Maree Herath, Director, Harvest Recruitment & Human Resources talks about the key ingredients that will help you to become ‘Limitless’ and put your career into overdrive.
Let’s go back. Maree Herath, the Journey.
As a kid I was outgoing, outspoken, friendly, eager, optimistic. My parents separated when I was nine and I was raised, mostly by mum, until I was 15 and moved in with Dad until I was 18 and left home for Uni.
Tennis was my passion and I was an active kid. I started work early. My family didn’t have much money so I went and found my own source of income – a paper girl at the age of 12. After this I worked in supermarkets after school and at 7-Eleven even as I went through Uni.
As a kid, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. My first challenge was at Year 10 – choosing dreaded electives. I was mathematically minded so my teachers were keen to increase the female ratio in science. At high school I studied pure and applied maths, chemistry, physics and English. I did do Accounting in Year 11 as an extra subject but was influenced to go into pure science. I ended up doing a science degree, again encouraged that science would “open my world”.
“The Recession we had to have”, year 1990. I finished my degree right about here. There were very few jobs to be had in science – except for the lab or teaching which I knew back then was not my calling.
So… I did what most science graduates did. Worked in a bar. But I thought back to other things I enjoyed. I considered that one accounting subject I liked at school and pursued another undergraduate degree – this time in Business Management at Monash which I studied part-time while working. Career opportunity then came knocking at my door.
One of our clients worked in QA and was writing up QA Manuals and procedures for one of his clients. I studied TQM as one of the Business Management Subjects. I launched my career – as a Quality Consultant helping manufacturers, transport companies, even testing laboratories, get certification to ISO standards.
But my QA role found me talking to recruiters. In my QA gig I was consulting to a client through, what was then, one of Australia’s largest recruitment companies, Morgan & Banks. Knowing that I was a science head, and I knew a lot about a host of companies, they said “come and be a recruitment consultant”. At 25 I threw in my QA career and became a recruiter. It was here I completed my business degree and most importantly, gained an understanding of what best practice recruitment and HR consulting looks like. I travelled Australia and the globe with this company.
Everyone has their own journey. But, like my journey, your career journey probably looks like the “Rocky Road to Success” too.
I now run a successful HR & Recruitment business, starting out in Perth and now Geelong. Ten years on Harvest is a boutique business with ten staff and boasts some of the regions key employers as clients. But it wasn’t always that way. When I wrote my first business plan, I had rose coloured glasses. The plan was optimistic and I was going to be the top HR firm in the region in no time. But, let me tell you, I have had many setbacks along the way. You just pick yourself up and keep on going.
Limitless is such a big word. I think of Utopia when I think of Limitless. No borders, no brakes, no obstacles, no shackles just blue sky and nothing getting in your way.
As you’ve seen, my upbringing isn’t that much different to yours, I’ve faced challenges – in fact most of the paralysers that get in the way of achieving goals, I have experienced and still have them lurking somewhere in the background. Sometimes they raise their head more prominently and sometimes less so, but they are there to be seen for what they are and called down. Sometimes we can play the victim card. Make excuses, and we feel justified in doing so.
Let’s look at the key ingredients that will help you to become limitless. I believe you cannot imagine being limitless until you position yourself, your mind and your environment and influencers to allow you to truly go for it.
I want to talk about careers and what I have learned from my own career journey but also key factors that anyone, on their career journey, whether embarking on next year’s subjects, considering stepping out into your own business or looking for the next challenge / promotional opportunity can address to put their career into overdrive.
But first, the movie.
Limitless. The Movie.
When I started thinking about “being Limitless”, I was drawn to the movie, Limitless. Not just for the eye candy (Brad Cooper, if you please!) but to see what “modern society” would define as “Limitless”.
The movie depicted Brad Cooper’s character, Eddie, moving from a procrastinator author to a talented over achiever courtesy of a “pill”. Whilst we don’t have access to a “wonder drug” wouldn’t it be great if it was as easy as that? Alas, there were still some learnings I took away.
How to be Limitless.
- Stop and Assess Your Life
- What do you like? What don’t you like?
- If you could create a blank canvass, what would your life look like?
- Diet, Exercise, Sleep
- Diet, exercise and sleep are not just to prevent chronic disease but also for mental health.
- Good physical health promotes mental clarity.
Is there ‘stuff’ in your way that is clouding your vision?
In the movie, one of the first things Brad did was clean up. Clean your room, make your bed, wash your dishes after a meal. As Warren Buffet says, “create the habits of success.” With discipline comes focus and clarity of mind.
It doesn’t have to be physical, whatever it is, remove and create room for clarity.
- What are you reading? What are you watching on TV?
- Who are you hanging out with? Do your friends spur you on or pull you back?
- How often are you checking emails? Social Media?
We live in a distracted world and it’s easy to be led down another path. It takes discipline to focus and stay on track.
- Keep Moving Forward
Here’s an important tip: don’t compare yourself to others. Your journey is self-paced – it’s yours and yours alone. Here’s one of my favourite quotes:
“Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the exact place next year as you are today.
A note about Career Road Blocks
Yes, there will be roadblocks – bad habits, family pressures, sickness, mood changes, fear, laziness, stuck in a job you don’t like, excuses …
Yes, it can seem like forever before you gain any form of clarity
but remember … career destiny is a Journey.
And, there’s never been a better time to explore possibilities.
Why? We are in a period of multiple careers. It’s ok to move… to change. The key is to be a master experimenter until you find what truly lights you up.
Steve Jobs in his famous Stanford Address and what we know as “don’t settle” said, “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
He goes on to say…“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
- Set goals and be open and flow as goals change
Grab a pen and paper and start with … “I think I’d like to do … or be a ….”
Then find out what that entails.
This is where you can also look to jobs of the future. With continual digital disruption and globalization, the world of work is changing at a rapid pace. Keep track of jobs for the future through demographers, studies and resources. Harvest have written several blogs on the topic too.
A career coach can help you unpack this a bit further and help you take the steps to find a career you love. It’s about learning more about yourself, your skills, your strengths your passion.
When I returned to Geelong I needed work / life balance. So, my instinct was “I think I’d like to run my own business”. While I spoke to similar people and talked more at what recruitment looks like in Geelong, where I lacked was gathering my facts and I should’ve been asking “what’s the best day” when you run a business and moreover “what’s your worst day” this may have guided my hand somewhat more.
There is so much information now on the internet, a google search can give you ideas and anecdotes to help you learn more. SEEK is also a good forum to learn about a host of different jobs.
- Fill the missing gaps
- Do you need a new skill set or qualifications?
- Know the true value of your $
- Be true to yourself and once you are on your way, be purposeful
- Seek out promotions
- Accessing a promotion for a more senior role, transferring to a different department etc. can be a valuable part of your career journey.
- The power of Self-belief
You are stronger than you know. This is one of my favourite pics!
10. Say YES to opportunity
If opportunity is knocking at your door, listen to the stirring inside you.
Is it exciting? Is it pulling you forward?
It’s here our monkey brain gets talking. Why would you want to do that? You won’t cope! Remember when you tried that before? You’re bound to fail!
Wise words from my father, who I used to go to for many “BIG” decisions. He used to say… “What’s the worse thing that could happen?”
He helped me “play the movie” from the ridiculous to the sublime but what I found…. the worst case wasn’t worst case at all and it allowed me to dip my toe in the water of the unknown and move forward.
Really, there’s never been a better time to commit to your career success, feed your mind, body & soul, focus on what you want …
How will you become Limitless?
Words: Extracted from presentation by Harvest Director, Maree Herath to Business & Professional Women (BPW Geelong), November, 2018