Are you ready for a promotion?
In my experience, coaching and managing people, getting promoted is at the front of everyone’s mind. It’s the subject that everyone stresses over on their career journey. I was in that boat as well. I put all my energy into getting promoted to the point of obsession. Thinking back, my motivation for wanting to get promoted was definitely more about increasing my salary. Still, I also had a belief that the faster I got promoted to the highest level of my career, the sooner I would be able to coast in my career and have a family. I had the belief to grind now and take it easy later. At the time, I didn’t realize that carrying this belief was leading me off a cliff.
When I was obsessing about my promotion, I wanted it because I felt entitled to it. I felt entitled to it because, from my view, I worked hard and had comparable performance to others around me that were getting promoted. Additionally, my self-worth was tied up in my career, and having a stalled career meant that I was a failure. As I grew more experienced in my career, I realized promotion is more than performing at higher levels. Promotion is about taking on more responsibility and being ready for the responsibility when it comes. When I was feeling entitled to promotion, I evaluated one variable of my life: my job. I didn’t include everything else in my life, including marriage and the many boards I was serving on. As I reflect on that time, the truth is, I didn’t have the bandwidth to take on more responsibility through promotion. Interestingly, when I cleared all the outside activities from my calendar, I got the biggest promotion of my life.
The truth is, had I gotten promoted when I felt I was entitled to it, I would have done myself more harm than good. I was spread thinly on my time, and getting promoted would have added more responsibilities, thus more stress. This would have put me at risk of having performance issues once at the next level, causing more stress and diminishing my self-worth.
If you’re stressing about promotion, consider the following questions to determine if you’re ready truly.
Can your current lifestyle accommodate more responsibility?
Asking this question is often overlooked when most people are looking for a promotion. Promotion means adding more responsibilities. When you take on more responsibilities, stress usually follows.
For example, if you are newly married and just purchased your first home, your responsibilities are maintaining your new relationship and your new home. If you add managing a new team and new revenue goals to the mix, your stress will be ratcheted up trying to maintain your entire plate of responsibilities.
What is the true reason you’re seeking a promotion?
If your answer is more money and status, that’s the wrong answer. Using these as reasons will not motivate you to perform well at the next level. It will add more stress to your life because you will always perform for the paycheck and not because you love it.
Before you start in on me, about everyone works for paychecks; Yes, that’s true, but that extrinsic value of the paycheck will expire because your intrinsic values will step in and say, “Enough, I don’t value this work, and I feel forced.” Once you feel forced to do the work is when stress ensues.
Will you be supported?
When taking on more responsibilities, being supported by others is paramount to success. First, consider if the people in your life will support you in this new role. If you’re married and have home responsibilities, will your spouse pick up the slack when you shift more time to work? When you get promoted, will you have a team of people with the right skills and talents to support you? Taking on a new team is more than just stepping into a new role. You have to lead and motivate your team to achieve your vision and goals.
Most people fantasize about being promoted because they focus on the results of the promotion, i.e.more money, and status. The daily life of being at a higher level is rarely considered. Make sure you carefully think about what you are getting into and how it will impact your life before you start obsessing about it being your time.