When we ask executives, “What do you wish employees knew?” they answer that employees have way more opportunity than they realize to make an impact in the business, their careers, and their lives.
We often wait around for others to tell us what to do, to help us, or to motivate us. But by doing this, we let ourselves become dependent on others, and that’s not going to get us to our goals.
How often do you catch yourself saying “but”? “I want to get promoted/be recognized/earn more/become a manager/but … "
“ … I don’t know what to do to get ahead.”
“ … no one listens to my ideas.”
“ … I don’t have a college degree/MBA/certification/award.”
“ … I’m not an exec favorite.”
“ … I don’t have the budget."
“ … I’m not naturally talented at X."
" … I’m too busy."
" ... I don’t have the time.”
“ … I’m just here to pay the bills."
These are all examples of how you aren’t defining your own destiny -- you’re letting others shape it for you. How you’re boxing yourself in with these constraints.
There’s a significant difference between giving up in the face of challenges and using them to motivate yourself to be more creative, to push for change, and to find a way forward -- no matter what.
There will never be an ideal time, opportunity, or idea -- there will always be challenges. Owners and entrepreneurs succeed despite them, not without them. Even in baby steps. A step is a step, no matter how small.
It’s Easier to Dream Than to Do
How much do you daydream about being promoted, recognized, richer, or inspiring to others? Or how often do you read about others who are doing the things that you'd like to do?
Compare that to how much effort you spend on making those daydreams happen. Clocking hours at work doesn’t count. What are you learning that’s important to your goals -- and not just through watching videos or reading books, but by actually doing? (The best way to learn how to sell is to sell.) How are you contributing beyond what’s expected at work, or from customers?
In any job or career, you have a golden opportunity to do more with what you’ve got than you realize. For example, even if you’re working for a toxic manager, you’re learning the ins and outs of what doesn’t work, and becoming adept at spotting toxicity. You can do a lot with that in the future. Great managers know greatness because they’ve seen crap management, too. And next time you’ll be smarter about looking for and accepting a job.
It’s useful to envision success, and get clear on what it looks for you. But when you let dreaming replace the doing, you’re in trouble.
It’s fun to dream about success. Making it happen -- and keeping it going -- is a lot tougher. And far more rewarding.
Start Where You Are -- Today
Most employees have an unconscious dialogue that sounds similar to the following:
“I’ll make a difference here when the right moment comes along. When I get the right manager. When I see the right opportunity. When I ... ”
In other words, when someone or something comes in to save or help you. Then you’re going to do it, rather than you making it happen -- regardless of what makes it hard to do so. You give up too easily.
Take charge of and define your destiny now -- regardless of your circumstances. There’s always something you can do to take a step. Your opportunity is bigger than you realize.