Perseverance, empathy and self-reflection are all qualities that hold you in good stead for a long and happy career. Odonzaya Ayurzana, Principal Advisor HR at Rio Tinto Mongolia, shares why.

Perseverance in the face of career setbacks

Overcoming career setbacks isn’t easy, so it’s important to be kind to yourself. Don’t be ashamed to discuss them with someone you trust. In my experience it’s always better to share your concerns with others than trying to solve them alone.

Throughout my career, I have often sought advice from my mentor. They never fail to listen to the issues I’m concerned about, challenge me to think about them from different perspectives, and help me to realise that something not going to plan allows for space to explore new opportunities.

In many ways, when I reflect on the obstacles I’ve encountered in my career, I am now grateful for lessons they’ve taught me.

For anyone without a mentor, I encourage you to find one!

Empathy for relationship-building

I believe that relationship building is one of the most important factors for professional development.

I’ve been fortunate to have many opportunities to build good working relationships during my working life. I actively seek new working relationships wherever I can, because they not only share new and fresh perspectives with me, but they help me to expand the team of people who will vouch for me and my ideas.

My advice to anyone looking to advance their career is to get out of your comfort zone and jump into what I call your ‘growth zone’. Expand your professional networks by asking to work in different areas of your company, deepen your perspectives by talking to a diverse range of people working within your field, and never stop learning from your experiences and the experiences of others.

When I reflect on my career so far, two stark lessons come to mind:

  1. Never underestimate your worth

Reflecting on your strengths, interests and personal values is critical to pursuing a career path that will keep you motivated and satisfied. Be courageous in seeking constructive feedback, spend time reflecting on areas you’d like to improve on, and take advantage of any opportunity to learn more about what you do and don’t like doing.

  1. Help and coach others, it will benefit you too!

If there are opportunities to help others, take them. Not only might you be able to help them develop and grow, but you just might learn something from them too.


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