brand vs. Reputation [Jump to section]

[23:04] Finding and Exercising your voice... Speaking up [Jump to section]

[27:17] Goal Setting & Career Progression [Jump to section]

[34:51] Note to 21-year-old self...[Jump to section]


[00:50] Meet Andrea Martin, Working in a male-dominated environment

Sirisha: Hello everyone. I'm really excited to have today's guest Andrea Martin. She's the podcast host of Career Confessions. And she's also a Latina who talks about her own corporate career, her career pivot and the business she's growing along with her coaching career. So let's hear Andrea's story and what advice she has for her clients and some lessons we can all learn from her own experiences. Andrea, thank you for being here, I'm so excited to have this opportunity to talk to you.

Andrea: Thank you so much for having me. This is an amazing topic and I love talking to strong women like you. So thank you for having me.

Sirisha: Thanks. So, let's get started. Give me an idea of how you got to where you are today. What your story is.

Andrea: So, I'm originally from Lima, Peru. I moved to the United States when I was a teenager. The first couple of years, especially in my education were a lot about advocacy, especially as English is a second language and wanting to take on a bigger career. I knew I wanted to be an engineer for as long as I could remember and that really taught me from earlier on to advocate for what you want, find the resources, and make it happen. My family, my mom and I were learning, how to apply for colleges together. So, that was a bond that she and I think we'll always have Googling what is sat and I've seen my mom work really hard. My mom and my dad both worked really hard to be able to put me through school. So I did my undergrad in chemical engineering and then started working internationally as a field engineer for one of the major oil and gas companies in the world. I started working in oil rigs, sleeping in pickup trucks and I look back and I have a daughter now. So I look back to some of the places that I've been, and I don't know if I would let her do what I've done, but definitely, I've learned a lot. So I started climbing the corporate ladder. I have always worked in male-dominated fields. I love what I did and it was exactly where I needed to be. I found myself towards the last couple of years, leading large organizations and coaching has always been something that I've done. It's part of who I am and I decided, you know what, it's time to just do it fully. This is what I love to do and I transitioned full-time into a coach, which has allowed me to do a couple of things outside of coaching, which is own multiple businesses.

Sirisha: That's a really great story. I have friends who worked in oil rigs. It's a much, much stronger male-dominant world than most corporate worlds because you're working multiple days on an oil rig, offshore, very often. It's an entirely different atmosphere than going to a corporate office and sitting at a desk or in a conference room. And the dynamics, the language, I think all the different how do I describe it? All the different organizations, all the different skill sets, all the different backgrounds that come together, it's quite distinctive. So can you give me some examples of how you managed in that environment?

Andrea: We're talking even 15 years ago with when I first started working in oil rigs, which there's probably a lot more accommodations now, or at least I hope that there are a lot more accommodations now that there were 15 years ago, but I vividly remember one of the first things I advocated for was my own port-a-potty. It was something where I put my foot down and I said, I will not use the same port-a-potty that 40 other men are using. I need something that is for me, and you have to think about, you're wearing big amounts of PPE, protective equipment. So while it's easy for a man to walk into a port-a-potty and not touch every single wall around him, for me, it wasn't. It was a circus, holding everything, trying to make sure, nothing touches the sides and I remember advocating for myself, but that's definitely something that I took with me, which is, if you see something that could be better, don't accept anything less, we're here doing the same job. It's only fair that the same resources are provided. I did work 26 days on four days off, that was my first original schedule. And that was definitely a big learning. I vividly remembered there were six months when I had no days off and that led me to a pretty big burnout and to the point where I had to force myself to have a vacation. So I had my first case of learning what happens when you push yourself too far, but overall, and that will tell you, the crew that I worked with were such advocates for me, that I'm still friends with them on Facebook. They still message me even 15 years later. It goes to show when you show up and no matter what, if you're one day out of college or 15 years out of college, if you show up with servant leadership, people will follow you and they will have your back and that's what I saw.

Sirisha: Very true and there's so many allies, so many people to support us, you just need to ask for help and be there for them as well. That shows that camaraderie, you built a very strong relationship to keep that relationship going 15 years later as well. Now you switched to doing a coaching career. You're coaching a lot of clients and you have a lot of businesses.

