In 2019, a survey of 300 organizations by McKinsey & Co. and Lean In states that for every 100 men promoted or hired into a role as a first-time manager, only 72 women are promoted or hired. This imbalance is greater for women from ethnic minorities, with only 68 Latinas and 58 black women hired to managerial roles per 100 men.

Technology is changing the nature of business and affecting the industries most women work in. There are fewer women in the highest paid and most in demand professions. And systemic bias and mindset barriers are in the way of getting what we deserve. But here’s what is within our power: to prepare and position ourselves to go beyond those barriers and become future-ready leaders.

The first step in accelerating your career is to gain clarity. Clarity is the key to success and the source of courage and confidence. Yet only 15% of women have clarity on how they want to advance their careers. Lack of clarity stalls your progress or takes you down the wrong path. To get unstuck, you must discover your passion and define your path.

Here are the 5 essential elements to gain clarity:

Clarity on what you are passionate about and enjoy doing

When you don’t enjoy what you do for a living, when you find it unfulfilling, it becomes almost impossible to sustain any momentum. Discovering your passion helps you define your aspiration. By gaining clarity on what inspires and elevates you, you will be able to channel your energy and effort in the right direction instead of chasing after something that isn’t right for you.

Clarity on your unique strengths, skills and competencies

Clarity on your unique skills and competencies helps you differentiate yourself from others. While there are many things you can do, there are only a few things you can do outstanding well and be the best at in your career. Those are your gifts and unique skills that positions you ahead of your competition.

Clarity on which of your competencies are highly valued

Even if you’re doing great for now, remember that the market is constantly changing and so are the skills in demand. That’s why it’s so important to have clarity on what the market values the most. You have to run two races – being great at what you do today WHILE learning skills for what you will need to do tomorrow. Once you align your skills to market demand, you gain massive momentum in your career.

Clarity on what you want to be known for in the world

To stand out, you must have the expertise or solution for a problem. If you gain clarity on what problems you have the potential and passion for solving, you will be able to position yourself correctly in the marketplace. By understanding what is in demand that aligns with your strengths, you will be able to choose your niche, deliver impact, and express your value effectively to others.

Clarity on how to accelerate what you want to be known for

Clarity is not a one-time exercise, but a continuous endeavor. Keep assessing whether you are still moving in the right direction and focusing on honing the right skills, competencies and opportunities. Take on new challenges and experiences that will help you gain more traction in line with what you want to be known for.

Whether you are just getting started or hungry to get ahead, simply working hard is no longer enough to advance your career. You must have clarity, develop unstoppable confidence, adapt quickly to change, master success habits, and build a powerful professional network.

Take Action Now

If you are an ambitious woman who wants to dominate your career, then the Beyond Barriers Podcast is for you. Discover why traditional career strategies are outdated, what skills are growing in demand, and how to stand up and stand out in the workplace.

In each episode, we interview C-level executives, industry influencers, and business leaders from top corporations. Listen to our guests share their perspectives on opportunities and challenges in the age of artificial intelligence, autonomy and authenticity.

From inspiring stories to cutting-edge strategies, you’ll learn how to develop the skillset, mindset and toolset to get future-ready fast and accelerate your success.