The Most Surprising Career Lesson You’ll Ever Hear

Imagine instead of asking what you should do next, you were asking how much more you could do with a whole lot less – and that’s where Nicky Abdinor‘s inspirational advice is invaluable

As procurement professionals, sometimes it’s important to admit to ourselves that a career in procurement can be hard work. As you type away on your computer day after day, it’s very likely that you’ve had that thought …

So then … how much harder do you think you would have to work if you were born without arms? 

It’s not a question that many of us would dare to ask ourselves, but it is the situation that the truly inspirational Nicky Abdinor found herself in from birth. Determined to not let her disability get in the way, though, Nicky has forged a hugely successful career path as both a clinical psychologist and international keynote speaker, and we were fortunate to hear from her as part of our EMEA BRAVO women’s program.

Given Nicky’s situation, you would think that she would have to work considerably harder than most able-bodied people to succeed. And although she is absolutely not afraid of hard work, she had some particularly surprising career advice on this exact point. 

Here’s what she told us.  

Nicky’s definition of success

Do you find yourself chasing a promotion and a payrise? Do you often feel as if you never quite measure up as a result? There’s a reason for that, Nicky says. And it’s more to do with how you think of success, as opposed to what you actually achieve. 

As someone whose measures of success were always going to be different to others, Nicky says that the most important thing about being successful is first figuring out what it means to you: 

‘When it comes to measuring success, it’s important to recognise that each person has different goals and expectations. How boring life would be if we all had the same measures of success! 

To be truly successful, you need to recognise your own strengths, challenges and uniqueness. A barrier to success is when we compare ourselves to others and doubt our own abilities.’  

Not comparing ourselves to others 

Whether you’ve been gunning for a promotion or job you’ve missed, or you’ve been in a workplace where you simply believe you weren’t valued, it must be said that a lot of our frustrations come from comparing ourselves to others. 

And this gets in the way of our success, Nicky believes. 

Looking at things from Nicky’s perspective, a lot of us able-bodied people would find the idea of navigating life without arms to be truly terrifying. Nicky says that it has only been when she’s stopped comparing herself to others and allowed herself to be vulnerable that she’s really found success. 

She believes others should do the same: 

‘A barrier to success is when we compare ourselves to others and doubt our own abilities. This festers fear and stops us from taking the risks and steps needed to reach our desired goals. 

We need to be comfortable to enter a more vulnerable state where there are possibilities for set-backs, rejection and failure.

‘This cultivates more optimism and hope for success.’ 

The most surprising career lesson you’ll ever hear

Creating your own version of success? Not comparing yourself to others? Overcoming fear? It certainly sounds like a lot of hard work, and as we all know, procurement can feel overwhelming with even adding those extra challenges.

Yet hard work and extra challenges is something that Nicky is certainly used to, which is what makes her ultimate career lesson even more unusual. 

Nicky’s career advice for everyone is: “Find balance. When you love what you do, it’s hard not to keep pushing. What I do to keep the balance is book time off in my diary with the same commitment and intention as booking a business meeting.”

So, there you have it. Even with everything that Nicky has to do and overcome, she still prioritises time off, just as much as she does her career. 

Would you book time off in your diary? Let us know in the comments below. 

To hear more inspiring stories like Nicky’s, join our BRAVO program.