It should be obvious that you need to drive your career. Yet I still see so many confused about how to progress their career. Some of the comments I have heard over time are
- My manager doesn’t do anything for my career
- My manager doesn’t see my amazing work
- There are no opportunities in this company
I am sure there are many others that you have heard or said :). Generally they are all the same at the core of them. They all blame external factors for not reaching your goals. One thing I have not heard before is “I complained so much, they gave me the promotion”. We all know complaining isn’t a motivator for achieving. In this article, I want to focus on a few steps you can take to help drive your career.
Have you set a real goal? The first place to start is to have a clear goal in your mind. Do not look at the last person that got promoted or think of the next title. Set a realistic goal for yourself that you are passionate about. If you think your goal is a new title, ask yourself ‘what is it about the title that I want?’, is the responsibility, the impact or the money or ego?. Asking yourself more questions to get to the root of the goal. Having a real goal will make it easier to align your motivations and make it less of a chore.
Don’t make excuses. Your manager is one source of information. They are not the only source of information. Don’t be lazy, if you don’t have a skill, go and ask someone how they do something, or handle something or how they developed the skill. If you don’t understand how something works, or you don’t know enough about something. Find a book, video, article, blog, or platforms like udemy.com that are all filled with knowledge that is ready for you to consume. The 10 X Rule states that most people fail their goals because they underestimate the actual effort required to achieve their goal. Do you need to listen to music daily on your commute? Listen to blinkist.com for 15 minutes, then play your tunes.
Your manager is not a mind reader. If you want something or you have a goal in mind. The only way to ensure your manager knows it is to tell them directly. They want to help you. Most managers feel good when their team members set a goal and say they want to work towards it. It is better to know you are not in the running for a promotion months before, instead of after the announcements. By telling them what your goal is, gives them the chance to help you. If time has passed and they have not helped you, then that is a different story and maybe an article for another time.
Find a side project. Ask your manager for one or find something that you are passionate about. Spend the extra time building something new. A new process, a time-saving app, anything really. This will give you the chance to learn new skills, broaden your network, and increase your personal brand. Don’t pick something so you tell your manager you have completed something. It is too easy to turn up day in and day out in a business as usual routine. Be passionate about it, be resourceful and eager, these great traits to have and will help you succeed.
These are a few things to consider. Each time you are feeling like you do not have a choice or you are a victim. Ask yourself are you a passenger or driver in this situation. Always strive to be a driver. Remember there are no instruction manuals, you got to keep driving your career.