[05:56] Coaching clients... Common Themes

Sirisha: So what is it that most of your clients are looking for? What do you find to be the fairly common themes that they are trying to address that most of us struggle with?

Andrea: When I first started my business, I started it as something that I was doing just solely on the weekends. I wouldn't necessarily, quite call it a side hustle. When I started it, it was something that was really passionate about. The way I saw it, as some people golf on the weekends, especially, working in oil and gas, golf was a big thing, some people hunt on the weekends. If you live in Midwest, that's very popular. I coach and I felt that was what I did. The reason why I transitioned fully as I realized what I enjoyed a lot about my leadership roles was coaching my teams to be high performers. So, I've always been attracted to high performers. Those that are aiming for really high goals, that one to break records, that one to maybe go a little bit against the mould of what's happening in the organization and they want to do it their way. And I've attracted very similar people to that in my practice that, every person that I work with is in some form or fashion, trying to go for something that either hasn't been done before, or they want to set that bar themselves for the rest of the organization. So a lot of high-performers, a lot of people that are already doing really well in their careers. And I think that's a really big distinction, usually, people don't come to me when they're unsure of what's next. They're very sure of what's next, they just want to get there faster.

[07:18] Articulating your goals... Enjoying the journey

Sirisha: I understand because it's tough for most people to articulate their goals and where they want to go. It takes a lot of self-reflection, understanding yourself, and understanding your environment. If you're staying in your current place, where those steps you need to navigate, and if you're transitioning to say another industry, you're completely pivoting in your career, what does that entail and how to go about it? So what are the keys pieces of advice you usually give them? And how do you help enable that transition for them?

Andrea: What are the biggest things that I've noticed, especially with my high-performers is we, and I'll say we, cause I, this is why I have a coach myself because I will fall trap to that as well. We tend to be all or nothing. I'm all in doing it. Or I am failing and being very careful with what type of limiting beliefs we're putting in place for ourselves and which goals we need to maybe adjust enough so we can remain in a state of high performance. I always talk about, if you're going to go for the Olympic medal, think about reaching the gold medal and standing on the podium and looking at the audience who's there. Did you love the journey to get here? And it's not just so much about the gold medal, but it was the journey to become the person you needed to be. So we work a lot in routines and boundaries and understanding what works for you. What's noise and accepting the noise and removing it. So that's one of the biggest things, is not being an all or nothing and allowing some adjustments so you can sustain. What your goal is as you're going towards them. So, say, that's a pretty big one. I would say the second thing is the confidence that usually it's not lacking, however, clarity, sometimes around which areas we want to really advocate for are sometimes a little bit more unclear. So for example, I could have a very intelligent top performer, but she, or he, might not really know which areas they need to focus on in order to elevate their positioning within the company and it might feel like you're bragging on yourself. Am I feel like it's unnecessary and this is very political games you have to suffer from, so we get really clear on what is the strategy, what are the things to bring to the table? How are you going to advocate them, so it doesn't drain their energy? It actually feels them, so you get there to their goals.

Sirisha: I like both of those points, because the first one is the journey. I attended a Tony Robbins workshop and there was and there was many speakers and that's what they said. Often they ask, Where are you, what is the feeling you get when you reached your goal? How do you feel? And it's very hard to describe it as joy and happiness all the time, because when we reach it very often, people just check the box and I'm moving on to the next thing. You do not take the time to just enjoy it, pat yourself on the back. But even those steps to get that is the part, it's the journey. And there was a lot of discussion also about failing and feeling successful and a lot of quotes from high achieving, teaching people about that. And that is what keeps us going. If it was simple or easy, self-satisfaction is challenging to feel. Not that it has to be hard, because there are so many things you learn along the way. There'll be developing new relationships as they navigate the space that you're talking about. When I just look at my own career and others, where you want to get. Organizations, especially corporations are very huge. There are so many avenues, so many places to go and sometimes you can narrowly focus on one spot you want to go to, and being able to define that large scope of, Hey, I could completely pivot and take this to this, completely different area and maybe that's what will make me happy or will provide the most value to the company and both those things will work together. It's very hard to do, and I am really glad to see that you provide that clarity and help them drive the discussion to see where they want to go and be able to articulate that too.

