Mylena Sutton on career change

Anyone who bets on themself is OK in my book, and my guest in this episode is here to empower you to make a big career change and turn work into what you want it to be.

Mylena Sutton is the founder of Voltage Vista LLC and a self-proclaimed leadership development fanatic. Mylena believes that personal leadership principles can guide teams toward greater alignment and productivity. But that’s not why I’m talking to her today: Mylena’s entrepreneurial story resonates with me — and will for so many of you, too. She’s a former HR lady who really took the time to invest in herself and put herself first.

If you’re thinking of making a big career change in 2021, we recorded this episode just for you.

For a Big Career Change, Take Personal Accountability

Walking away from a job is a hard decision, and we’ll always find some reason why we shouldn’t. But at some point we have to take charge of our careers. Just staying in one place, complaining about a job we hate, digs our work ethic and reputation deeper and deeper into a hole. And that’s not a good look for a leader.

“I really do believe that self-awareness is the cornerstone of good leadership,” Mylena says. “If you are that person who doesn’t do that internal work, everything is always someone else’s fault.” Take accountability for your own life, and do the work it takes to succeed outside of that job. For example, maybe you enroll in a night class or work on getting that certification you’ve always wanted. But no matter what you decide, remember: It’s up to you.

Find Your Balance

HR folks are some of the hardest, most dedicated workers out there. But going all in and burning the candle on both ends usually isn’t a good strategy. Overwork can severely reduce the quality of your work.

Work is an important part of your life, but it’s just that: a part. Set boundaries on your hours and accessibility so you can balance work with the rest of your obligations and experiences. “I want to teach people what my boundaries are, and I also want to respect their boundaries,” Mylena says. “People are afraid to assert what they need to be effective at work.”

You can’t be an effective leader if you aren’t taking care of yourself. When work is the beginning and end of every day, other parts of your life suffer for it — family, friends and continuing education all fall to the wayside in service of work. If you want to help others, you have to reclaim your own life from work.

Let Your Goals Dictate Your Path

Running HR from inside an organization and running your own external HR business are two very different experiences. Probe your thoughts and life goals, and be sure you want to be a consultant before making a big career change.

“Do you want to be a surgeon, or do you want to run the hospital?” Mylena asks. “That might frame how you build your business. If you’re looking to be the expert surgeon and to get really deep into the weeds on certain issues, you’re going to need somebody to run the business function of your organization.”

The early days of any business require you to do both, but you have to decide up front where you’ll ultimately land. If you’re planning to build the business and run the big picture, you’ll be conscious of creating and codifying processes to make that handoff to an assistant easier.

Resources From This Episode