Asking for What You Want - Susan Chapman-Hughes

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I had the honor of being a featured guest for Amedisys DEI celebration. I spoke about my career journey and provided advice that helped propel me in my career and allowed me to achieve my own goals. One of the most important things I learned was that you must ask for what you want.

You can watch the video or read an excerpt below.

Oftentimes you think about things that you want to do and you think somehow or another your managers and your leaders can read your mind. Trust me, they cannot read your mind, you must vocalize what you want. If you value something and the company doesn’t know what you value, then you’re not getting what you came there for, and ultimately you’re disappointed about it. Part of that disappointment is actually on you because you have to be expressive and realistic about what the company can do for you and what opportunities are available for you. If you don’t raise your hand and vocalize what you want, then it’s hard for them to know! Typically, they will put you in ‘the box’ or put you in the place where you best suit what they want.

You should figure out how you think about what you want. Part of goal setting for me is a centering a real understanding of what is it that I want. So I would certainly ask everyone to do the same, think about what you want your career to be and think big. One of my mentors once gave me some really fantastic advice in the year 2000. In 2000, there were conspiracies that the world was either going to come to an end or we were going to have to keep going, so half the people in the world put their potted meat, their water and their storm shelters together just in case the world came to end. The other half of the world said ‘okay I have to figure out what I’m going to do.’ So, in the figuring out what I was going to do, my friends and I got together and put together a goal collage. We wanted to be on top of what we wanted to do so I wrote my goals down and I made my goal collage.

Later I was talking to one of my mentors and she took my goals and she actually ripped them up and threw them away. I was very confused and she said, “you’re not thinking big enough, you need to really think about things that are really in your heart, your passions that you really would love to do one day and write it down. Then every year I want you to start thinking about the things that you can do, what you need to learn, who you need to know and network with, what kinds of experiences you may need to have in order to position yourself to get to that thing or those sets of things.” Every year since then I’ve done that, and on my goal collage I actually put the Fortune Most Powerful Women in Business cover with my picture in the middle of it. I also put a Grammy award on it, I put all kinds of stuff in my collage, and there have been all kinds of experiences that have moved me closer to those goals.

The other piece of advice that she said to me was, “it doesn’t matter like how long it takes you to get to that goal, you have to position yourself to understand that your path is your path it’s not like anybody else’s path.” So as long as you get comfortable with the fact that you’re doing the things that you say you want to do for you, then you’ll be fine. There will be disappointments, there will be times where you might get passed over for that promotion or you don’t get picked for that team, but you have to recognize and put those things in context of the things that you say you want to do for yourself. This will help you rationalize how you need to continue to navigate your plan.

About Susan: Susan Chapman-Hughes is a connected leader with experience in several industries. As a growth strategist, she transforms traditional businesses into modernized digital models through driving engagement in various sectors and implementing revolutionary expansion strategies. Her interpersonal skills and relatable personality have allowed her to easily build trust and offer a people-centered approach to inclusive, empowering, and energizing leadership. She currently serves as an independent board director for Toast, Inc. and The J.M. Smucker Co.

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