Andrea: You said that beautifully. And I would even add, the amount of times that I have failed in order to get to a quarter of the goal that I've wanted to get to it. I don't know if this is maybe appropriate or falls in line with this, but I was telling a client of mine yesterday, Who's building a business, on top of her career and I was telling her this isn't an easy journey. If it was easy to, everybody would do it. And if it was always said that, even when we were doing maybe an initiative, a work or we're changing the way we do something, if it was easy, we would have already done it. It is the truth. If it was easy, it would have been done. And sharing some of the difficult parts of the journey and being comfortable with falling flat on our face, knowing that we're going to get back up and keep going. Sounds cliche. But if you're not, if you're not ready to scrape your knees a little bit, then you're just walking and what's the fun in that it's, that's a while it might feel safe, you're also not going to feel the sense of, wow, I'm really progressing towards my goals. So being comfortable with scraping your knees along the way as you fall a couple of times, it's also ok.

Sirisha: I like that visual. It reminds me of being a kid. There's no fear. I think, that's the thing. It's the lack of fear and you just, you're just running. You're not thinking so much and retrospecting. That's where we all sometimes , tend to get stuck on. And you also said, is the all or nothing, even as I'm doing the podcast, it's the question is it all or nothing, but it's actually a nuanced approach because there's so many things I have to think of.

[12:45] Balance...Self Care...Mental Health

Sirisha: And talk about your own life. You are running your business, you have coaching business, you're a mom. So how do you balance all these pieces between being the all or nothing that you're looking at?

Andrea: I have really, I've really learned to, I have to give myself grace. If I really want to go after everything and I have some pretty big goals for myself, just as much as I pushed my clients to dream. I lead that with my own life and I am not going to get to my goals and leave the legacy that I want if I'm picking myself apart in the process. And that's how I had to really create a vision for like actually visually picture it of every time that I told myself that wasn't good enough, or you could have done playtime better, is like chipping away my body and what is going to be remaining by the time at the end of the day. What I've learned is, my kids want a happy mom. That's really what they want. They don't want to see me miserable. So, everything that I do needs to be with that. And with that goal in mind, so self-care is actually part of how I show up as a happy mom. So when we do have time together, it is very intentional. And I always say, think about we wear so many titles as women and really as professionals, I say, men as well. Cause there's a lot of really impressive parents that are battling many titles. And if we wear many hats, we're not really going to be wearing all the hats at once. That would be silly if it was actual. You're walking outside in the street with three hats on people would look at you a little funny. So why are we trying to do that with our lives? So wear one hat at a time, try to do it to the best of your ability, if you didn't like how that came out and what was the noise, let's remove that. But I have created pretty strong boundaries for myself and it's been a really big journey for me. I'll tell you, if I shared the boundaries that I have now with me of two years ago, she would be like, you're crazy. There's no way she's doing that because I've had to really learn to let go. Things will get done, it'll not have to get done this very second. They will get done and I've actually been way more successful. So the evidence as the engineer in me is saying, Hey, the evidence is there that this is more strategic. So now it's no longer I should have boundaries. It is, oh, boundaries actually helped me be more efficient. Therefore there's more of a logic side to it. Maybe not for everyone, but for me its logic, it makes it feel like I'm doing things on purpose. And that this has helped me so very clear with when I work, when I don't, when I answer messages from my clients and up until three months ago, I completely rebranded. But the way that I was working with my clients, I had pretty high touch, really large group with a lot of touch points and I've rebranded it to be fewer equal amount of touch points, but much more manageable.

Sirisha: I like that, especially as there's a ton of conversation around mental health, and just when you're talking about self-care, having the boundaries, giving yourself some grace. I think they all lead to that path, of whether you're going through a challenging situation and not to create it, because you're always stressing. We all tend to push ourselves really hard. It's maybe confidence, but maybe not. It's not just that. It's just so much self pressure, completely unnecessary to do that. There'll be, the urge to do it. And I'm glad you're setting boundaries because I think for those who are listening, even at work, I know we all, whether you're running your own business, whether you're running a different organization, whether you're working in the corporate world, it is good to set some boundaries at work, and most people are pretty open to having that conversation. I think sometimes we hold ourselves back, limit and think, oh, I shouldn't ask them, but you don't really lose anything by asking. You'd, be surprised by some of the answers you get. And some of those other people may be having the same situation and they might be wanting to broach the same subject. So I think if one person opens the door, it gives everyone the opportunity to come to the table and have that conversation. How they might be going through because we spend 40 hours, 60 hours maybe, working on our careers, be it through an organization, freelance, whatever you're doing, you spend as much time, or sometimes less time at home. So there have to be some intersection points where those intersect and some boundaries that are there so that you can take pieces of yourself back and forth. And for people to get to know you a little better 100%. And how has that reaction been from your clients as you're doing this? What has their response been?

