Successful People Use Tough Times to Position Themselves for Better Things to Come

Commitment to taking personal responsibility for your success is one of the keys to career and life success that is part of my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in detail in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS, and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. 

If you want to succeed, you must commit to three things.  First, you must take personal responsibility for your success.  Only you can make you a success.  You need to be willing to do the things necessary to succeed.  Second, you must set high goals — and then do whatever it takes to achieve them.   Third, stuff happens; as you go through life you will encounter many problems and setbacks.  You need to react positively to the negative stuff and move forward toward your goals.

Recently, I read a column in the Wall Street Journal Careers section called “When Your Rising Star Falls.”  Joan Lublin the author says that corporate belt tightening couple with the fact that many baby boomers are delaying retirement is creating a clogged promotion pipeline.  People who were expecting to be promoted are finding themselves languishing in their current positions for longer than they want.  She also says, “Coping with a clogged promotion pipeline requires improving your skills and marketability in creative ways.”

I agree.  It’s tough out there.  And while major job cut initiatives seem to be slowing, promotions are not coming as quickly as they did in the days prior to the current economic downturn.  However, you can do some things to position yourself for the promotion you want and deserve.

  • Clarify your long term goals.
  • Commit to taking personal responsibility for achieving them.
  • Stay confident, positive and optimistic
  • Polish your skills.

If you read this blog, you know that the four suggestions above are what I call the “4Cs of Success” – Clarity, Commitment, Confidence and Competence.  Let’s look at how they work in helping you get the promotion you want and deserve.

If you are clear on what you want and where you are going, you can make an informed choice.  Should you stay, or should you go?  Depending on your clarity of purpose, you may choose to remain with your current company, or you may choose to launch a job search that will land you the increased responsibilities and salary you want.  This one is up to you.  Only you can answer if your long term interests are best served by remaining with your current employer or moving to a new one.

Once you make this decision, commit to doing whatever it takes.  If you decide to look for a new job, attack your job search vigorously.  Network like crazy, talk to everybody you know.  Develop and individual, highly targeted resume for every job for which you apply.  Learn as much about the companies you target as you can.  Anticipate interview questions and rehearse your answers. 

On the other hand, if you choose to remain with your company, do what you can to position yourself well for when new opportunities arise.  Be willing to move laterally.  This will broaden your experience and get you better known in your company.  Volunteer for special projects.  Take a leadership position in an industry organization.  This “improve your internal visibility by improving your external visibility” strategy really works.  Brush up on your skills and competencies.  Take a presentation or writing course.  Spruce up your image. 

No matter which direction you take, stay positive.  Build your confidence by being optimistic.   As The Optimist Creed says, “Be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear and too happy to permit the presence of trouble” in your work life.  (If you want a copy of The Optimist Creed that you can frame and hang in your office, go to http://BudBilanich.com/optimist.)   Surround yourself with positive people.  Hang around with people who stay upbeat even though things might be a little slow for them.  Get rid of the nay sayers and complainers in your life.  Don’t be afraid to stretch a little – apply for positions that might be beyond your reach.  This will get you noticed, and who knows, you might just get selected for one of them.

Finally stay sharp.  Focus on creating positive personal impact.  Build your brand.  Be impeccable in your presentation of self.  Manage your time, life and stress well.  Brush up on your communication skills.  You’ll need them when it comes time to interview.  Network within your company.  Build strong relationships.  You never know who can help you land that promotion you want and deserve.

Finally, do an even better job in your current job that you’ve been doing.  Go from good to great, or from great to outstanding.  Perform, perform, perform.  The best way to get a promotion is to do an outstanding job in your current job.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people don’t let the current economic situation derail their promotion plans.  They spring into action to get the promotion they want and deserve.  If you want to get a promotion in these times, begin by upping the ante when it comes to your performance.  Put more time and effort into your current job.  Go from good to great.  Build your brand and your network within your company.  Take a lateral move.  Volunteer for tough assignments.  Most of all commit to taking personal responsibility for your life and career.

That’s my take on tough times and promotions.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.

Bud

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