No one goes through life without wishing for something more for themselves. More money, more time off, more time with friends, more time alone, a better job, promotion, prestige... something more. It’s human nature and it’s why we set goals.
It’s fun to dream about what life would be like if you were born a billionaire or more realistically, to imagine yourself as the supervisor or manager bringing your ideas to fruition with great success.
And you know your ideas are good but what you don’t know is why you keep getting passed over for promotion. Maybe it’s because you are just dreaming that dream instead of setting a goal to achieve it. “If you’ve got a dream chase it, cuz’ a dream won’t chase you back,” that’s a line from a song by ?????? And truer words have never been spoken.
So, now what? You can show up to work every morning, do your job, watch the clock, get a paycheck, and go home to do it again tomorrow, or you can make an action plan that will take you where you what to go. But you’ll have to make some changes.
Fear of Success – Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
There are many things in life to be afraid of, but a big fear for many people is doing something impulsive and new, they fear change. If you are going to chase your dream, you are going to have to learn to embrace that change and develop your resilience.
In the early 90s Susan Jeffers published the book, Feel the fear and do it Anyway. It is a practical self-help manual to help you overcome your fears by learning different strategies to develop a stronger mindset.
There are different kinds of fear that can cement your shaking feet to the ground.
According to Jeffers those fears are:
- Fearing what will happen to you such as inevitable change, aging, and illness
- Fearing the action, you need to take to move forward with your goals. You might fear going back to school, making new friends, or speaking up.
- Fearing an ego attack such as rejection, failure or feeling helpless
- Fearing success as though you are not good enough, also called imposter syndrome
- And the big fear of them all is based on a belief of “I can’t handle it!” which includes all the fears listed above
Everyone faces a certain degree of fear when they try something new but some people what-if the possibilities until they have built up so much anxiety, they feel helpless. Another reason “new” or change doesn’t sit well with us is because of the uncertainty it brings. As popular podcaster Tim Ferriss says, people would rather be unhappy than uncertain.
Fear is not the enemy. It’s your reaction to the fear that gives it power and makes you the victim. You perpetuate distrust for yourself and become paralyzed to move past the fear and achieve success.
How do you move past being afraid? You must “feel the fear and do it anyway.”
“If you don’t build your dream someone
else will hire you to build theirs”
You are Your Best Advocate –One of the single most career barriers to advancement is fear of change. Repeat that to yourself.” My fear of change is keeping me from advancing in my career.”
Changing things up means you don’t know how the adventure will end. Uncertainty, whether the outcome is a success or failure, is a chance to step over the barrier and see what’s on the other side.
Many people stay stuck in their fear because, as popular podcaster Tim Ferriss says, people would rather be unhappy than uncertain.
Maybe you are reading this thinking, “I’m not afraid of being successful, I don’t know how to become successful.”
Either way, the goal is the same. Advance your career. There are a few steps to take before you toss your hat in the ring.
First, get clarity about what you want and how you want to be supported. You cannot effectively advocate for yourself if you aren’t certain what direction you’re going, and it’s impossible for others to speak on your behalf if you don’t know what you are good at.
Career Coach Rachel Montanez suggests starting the process by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are my strengths? Take some time to think about where you excel. Look at your current role and make a list of your strengths.
Ask yourself questions like have you ever:
i. Come up with an idea that improved systems, operations, or policies?
ii. Identified a problem or pain point that others didn’t see, and solved it?
iii. Received awards or had your work commended by team members, leaders, clients, or stakeholders?
iv. Done work that has saved your team time, money, or both?
If those don’t fit your role come up with questions that do. Anything that demonstrates your ability to solve problems, or inspire a team, or contribute creative, valuable ideas to the project.
- What gives me vitality and what drains me? Do your talents align with your interests? You may be great at balancing the books but dread doing it at the end of every month.
- Write down the tasks you do every day. Do you enjoy doing any of them? Do some of them leave you feeling like it should be 5 o’clock when it’s only 10 am?
- What type of environment enables me to do my best work? The company culture will have a huge impact on your sense of belonging and ability to grow your career.
- Think about the “must-haves” of your work environment as well as those non-negotiable no’s.
Once you have answered those questions and have a solid idea of what your future career will look like, it’s time to speak up.
“There is no way you can be recognized or even rewarded
for your work if you are invisible!”
Silence isn’t always golden and most times the squeaky wheel does get the grease.
You have to find your voice and advocate for yourself and here are 5 ways to do just that:
1. Flaunt it if You Got it – Promote your accomplishments. Utilize social media, guest post on blogs, be a podcast guest and brag a little. (Just a little though.)
2. Know Your Worth – If you are going to ask for a promotion, know why you should be chosen. What value to you add to the company? What have you achieved that demonstrates your knowledge and insight? If you want others to believe in you, believe in yourself first.
3. Be Ready to Pitch (briefly) - Never walk into a meeting or conversation unprepared. Know ahead of time what topic will be discussed and do a little research so you can add value to the meeting.
4. Market yourself wisely. Be ready with a 30-60 second elevator pitch that will share your expertise to your network.
5. Be Your Wonderful Authentic Self – It's nice to be liked and it feels good to be important and make a difference. Know who you are, what kind of person you want to be and how you want to be treated. Then treat others exactly like that.
The top 2 things to remember when you want to advance yourself are that...
1) you are your best advocate but only when you believe in yourself and
2) fear will never let you go, you have to move past it.
You get one shot at this life. Every time you take a risk whether you succeed or fail, you have learned something. Now go get that job. You CAN do it.
When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being.
Investing in the right EAP or Wellness Program to support your employees will help them and help you. Visit www.ulliance.com, or call 866-648-8326.
The Ulliance Employee Assistance Program can address the
• Stress about work or job performance
• Crisis in the workplace
• Conflict resolution at work or in one’s personal life
• Marital or relationship problems
• Child or elder care concerns
• Financial worries
• Mental health problems
• Alcohol/substance abuse
• Interpersonal conflicts
• AND MORE!
Garrett, J. (n.d.). 5-ways that you can take action that supports ethnic minority career progression. Retrieved from Jenny Garrett: https://www.jennygarrett.global/5-ways-that-you-can-take-action-that-supports-ethnic-minority-career-progression/
Life, B. (2014, May 21). Feeling Stuck? Here are 9 Real Reasons You’re Not Getting Promoted. Retrieved from Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/feeling-stuck-here-are-9-real-reasons-youre-not-getting-promoted-2014-6
Mautz, S. (2017, November 16). Science Says This Is Why You Fear Change (and What to Do About It)An escalating amount of research indicates that change is tough on us. De-escalate the issue with the 4C's of change. Retrieved from Inc.: https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/science-says-this-is-why-you-fear-change-and-what-to-do-about-it.html
Montañez, R. (2021, June 3). Ask an Expert: How Do I Advocate For Myself at Work? Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2021/06/ask-an-expert-how-do-i-advocate-for-myself-at-work