Do what you love. It’s classic advice for success and joy in your career. It’s also a saying that has proven true for health-tech podcaster Peter Birch FIML. The MetaOptima Technology company director and general manager had, in fact, started his career in local radio. “Early on, I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted my career to go, but I knew I wanted to work in a role that allowed for creativity,” Birch recalls. Initially writing copy for radio ads, he later found himself behind the mic since he was always up for a new challenge.
Today, he hosts the go-to podcast for Australian health-tech professionals, Talking HealthTech. Having achieved success in various facets of working life, we asked Birch to share his advice for young and aspiring managers who want to keep fuelling their passion for leadership.
Here are his four top tips:
Be open to anything
Birch described how anxious he used to feel about not knowing what was next for him in his professional journey. However, he realised that you don’t need to have your entire future mapped out. Of course, different people will take the approach that works best for themselves, and some prefer to plan. Birch warns against becoming complacent and relying heavily on plans that may be affected by elements outside of your control. “There’s a prevalent belief among some that working for a large corporate organisation is the big-ticket; that’s how you can be comfortable and secure. But I’ve learned that there is no certainty in big corporate life either,” he explains. This truth has become all the more evident due to the events following the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on large established corporations.
Learn to trust yourself
Birch’s professional experience proves that even the best managers experience imposter syndrome. Part of his method for overcoming his feelings of inadequacy was to keep learning. “I did an MBA because as a young manager I felt a massive sense of not being good enough especially because I was managing people who were twice my age,” says Birch. Later on in his career, he also attained the Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA) designation so he could better understand the financial side of business. While Birch values what he learned through further education, he wants others to realise that taking a course should be done for the right reasons. “Do things that boost your confidence. You have to find a balance between completing further study to reassure yourself that you gain the abilities you need to improve and not just as a means to move on to a new opportunity.”
Build your brand
Birch’s successful podcast started as simple conversations with other professionals. Eventually, he saw it as an excellent opportunity to build his personal brand. He recommends podcasting as a great way to establish credibility as a professional and engage in enriching conversations. Birch also highly regards his professional community through IML ANZ. “Belonging to a community, whether that’s within your industry or a professional membership, is really valuable since it allows you to network, gain different perspectives, and bounce ideas off each other.”
Create your growth opportunities
You are responsible for your own growth and development – that’s what Birch’s career demonstrates. “If I’m uncomfortable, or really nervous, or even if I feel I’m unqualified, that’s the point when I decide if I want to step back to where I was or if I want to grow because of this situation.” He believes young aspiring leaders shouldn’t wait for opportunities to be handed to them. They should instead work hard at creating those growth opportunities for themselves. Birch advises others to continually ask themselves, “What else can I achieve that’s aligned with my vision and purpose?” Never stop when you reach milestones but keep pushing ahead and see what else you can achieve – that’s the secret to loving what you do no matter what it is.