Andrea: And I'll add one thing, which is, it really helped me with self-care is, not necessarily thinking me first, but making yourself part of the priority. It doesn't have to be before everything else you can make it do or fits with feels well. And for me, sometimes self-care can be, I need one hour by myself in my room and I'm going to grab an episode of like, House season one and go watch that while I drink my coffee in peace and that could be self-care for the day and that feels really good. But to the following question, my clients, I have a lot of love for my clients and actually the decision. And I'll share, this is the decision that I made three months ago was a really difficult one because I loved my clients and I was so invested in their journeys. Most of my clients have been with me for over two years. So whenever I made the decision of closing down, one of my programs, it was a decision that had probably been brewing for six months, but I wasn't able to, I wasn't able to execute because of the people. However, their responses were exactly what I needed to hear. Essentially what they said was we knew this day was coming. We knew that you have a lot of things going on and we knew that it was time to evolve and we see this for you. You share this and all of them are still extremely connected with me on Instagram and I will tell you that was actually probably the biggest reason why I held on. Going full-time in my coaching business was because I also loved the team that I was leading in my, in organization. So I have always been so much more attached to people than anything else. And I don't think I would have it any other way. I think that's who I am. I embrace that, as long as I have to, also know when to make decisions and take the step forward. So I can also think bigger and I could serve even more people. So I have ideas of how to serve them without this necessarily spreading myself into an unlimited number of hours.

Sirisha: I love that. I think, and what your clients reacted and your customers, I guess in some ways, your friends. It's not surprising. They already knew what you're going to do, they were waiting for you to pull the trigger and just say, okay, I'm ready to take this next step and probably that was the back of their minds. And it just helped them also probably transition and say, okay, this is what I will do next.

[19:26] Advice for early/mid-career individuals

Sirisha: So when you're looking at, coach clients, as you said, highly driven up in their careers. Do you have advice for early or mid career individuals who are looking for how to find their voice, how to define what those first few steps are as they transition into a new organization, or they're starting their career?

Andrea: The biggest thing is you don't need anybody's permission to start making an imprint wherever you are. And especially as you leave college, there's in college, you know what you're doing? What you're expected. Did they give you a syllabus at the beginning of the semester? They tell you exactly what you need to get. What grades they're giving you, essentially the blueprint for, how are you successful here? No one's giving you that blueprint. When you go into your first job. No, one's telling you, you have this many conversations with senior leaders. Go have this, go talk in this meeting. And that would say, make your presence known and it doesn't have to be, I'm always speaking, but how do you add value? How do you close loops? Ask the questions that you have. You should be a presence, I always encourage you whether you're early, mid, or even senior. I work with a lot of VPs. Just because you're, sometimes it's the opposite, They have such a high title, they're afraid to actually interject because they don't want to seem that their question is, becomes a task for someone else. So they're balancing even the opposite of like my voice is worth so much. I have to be careful of how I use it. But at the end of the day, that's what we have. It's your voice. Don't be afraid to use it and learn earlier on. What do you want to be known for? And the reason why I say that is that will change what you want to be known for will change, but start with draft number one, perhaps you left college and you realized that you were a very natural collaborator that no one understood how you got one lab to open for you, but you spoke with the janitor and the janitor helped you.

[21:25] Personal Brand vs. Reputation

Andrea: And somehow you guys finish your homework at the end of. You know what, that's a skill. How are you going to bring that into your corporate job? And you will reinvent yourself, but especially with the all or nothing, it, you're not going to create a personal brand early in your professional. That will be exactly the same later on. But if you start, you'll be able to be chipping away to understand how you want to show up. And then you can go full force. So don't be afraid to start establishing your personal brand.

