Do you want that promotion? To be included on a great project? Would you like to change your working arrangements? Do you want to change your role? So, what are you actually doing about it? Your career is your responsibility, why would you leave it in someone else’s hands?
Very often these thoughts are initially just in our heads. We mull them over and consider options, what might happen, what might work.
“The longer we do this, the more likely our internal chatterbox – the story we tell ourselves – can easily develop a hook, leaving you hung up on an unexamined idea.” (Susan David, Emotional Agility, 2016)
Unless we move to action, what we are seeking will just remain a frustrated goal and dream. We can even talk ourselves into abandoning our plans altogether.
If we just sit and wait for the right circumstances to occur, believe that we will be noticed for the quality of our work, then we are handing decisions about our career to someone else.
Your career is your responsibility, why would you leave it in someone else’s hands?
Time to take action:
1. Be clear on what you want
The first step forward is being able to articulate what you really want and why. This is where is becomes real and where so many people get stuck. Showing up and presenting ourselves, our emotions and feelingsisn’t easy.This may be uncomfortable and you may feel vulnerable, but “vulnerability is not a weakness, and the uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure we face every day is not optional.” (Brené Brown, Dare Greatly, 2012)
That’s why it so often takes a sudden change in circumstances or a crisis to force us to act.
How many conversations have you had when someone has said, “I wish I had done this years ago”? How often have you seen someone who has made a change and remarked on how calm and relaxed they are?
2. Prepare yourself
Taking time to prepare is essential, especially committing to yourself and owning your strengths and capabilities. If we don’t understand and own them, how can we put our case forward? I am sure you have had positive feedback. But focusing on praise can feel uncomfortable or immodest. We even try and share it out! It takes practice to accept the positives so that they become memorable and part of who we are.
3. Talk to someone objective
By talking to someone who has your best interests at heart, who is trustworthy, prepared to listen and challenge you can help you achieve that clarity of thought, before you instigate that important conversation internally or seek a new role externally.
Wendy Hirsh’s research (Straight Talking: The Nature of effective Career Discussions at Work, 2004) identified these key qualities and they are often more important than the individual’s professional expertise. But you will also need to be open to new ideas and feedback. How you are perceived may be different to how you see yourself, which may prompt self-reflection and some rewriting of your inner story and possibilities for the future.
Are you ready to commit to yourself?