This blog was authored by Pure leaders Wendy Stusrud, VP, Global Partner Sales, and Alessandra Yockelson, Chief HR Officer. 

It’s a new year and a perfect time to reflect on career goals and to resolve to be brave. As we reflect on our own careers, it’s clear we’ve taken similar steps, embraced new opportunities, and continued to stretch to reach the leadership roles we have today. Below, we share our recommendations for how you can achieve your career goals, from taking risks and asking questions, to building relationships both personally and professionally. 

Be Ready for What’s Next

Hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, shared how he built his successful career by “…skating to where the puck will go next and not where it’s been.” Apply that philosophy to your future by looking ahead and being ready for your next opportunity. 

As leaders at Pure Storage®, we understand there are many lessons each person learns along their career path. Each experience adds to your perspective and skill set, preparing you for that next opportunity. It’s vital to understand how decisions are made and investments are determined in any business. If you don’t know how the operations run, you won’t have a complete picture of how a company can succeed and grow…or how your role will contribute to that growth.

Ask questions. Talk to coworkers. Gather market intelligence on the job you want. Seek out formal education to help build skills and credibility. With today’s virtual learning opportunities, the sky’s the limit on schools and certification programs that are available.

Be OK with Being Uncomfortable

We all have a desire for comfort, and that can lull us into complacency—the enemy of career growth. As musician and actor, Jon Bon Jovi cautioned, “Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time—you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.” 

The most rewarding roles (including ours today) are those that challenge and stretch us. Take Pure’s own Melody Zacharias, for example. Prior to becoming Pure’s Senior Microsoft Solutions Marketing Manager, she ran her own business with about 20 employees. Despite its success, Melody took the leap to sell her business and join Team Orange, going on to be named a regional director for Microsoft. 

Whether it’s a move horizontally or vertically, you can improve your knowledge and skills with each risk you take. In our experience, it’s also critical to ask for feedback and suggestions on how to do things better. Don’t be afraid of asking tough questions or having difficult conversations.

Network, Network, Network

Author and HR expert, Alan Collins, advises that “Pulling a good network together takes effort, sincerity, and time.” Thanks to technology, there are ways to meet people and connect. It’s important to have a broad network of both personal and professional connections who can support your growth and, when the time comes, a move to your next role. 

Your network may also help you identify different opportunities to expand your skills and deepen your knowledge. Participate in organizations such as Women of the Channel, Academy of Human Resource Development, and university and high school alumni groups. Seek out a mentor or industry leaders who will give you honest input and feedback. You never know when someone in your network can help open a door or make an introduction.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

We hope that in 2023, and beyond, you’re inspired to take risks and invest in yourself, your skills, and your future. Taking risks inherently means risking failure, but that’s where growth is found. Don’t get stuck on failures. Stand up. Shake it off. Take the next step toward your goal. Keep being leaders. Keep in mind another quote from Wayne Gretzky: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Be brave. Don’t miss your shot at reaching your goal.