Changing your mindset can advance your career

Changing your mindset can advance your career

By Jennifer Sanchez

Changing your mindset can advance your career

By Jennifer Sanchez
Marisol Capellan, a faculty member and executive coach, explains how the power of small changes in mindset can make a big difference in career success for women.

While there are many components to building a successful career, the path to success can look different for women. Often focused on building credentials and capabilities through “hard skills,” one University of Miami expert suggests that women should not overlook the importance of mindset and "soft skills," as key areas of growth related to career advancement. 

As a certified executive coach, a faculty member in the department of management, and associate director for the Masters in Leadership Program, Marisol Capellan has devoted her doctoral studies to researching the career trajectories of women in private higher education. Currently a doctoral candidate in the University of Miam’s higher education leadership program, Capellan continues to work closely with female executives from around the globe to develop their mindsets and confidence—ultimately coaching them through career growth and improving their leadership trajectory. 

“As women, we look at our professional experiences—including our advancement to leadership positions—and we tend to examine ourselves, what we bring to the table, and how we feel about our capabilities. But we occasionally overlook two key areas of advancement,” she said. “By making small changes to the way we think, we can change our trajectories. It doesn’t happen overnight; but with work, it can be accomplished.” Capellan shared two key areas of focus.

The importance of your personal mindset.

A well-developed mindset allows you to believe in yourself and your own capabilities, and it allows you to take reasonable, ambitious actions toward achieving higher levels of professional and personal development. It also encourages you to put yourself out there, even if that means you can fail. 

“Failure is part of the process but it's a mindset that will impact your ability to handle change, crisis, circumstances, conflicts, and relationships at work. All of which will affect the way you lead and how you advance in your career,” she noted.

Learn to look beyond your individual experiences.

Thinking in broader contexts when it comes to advancing your careers will help detach our self-worth from the negative events that may happen at work. When we are aware of the roles that societal and gender norms play in our personal narrative, we can better understand external failures and how internalizing these failures can change the way that we see ourselves. While we can be cognizant of these norms, we must be intentional in developing a strong and independent sense of self, where you are the captain of our own self-image, beyond individual experiences. Developing a strong mindset around who we are and want to be is the best foundation to grow in any aspect of our lives, including our careers. 

In addition to focusing on mindset and the bigger picture, Capellan has developed practical coaching tools that can help women advance their career trajectories and leadership skills at any phase of their lives.

Develop a growth mindset and remain open to the possibility of change.

As an excutive coach, Capellan has seen how professionals often feel that they are “built” one way or another. This type of thought process limits the amount of growth a human being can have in life and work. It creates mental boundaries, which can, and usually do, limit one’s career growth potential. “We do not need to keep the same mindset that we had years ago,” she suggested. “Instead of limiting thoughts or negative self-talk, we can learn and realize our highest potential self if we embrace our ability and our duty to evolve.”

Practice self-compassion and question yourself.

As humans, we adopt limiting beliefs from other people. Through socialization in childhood and adulthood, we pick thoughts that make us feel like we are “not enough.” Understanding that our beliefs are externally formed but internalized will help us gracefully move away from limiting beliefs that may hinder our career trajectory.

Reframe your thoughts. Do not see things as absolutes. 

Most life and work events do not necessarily fall under either good or bad experiences. While there are definitive tragic and joyous events in our lives, there are opportunities to reframe experiences as neither good or bad, but as moments for growth and learning. For example, when things do not go our way or we make a mistake, our resiliency and discipline are tested. When we do not see everything as absolutes, we can learn how to neutralize these events, and move forward toward our goals by reframing our thoughts. Whether that’s through celebrating our wins, or learning from our failures, this consistent mindset exercise can greatly improve our lives and career success

Interested in learning more?

The University community is invited to join Capellan and University experts for a women’s leadership empowerment workshop on Saturday, April 24, at 9 a.m. Presented by the Women’s Commission and the Department of Management at the Miami Herbert Business School, “For the U by the U” is a half-day symposium designed to help you discover your leadership potential. Guest speakers—all who represent different areas at the University—will share their knowledge and experience on a number of topics, which include self-coaching, gratitude, building confidence, and time management. Register now.