Why You Should Read ‘Imagine it Forward’ By The Woman Who Turned Down Steve Jobs Twice

Did you ever wonder where your career will land you five years down the line? Would you ever reach to the top in your field? If yes, then how long would it take to reach there? To top it off, how different are the things going to be in the long term if you change your job. Moreover, how should you decide your next career move so as to accelerate your career?

These thoughts cross my mind every now and then. Like every other girl, I also google my questions so that I can find just the right articles or posts which answer my questions. I know for sure, if these thoughts cross my mind, a lot of other people must have thought about these and they may be able to help me. I like reading people’s comments on these articles. It makes me feel that I am not alone thinking about these questions and a ton of people are grappling with the same questions.

It wasn’t long ago that I found this one book which resonated so well with me that it not only answered all the questions I had about my career, but it also made me focus to other important things in my career which would help me as I go along. This book was all I needed to navigate the plethora of questions in my mind and reach a conclusion.

The book I am talking about is Beth Comstock’s ‘Imagine It Forward’. Beth Comstock, GE’s first women Vice Chair shares her career story in the book and how she spearheaded changes in GE to move towards a digital future and innovative work culture. You would find this book more appealing than several other career-related books. For one thing, it not only provides the practical tips you can apply but also is an autobiography of a woman who has been named to the Fortune and Forbes lists of the world’s most powerful women and a LinkedIn Top 10 Influencer. She even turned down Steve Jobs’s offer to work for Apple and that too, twice.

With all this being said, let’s dive into the five takeaways from the book and why it is a must-read.

Why Having A Family And A Thriving Career Can Go Hand In Hand

It is often thought that your responsibilities towards work and family often clash.  Women have a hard time balancing both of the roles. With children, your career has to take a back seat. Beth does a very good job delving deeper into how she never let having a family stop her. She mentions having her daughter Katie and eventually getting a divorce from her first husband. Being a single mother never let her career take a back seat.

She says, “There was nothing shameful about endings or mistakes. It can be a wise decision to leave one path and choose another.”

She further explores the question that most women have about starting a family. When is the right time to have kids? Beth says that there is no perfect time. You just figure it out.

Change Is Constant

As you go along in your career, you need not to shy away from change since change is inevitable. In today’s competitive world, you need to keep yourself up to date. New technologies, tools, and processes should not frighten you, they would rather make your work easier and better. You can’t grow in your career if you do not embrace changes.

As per Beth, “the nature of change is changing and we all need to get ready by being more adaptable and we need to be that regardless of where you are in your career,” 

You further need to expand your expertise by finding new ways and skills which require you to overcome the inertia.


Don’t Let The GateKeepers Hold You Back

Beth describes, “Gatekeepers are those looking to keep hold of the little power they have. They see divergent thinking and action as threatening.”

We all have gatekeepers in our workplaces and they want to be in power and don’t have your best interest at heart. They would, more often than not, see your thought process as a threat and would do whatever they can, to stop you from making changes. 


Learn To Trust Your Doubts As Much As You Should Trust Your Instincts

The write introduces an idea which is to trust your doubts. It is the pit in your stomach when you have to make a big decision. Beth further tells in the book, about the time she was working with NBC and Steve Jobs offered her to work with him. It was such a great opportunity and yet it just didn’t feel right. She trusted her doubts and turned it down.

She also stresses on the point that trusting your instincts is as much required. While Beth was working for CBS, she was offered a job at NBC. Nobody thought it was the best move since leaving a top company to work for a struggling seemed like the wrong choice. Beth followed her intuition and took the role. 

Beth says, “In my gut, I knew this was the job I was meant to take. Well-meaning colleagues will try to stop you from making these bravely instinctive choices. That’s just how it is. Change-making creates resistance. It is against the roles. Change is seen as a loss. It is scary. But you have to learn not to stop yourself. You have to learn to give yourself permission to imagine a better way, to envision opportunity where others see the risk.”

The Journey Is Always Worth Acknowledging

As per Beth, you would face many disappointments in your career but that is a part and parcel of life.

She says, “Despite everything not panning out the way we may hope, the journey is always worth acknowledging.

In the end, Beth sumps up her learnings in a few notes

Transformation is a never-ending journey, for your company, your team, for you.”

The story is the glue that binds us. We need stories to give our work, and our lives, meaning. The strategy is a story well told. Vision and courageous leadership never go out of style.

Believe in possibility. Get comfortable with not knowing. With living in the in-between of what was and what will be.”  


Buy The Book On Amazon

What do you think?

Written by Shubhi Singh

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