Meet Brooke Taylor. She’s a global speaker and transformational career coach supporting conscious female leaders and the globe’s leading tech and financial organisations. Brooke is the coach of the top female leaders at Goldman Sachs, Coinbase, Google, Salesforce, McKinsey, across the globe.
Brooke helps transform the lives and careers of high-achieving female leaders. Previously a marketing lead at Google, she understands the corporate climate first hand from years of experience, helping over 5,000 women through her private coaching, and corporate trainings. LA based Brooke, previously located in Sydney, was awarded The Top Career Coach by The Australian Business Review.
Here, Brooke explains the importance of decoupling your identity from work, how to manage workplace boundaries, and how to pivot the recent tech layoffs to your advantage!
Tell us about your career journey and how that paved the way towards your current career as a transformational career coach?
I started my career at Google, helping small businesses grow on Google’s ad platforms. As a young woman, I was always chasing Gold Stars, accolades, and the next achievement. Google was the perfect place for me to unleash my ambition and start to climb the corporate ladder. However, my ambition quickly turned manic and after a few years, my insecurities caught up to me. I found that I needed praise and external validation in order to feel good enough at work. I had mistaken my success for my self worth. This is a phenomenon I now call ‘The Success Wound’ which is the pain that comes from tying your achievement to your worthiness. I also adopted a “work-hard-play-hard” lifestyle of grinding Monday to Friday and partying on the weekends. This dependence on external validation, success, achievement and alcohol to fill an inner void brought me to a breaking point. I went through a long period of transformation where I got sober and closely examined my own ‘Success Wound’. Through healing and self-discovery, I found a personal freedom and deep satisfaction I didn’t know was possible. I became inspired to share these tools with others. This is where my coaching practice took shape! Six years later, I’ve helped over 5,000 female leaders globally to create careers and lives that actually feel fulfilling.
What are the most common issues facing your clients who are tech leaders and how do you recommend they overcome them?
Many women in tech suffer from the same symptoms: perfectionism, imposter syndrome, lack of clarity in their career direction, issues navigating company politics, overworking, and more. These symptoms might look different on the surface, but underneath they share the same root cause: ‘the Success Wound’. So long as your self-worth is determined by how successful, productive, or high-achieving you are, you will try to perfect, control, overwork, put others before yourself, and strive to prove your worthiness. My work is to help my clients to decouple their identity from their work so that they can actually have more success and more fulfillment. Because no matter how ‘successful’ you might look on paper, it will never feel like enough so long as your worth is fixed to your achievements. My coaching program is geared entirely towards helping women in tech to heal this root cause issue (their success wound) and instill a new relationship with success and themselves.
What questions do you need to ask yourself if you are looking for a new job role in the new year?
It’s not a job search, it’s a self search. We need to start any job pivot by first looking inside for wisdom before turning to LinkedIn.
The first question is, “What do I truly need in order to thrive at work?” We often fail to ask ourselves what we want and need, and instead orient our job search around our insecurities or our perception of the job market.
The second is, “What is the closest, most inspiring vision I can see for my career?” Whether this is in six months or six years, what is the clearest vision you have for your career that truly inspires you?
The third is, “What is a small step I can take towards this vision?” Do one small thing every day towards this vision. Big leaps often lead to burnout or fear. Small steps are sustainable.
How can you best manage workplace boundaries?
I see a career as a marathon with intermittent sprints. There are many times in one’s career where it’s appropriate to really sprint towards a goal– work longer hours to see a project through, cover for someone’s maternity leave, or build up your side hustle, for example. But sprinting forever and putting your needs second is a recipe for burnout. Sprints must be followed by restoration and boundaries are part of restoration. Boundaries can fall into a few buckets: time, space, energy, physical. Be clear on what category of boundary you need. Know that a boundary will be crossed and that’s not a sign that you’re doing it wrong or they don’t respect you. Prepare for the testing of the boundary with clear language. For more help supporting boundaries, you can download this courageous communication cheat sheet with common scripts for boundary setting.
As the tech industry faces global layoffs, what is your advice to pivot being laid off to your advantage?
Obstacles are detours in the right direction. I have seen time and time again that when layoffs happen, it’s often the push someone needed towards a new career that they were too scared to take on their own. Use this time to ask yourself the three questions above. It’s not often you get the time with a severance package to explore what it is you truly want. Layoffs can be a springboard towards an entirely new career and life that feels deeply rewarding.
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