In late March, more than 1,400 Sun Devils signed up for the Sun Devil Career Mastery Challenge. This email program was designed by May Busch, who, in addition to serving as an Executive in Residence for the ASU Office of the President, shares career-related wisdom in her work as an executive coach, speaker and author. She offered 12 tips over a four-week period, with topics that included time management, creativity, leadership, interpersonal relationships, communication skills, decision-making, and the power of being intentional and purposeful.
I signed up to be an observer, to see for myself what such a program can do, although I really did not think I needed it. I have a job, a family, I am enrolled in a challenging master’s degree program and I have never been busier. Quite frankly, I did not think there is anything more I could do in the realm of career mastery!
However, what I learned was something different, here are my takeaways from the experience.
Lessons learned from the Sun Devil Career Mastery Challenge
Lesson 1: A program like this keeps you focused.
You got one tip in your mailbox each week and you read and thought about that one tip. Nothing seemed so overwhelming that you lost interest or mentally switched off. It was even possible to make the tips your conversation starter for the week. As I conversed with my children, spouse, co-workers, supervisor, etc., I suddenly realized I’d included many more people in the circle of career mastery.
Lesson 2: The tips are organized in a pattern that trains you.
Every email introduced an idea, then explained the tip with an example and ended with actionable steps that one could take to make a change. Once you understand the format of how it is presented, you can hone in on what to look for and make your own list of actions to take. For me, personally, I know that once it gets on a list, it will get done!
Lesson 3: The program allowed you to build a base of support.
What was interesting about this program was that participants were actively encouraged to share thoughts, questions and ideas on the program page to start conversations and to learn from each other. May Busch responded to each entry, as well, so one’s understanding of what it takes to be successful deepened well beyond what it would have had the emails been the only source of instruction.
Lesson 4: You are forced to think “big-picture”
When everyday life takes over, it’s easy to go into reaction mode and spend all your energies in mundane tasks – responding to emails, checking off things on your to-do list – and the days begin to have the same pattern and same rhythm. Years go by before any changes. A program like this forces you to make plans, think “big picture” and always keep that goal in the front of your mind!
Lesson 5: It is easy to pick yourself back up!
This was truly the aspect of the Career Mastery Challenge that I enjoyed the most. Some weeks were just TOO crazy to focus on the program, but the wonderful thing was that the tips were there waiting for the reader when they did have the time. They also are organized in such a way that I found myself going back to older tips, just to read them one more time with a different perspective!
If you missed the Sun Devil Career Mastery Challenge, May Busch offers a longer version of the program that is offered weekly for a year – for a total of 52 tips!
~ Rekha Athreya, senior marketing and communications specialist for the ASU Alumni Association.