In the past couple of weeks, a theme has emerged as I’ve had conversations with a variety of individuals.
Everyone wants a promotion.
CEOs want to create a bigger, more profitable company. Senior executives want a bigger voice in strategic decisions. Coaches and consultants want to make a bigger impact and charge more.
Here’s the core problem. Everyone is either waiting for someone else to promote them or waiting for permission. The attitude is, when they recognize me and promote me, I’ll step up and bring the value that I know I can deliver. Until then, I’m going to operate at my current level (and complain about it).
I’ve been self-employed now for over 8 years. Who do I ask for a promotion?
And here’s the worst part. When I get passed over for a promotion, who do I blame? Wow, that Ron guy, what a jerk – he totally is missing out on my value. Oh wait, that’s me.
Here’s the secret: PROMOTE YOURSELF. RIGHT NOW.
SELF-PROMOTION, not as in shameless, hype-filled marketing, but as in ELEVATING YOUR GAME.
Here’s a quick story to illustrate.
I’ve been training in the martial arts for six years now. Like many students, I dreamed about eventually getting a black belt. Yet about two years into my training I made a very important decision – not to “get” a black belt, as if I’m collecting trinkets from a gumball machine.
Instead, I made a decision to “BE” a black belt, starting right then and there. I remember the moment, standing in line at the end of class one night. I was smack in the middle of the line with about half the students ranked above and half below me. The current black belt holders stood in the front along with our master.
My entire approach to training changed that night. Actually, my entire approach to life. Why? Because I started approaching my training from a completely different level of consciousness and intention. I started paying very close attention to the black belt holders in front of me. Who is this person being on the mat? Who is this person being in life? I began working very intentionally to show up from this place.
Of course, from where I was at my then current level of awareness (blue belt), I had to somewhat guess at the level of awareness that a black belt is bringing to their training. But simply asking the question puts you on a different path.
I was officially promoted to black belt in Ki Bon Sool about three years later, after five years of training in a combination of Hapkido, Tai Chi, Jiu Jitsu, and weapons skills, culminating in a grueling “heck week” test which involved five consecutive days of testing.
Here’s the key point. The official promotion came much later than my internal promotion. The promotion itself is really just a formality – recognition that you’ve demonstrated what it takes to operate at that level. Then you are ready for your next stage of growth.
But wait – shouldn’t I get promoted first and then I’ll step up and do the work? Doesn’t work that way. The money, rewards, and recognition always come later.
NO ONE IS GOING TO GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO STEP UP. It doesn’t matter if you are an individual contributor or the CEO. And it is especially true if you are self-employed and running your own business. You must promote yourself – from within.
So if you are eager to get to the next level but are stuck, don’t ask “what do I do?” Ask yourself “who do I need to be?”
How much more awareness and intention can I bring to the work I’m doing RIGHT NOW?
Want to grow your company? Start BEING the CEO of the bigger, more profitable company NOW.
Want a seat at the strategy table? Start thinking bigger and more strategically NOW.
Want to raise your fees and make a bigger impact? Start playing bigger NOW.
I am privileged to be working with some remarkable individuals who are stepping up to create big things in their worlds and who recognize how working with a great coach is accelerating their success. If you are ready to make self-promotion a reality in your life, contact me and we’ll have a conversation.
What would self-promotion look like for you? Comment below.