Who is really responsible for your career?
Who is the decision maker?
Who is the driver?
If you’re in a career that fills you with small-ness, resentment, anger, boredom, regret or frustration, then it’s time to ask yourself two questions… “How much longer will I accept this situation?” And, “What can I do to change it?”
Well, I can’t help you answer the first question, but I can give you some ideas and suggestions for the second question.
I believe that we are all the architect of our own career and we each have the ability to create a career that gives us meaning, purpose and joy. In order to do that, you must become a rainmaker for yourself. In other words, you must master the art of creating and identifying career opportunities.
There are three kinds of opportunities you’ll need to master –
1. Banked opportunities.
These are opportunities that land in your lap and you say, “Yes, please!” These are gifts that you willingly accept and cash in such as a new job, promotion, higher paycheck, or an opportunity to lead a bigger, higher profile or more exciting projects and teams. These are the opportunities you’ve worked so hard for, and then one day, they plop down in your lap. These are the most popular and eeeeeasiest kinds of opportunities to receive.
2. Deflected opportunities.
These are opportunities that land in your lap and you say, “Nope.” An opportunity comes knocking and without blinking an eye, you’ve all-too-quickly assessed that you’re too busy, too inexperienced, or too unworthy… or that the assignment is too big, too intimidating or too off-your-radar to accept it.
Twice I turned down a promotion when I was a disc jockey at a radio station in Monterey, California to become morning show host because it terrified me and I didn’t think I was good enough. I made a deal with my mentor that if the General Manager asked me a third time, I would take the promotion. Fortunately, he did. And fortunately, I did. What a wonderful, beautiful, awesome experience it was.
Three times I foolishly turned down a volunteer position on the national council of the American Marketing Association because I didn’t think I had time. I finally accepted, and that amazing position turned out to give me the leadership skills and marketing expertise I needed to land my 6-figure job at a high tech Fortune 100 company.
Stop selling yourself short and wasting your opportunities by saying “no” because they don’t fit in your ridiculously tight career box. Open up the top of your box. Give yourself breathing room to stretch, grow and learn. Maybe the universe does have a better plan for you. Maybe the universe is your biggest cheerleader and trying to give you opportunities to advance. Stop saying “no”, and re-train yourself to say “yes.”
3. Hidden opportunities.
These are opportunities that are there for you – but you must go find or create them. These are the most missed opportunities of all.
Today, I’ve been working at a Fortune 100 company for 13 years and recently my department went through a grueling re-org. My boss left the company, her boss left the company and many of my peers left. My world was crumbling. I found myself in quicksand and sinking fast. The only way I could find another internal job and get the recommendations I would need in order to stay with the company, would be to reach out to my internal network and ask for help. It felt embarrassing to send out a note asking for help. But after I did, within 48 hours I received 2 job offers, 3 leads, and 2 letters of recommendation. I wouldn’t have received anything if I hadn’t reached out and asked for help.
In my recent book, “The Bounce Back”, Cindy Hoyme talks about how she reached out to her network when she needed a new job. Within 3 weeks she had 4 job offers. Would she have had those job offers if she hadn’t asked her contacts for help? No. She possibly, may have found other job leads, but without the recommendations from her network, it’s highly unlikely she would have been hired.
Vid Vidyasagara talks about how he went from being a stagnated, under-challenged project manager to becoming a Sr. manager by asking if he could join two high-profile programs. Would he have received a promotion had he not volunteered for bigger, higher profile projects? No.
A client of mine, John, created and sold his vision of a new career path for him and his team to Sr. leaders where he works, and now he’s on his way to more promotions, advancement and a higher paycheck. Would this have happened had he not met with Sr. leaders? No.
Hidden opportunities are around us all the time. ALL THE TIME. They just require a little extra work. They require that you to do a little hunting and digging to seek them out. If you’re looking for a job have you reached out to your network to ask for job leads and recommendations? If you want a promotion have you stepped up to take on more responsibilities and lead higher profile projects? If you’ve reached the top of your career path inside an organization have you tried negotiating with Sr. managers to create a new or extended career path?
Never let your career stall. Instead, step up and take control. Go find your hidden gems. Go collect all those opportunities that are yours to find and keep. Get your BOLD on, and start mastering the art of banked, deflected and hidden opportunities. Once you do, your cup will runneth over
Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of the award winning book “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster after a layoff, re-org or career setback” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” – which is on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. She is also President and Founder of Career Coaching 360 which provides resume help, interviewing support, and personal career coaching packages for executives and professionals who want to change their career.
For a limited time, you can download the three FREE chapters of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com