advice, future is female, personal development, women in technology

Why I’m Ignoring Negative Feedback

Honestly, I’ve been feeling anxious lately. Impostor syndrome is such a buzzword in this space that I’m not even going to use it!

The “post-university void”, as lovingly coined by my friends, is a bizarre place. Even more so when you graduated in a global pandemic.

Rather than being worried I don’t belong, it’s more of a challenge in having faith that I’m carving out the right career path for myself.

Something I’ve just started to build out, which has been really helpful, is a positive feedback document.

By contrast to my last post about rejection, this is a folder literally just of things that have gone well. The planned, the unexpected, the miraculous – it’s all coming together in one place.

Wait, why?

Don’t get me wrong, I love a learning opportunity. Constructive criticism has helped me to grow my skill set, and give me areas to work on.

However, especially amongst junior women, we have a tendency to overlook or discount our successes, and obsess on negative pieces of feedback. It can also be hard to stay grounded on what you’ve achieved, especially when everything moves at pace.

For this reason, in the short term, I’m putting my personal development goals to one side and reflecting upon what has gone well over the past year.

What does that look like?

My “counter-balance” GDoc has five columns – the positive feedback, who it was from, why they said it (aka the context), my thoughts, and when it was.

This helps me to reconnect with what I was doing at the same, remember that relationship, and reflect on how I helped others.

How has that helped?

First of all, it’s a great reminder that when I set my mind to it, I can do some pretty cool things!

It’s also a list of the brilliant people that I have worked with over the past few years, and helps show that I have more support than I think.

On a personal level, it’s helped me to see key themes across my feedback, and to identify my strengths.

For example, some recurring topics include:

  • Proactive and self-led approach to learning
  • Inclusive and warm leadership
  • Going above and beyond for others

Finally, it’s made me prioritise giving others positive feedback when I can, and ensuring that I show my appreciation when I notice someone do a great job.

Altogether, this has helped me to become more confident and self-aware, which puts me in a stronger position to learn from constructive feedback and learn new things.

Is this an exercise you’d try? If you’re curious about doing the same, feel free to drop me a message!

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future is female, personal development, the future is female, women in technology

How To Survive as a Non-Tech Technology Team Leader

Do you ever make impulse decisions? Me too.

One of my latest adventures? Signing up as a Team Leader on 2 Hackathon coding challenges… as a UCL humanities graduate.

…Why?

(a question also asked by many of my friends & family)

During lockdown, I decided to begin learning to code. After getting a Code First Girls Python certificate, I was selected for their Career Nav mentorship programme, which advocates for women challenging themselves in the technology sector.

So, I thought, what better challenge than getting involved in 2 Hackathons: a Big Data challenge and diversity and inclusion product development. As part of my application, I clicked a button to put my name in the hat for a leadership role, without much further thought.

Turns out if you apply for things, sometimes you get accepted..!

Qualifications? Barely any. Nervous? Absolutely.

Through numerous Google Meets and agenda setting, we more than made it out alive – we made it to the Diversity Hackathon Challenge Finals!

So, what on earth happened as part of that process?

  1. Leadership doesn’t meant you have to know everything – work to use the skills of your team. Put your ego at the door and accept where your skills lie. Nearly all my team were more technically skilled than me! At the beginning of the project, we had a discussion around our personal strengths and divided the workload accordingly.
  2. Google. A lot. All the time. Accept that sometimes you will do hours of research just to figure out 4 ways not to build your final project.
  3. A surprising number of your skills are industry-neutral – use them! I’d never done a Hackathon before, but I was surprised by how much of my abilities I’d developed on my 2019 consulting internship came in handy. For example, project management techniques were essential to our overall success. And a pretty slide deck never does any harm..!
  4. Use your support network. My friends and family were so supportive during the process, and I was enormously grateful. They helped me to build confidence in my capabilities and in my ability to take up new challenges in future.

Whilst there were some stressful moments, leading on these 2 Hackathons was definitely one of my highlights of 2020.

So, if you have the opportunity to begin to learn to code, or explore the technology sector, I would absolutely recommend it!

Have any questions? As always, feel free to drop me a message.

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