Sirisha: Such a key point, that's a personal brand and there's this reputation and people sometimes get the two mixed together. Reputation is what people might think, but personal brand, like you said, it's very intentional, it's a choice you're making what you want to see yourself as what you want others to think of you when they think of the opportunities or when they think of your voice that is being heard. And I liked that you interjected because that is a constant progression. It is not that it's something that's stuck in stone, but the other reason I want to bring it back is for those who are returning to work. I took two career breaks when I came back and I remember one of our other guests saying, sometimes you are frozen in time. So if you're working with someone who you worked with 10 years ago, that intersects with you, that personal brand, that voice they heard is different from what your voice is today, which is actually probably a really good thing because they might bring back and interject different aspects that you may have forgotten along the way. And when someone's looking for the next opportunity, all these different threads can come together and weave a nice pattern and you see a whole new picture. And now when you go to the next thing, like you're saying being the janitor, helping how you collaborated in the lab or something else. There are so many pieces of your story that you bring together and those skills to drive that forward.

Andrea: Absolutely.

[23:04] Finding and Exercising your voice... Speaking up


And it's interesting when you're talking about senior leaders also struggling with the same thing, I think when you're new a novice at a place, you're wondering how to ask the question. Like when you're in school, you don't want to be the first one to raise your hand, but then you might realize that there are others who have the same question but haven't asked it. And I guess some of time the senior leaders struggled with the same thing, right? It could be a question they don't want to ask, or like you said, a task they don't want to unintentionally create. So it's a very nuanced approach to be able to bring everyone to still express their opinion and for you to have that voice and that space, even safe space for the senior leader to express their opinion, but not become a place to be judged and made decisions on. And then you can provide some clarity around that and say, okay, this is what we discussed. I know I expressed this, but let me put a caveat. You don't have to actually do what I'm asking. I just want us to discuss, so we have a more sensible decision that only one perspective to be heard,because that's what diversity of thought is. You want all of these things then to articulate and work through the process. So that's really good.

Andrea: Yeah. That's spot on. And I always say, what if your questions save millions of dollars? Are you willing if it was your money, would you ask. And usually, my clients go, even my early professionals are like, no, I would ask that question. I was like, okay, then that could be the outcome here. And I wouldn't even say to the early professionals, you have such a huge advantage that you are coming out of college with information. Perhaps senior leaders have not even been exposed to, so don't think that you don't have anything to add or value to add. You can absolutely be a resource for skip levels or even above and people don't reach out to them. Usually there, they think what are the odds that they'll respond? What the odds actually probably are really high. And then you have an opportunity to talk to them and you can always come prepared with a couple of talking points just in case. So your nerves subsided. Go grab a Harvard business review article, have it in your back pocket. If there's silence, bring it up, talk about how you just read this article and add some value to the conversation. It really doesn't have to be complicated.

Sirisha: Very true. What I've realized when I've talked to some senior leaders is they actually have mentees that are our mentors who are, new college grads. Because when you look at the landscape talk about social media, and sustainability, you're talking about AI, Machine learning. Those are all fairly new concepts to the corporate world. And if the companies have been there for a long time, there's a whole value add you bring just from your perspective, from the social impact conversation that people have to be aware of. So there is a whole dynamic that you can change in this conversation for them to look at. And you're absolutely right. If you send it to senior leaders, I think. Way to do it if you send a calendar invite or something, you will get a response. Most of them are willing to spend time. Of course, you provide value when you have that conversation and you suggested some great ways for them to engage and that could lead to a long-term collaboration.

Andrea: Absolutely. And I might add another tip if that's helpful, especially if you have an internal portal and there's a leader of another group, go find out what's the latest win of that group and say, Hey, I noticed that your organization was just recognized internally for XYC what a great achievement. I would love to sit down and talk about the journey that it took to get here. Or, Hey, I noticed on your LinkedIn profile, you share these two articles. I found the be insightful. Would you ever be open to discussing that more in a 20-minute coffee chat? You stand out immediately if you do something like that.

Sirisha: Very true. And it helps you first and also to connect with them. As you said, 15 or 20 minutes is a good way, like a timeframe for someone to give you time. They don't seem incredibly long. So it's a good sweet spot to start that conversation. And then I've heard and seen so many relationships change because of that because the value you provide everyone's experience is unique. Even if you're coming out of college, it's not just your college experiences, it's all your prior experiences. The connections you bring, so many different perspectives, so it helps. And maybe they'll end up being your mentor in the future that you'd never even thought to ask. So all your sponsors are your advocates, so there's so much to learn from that experience.

[27:17] Goal Setting & Career Progression

Sirisha: I see on your Instagram posts and stuff, you talk about goal setting and career advice and money mindset. Can you spend some time talking about what are those teams? You find to be helpful to the people who are looking at career progression outside your coaching business and what that conversation is when they self-reflect to look at that career.

Andrea: The biggest thing is, I always talk about it. It would be like driving a car, while you can have a great car, which is your diploma, your career. Where are you going to take that car? What speed? What direction are you in? Which route do you want to take? And reinventing yourself along the way is absolutely okay. But be aiming for something at first, if you ever feel like you need to have the perfect career plan, just go and look, if you have an iPhone, go, look at what version of the iPhone you have on, and then go and remember what the journey that it took to create a device like you have today. And what if they had waited for the iPhone to be what is today to release it? One, we wouldn't have created it because we wouldn't have realized the bugs, the fixes, the ideas along the way, the innovation, and that will happen with your career as well. So I am not a huge fan of always being, what do you want to do in 10 years? Who knows that might change, but what is your next goal? Do I want that? Is that the direction I want to go? And if it's enticing, start chipping away at a goal in mind to make that happen, that could be, I want to specifically understand how I need to show up and again, elevating yourself to the next version. So goal setting, career planning, really go hand in hand. I'm happy to discuss those two topics all the time, because honestly, If you're not aiming for something you're in limbo, and I don't want you to be in limbo. I don't want you to be on cruise control unless you want to be. And you might get to a destination and decide I want to get back in the car and go somewhere else and that's perfectly fine. But at least you learn something that you wouldn't have had you just been going with whatever you thought you should be doing.

Sirisha: And nowadays there is no specific career path, right? The people are carrying this, they call them the career lattices. So you're constantly moving. But then your companies or other corporations and trying to find that right space. And when you're talking about figuring out where they want to go, there's a lot of ways you can do it. You can do information interviews, just like you talked about talking to senior leaders for 20 minutes, that you can go across, say you want to stay in your same company. You can go talk near an engineering organization, could talk to marketing. You can talk to the systems people, you can talk to sales, you can talk to all these other organizations you would probably not ever think of and get, and find out what they're working on and see if that's something that you enjoy. And like you said, go take the car, drive to that spot, try the job. Maybe you really love it and you want to stay there and grow in that space. Or you want to take it back to your original destination and find a different route. There are so many experiences, the thing is nothing ever goes to waste. Learning is a journey. You either learn something that you liked it or that you didn't like it that's learning in itself. Not knowing what you don't want to do is itself a big step up. And then you can take those experiences and bring them back. And there might be an opportunity in the future where someone will really want those three, four pieces together and not find someone with that experience to stitch it. So it's good to have those sort of jumps back and forth as you do this.


I will add one of the biggest distractions in career planning, It's usually not what you should do next, but comparing to other people that you think have it all figured out and you're driving at the speed that you think it should be and then you see that Corvette speed pass. You're like, why can't I be a Corvette that's going? And you don't even know that car is going in circles. You didn't even know, but you saw go fast and you're like, I want to go as fast as that person. They might have a different plan, they might have a different life, they'll have different goals, different missions. Comparison can be such a thief of joy. And I always look back, I know that you graduated with someone. I always say you're always at one person you graduated with that. Perhaps you even gave them homework. They, that they didn't have and you helped them finish. And then all of a sudden they got a better job, but then you outside of college and you're like, how did this happen? You never know what 10 years from now will look like for either of you. So instead of wasting your energy, thinking about that, focus on yourself, focus on your growth and truthfully, you cannot go wrong, but it takes a lot to let that go. It's more, it's probably one of the hardest things. And even with peers a year younger, comparing yourself to ask yourself why you're comparing and get a couple levels deeper because there's something to learn about that.

Sirisha: It is very hard to do. Very easy to say. I totally understand what you're saying. I suppose you do it naturally. All of us struggle with that, but it's interesting because that Corvette will speed. But then if I look at the 10 -15 years of what I worked on. Sometimes people are stepping ahead. Some people are parallel. They must be wondering why you are stepping ahead and then they jumped three steps. So you never know in this dance or this car journey that you're going, where anyone ends up and where they end up as maybe someplace you do not want to be, or maybe you do want it. And all then what do you want to do to get there? And that it's a human emotion. We all struggled with it, but it's putting it in perspective. Like my dad says this, he said, when you're standing in a line, they're always looking at the people in front of us and saying, oh, why are they ahead, but really turn back and look and see, and all the people behind you; not to see that you're in front of them, but to see how far along you've come. That's what I guess teaches you when you talk to people. If you're looking for building that board of finding people to talk to when you look at people who have experiences who are maybe 10, 20 years senior to you. It gives you a feeling of where to go like aspiration, and also talking to people who might be early in the career to see how far you have come along. It goes back to your iPhone example, everything needs a certain evolution, there needs to be some learning that we go through to find where that path is. I've had friends who have aspired to a certain role, and it is not one person, many people who wanted a certain job. They tried for it, they got it. And six months later realize that wasn't what they wanted at all and they went back and switched out. It's also hard to switch out of your career choice. Especially when you're so invested and you wanted it so desperately and you took the job and then you realize that's not what you wanted. It's quite hard to give it up and say, okay, I'm going to let it go and I'm going to cut the thread and not easy to do at all.

Andrea: It's not easy. And I would even add that I had a grieving period after I left my job where I had to be careful of what I was feeling. Because really it's like a relationship ending, it's very similar. So you go through, and then you're thinking about all the late nights that you have great conversations and you're like, oh, that wasn't that bad of a friendship or that bad of a relationship, or, oh, maybe I should've stayed, but really when you're growing, there will be growing pains and there will be grieving moments where you're essentially a snake shedding your skin. And as much as perhaps you're attached to the skin, It's time to let it go as well. And one thing I would add to the comparison pieces, if you feel like you're asking why them and not me, I would love the reframe and I would encourage the reframe of, okay, they skipped three levels. Okay, so it is possible. So the evidence is there that it's possible for me as well. I just need to maybe reshape my plan but as possible. So it's not necessarily why them not me, but now as thank you for doing, because now I know there's nothing holding me back.

Sirisha: Exactly. And then maybe it's a good time to go back and look at your personal brand and everything and see what is it that you have left and the brand that you have left and see if that's what you want to continue, or maybe time to change it and revise it and see what that looks like.

Andrea: Yeah, absolutely love it.

[34:51] Note to 21-year-old self...

Sirisha: Some really great conversations. So as we are wrapping up, one thing I ask all my guests is what advice would they give that 21-year-old self.

Andrea: I would tell her, No matter what you will figure it out there. Some big learnings coming your way and this is forever. There will be some, there will be major learnings coming your way, but you've survived every single bad day you've had so far and you will continue to do so. Lean into your intuition, know that you will figure it out. You might not have to answer right away but you will figure it out. So don't feel stuck because there's an option there. You just have to dig a little deeper, maybe get in the closet, go look at the back. Maybe you'll be surprised with what you find out. The reason why I bring that up is, I think at times the things that throw us off, have really nothing to do with, maybe the bigger goals. It could be smaller things we thought would go smoothly. And because they don't, it can be a bigger roadblock than we realize, but you will figure it out.

Sirisha: Very good advice. And what is the one word you would use to describe yourself?

Andrea: I would say grit, has been my theme for as long as I can remember.

Sirisha: Pretty good. I think that's helped to make transitions and, basically fight for your space and make sure you're moving forward. So that's really good.

Andrea: I appreciate it. That's definitely been the theme. If I don't feel like there's that uncomfortable, like an uncomfortable zone or outside of my comfort zone and look growing pains. I'm not, I don't feel fully satisfied.

Sirisha: Thank you, Andrea. This was a great conversation. We touched on so many different things and nuggets for people to unpack and see how they can drive their career, wherever their stages are and what they can provide and value add to anybody in an organisation or for their own growth as well. So, I really appreciate you sharing your advice. So, thank you so much.

Andrea: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.


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