The best way to rise up in a company is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I know staying where you excel seems like a great idea, but you will never grow if you do so. Don’t let your potential stagnate by remaining in one place.
The first step is to figure out your blind spot. Once you know this, you can push your boundaries and strengthen those weaknesses. Challenge yourself everyday to work through your fears. This is how you will rise to the top, trust me.
I came across a great article written by Jeannette McClennan for Entrepreneur.com with 5 tips I’d like to share.
- “Speak the language.” This might be a tough pill to swallow. When you work somewhere, particularly a place with a strong culture, you have to learn how to connect with those around you. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to change everything about you– not at all! By pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you learn to better adapt and grow with your surroundings instead of force against them.
This was hard for me to work through and, to be honest, I’m still working through it. I’ve come to realize that not everyone acts and experiences things in the way I do. So, as a manager and a leader, I learned to speak the language of my team members and let go of my need to be right.
- “Bond with your board.” While McClennan wrote about her experiences of building individual relationships with her board members, I think we can apply this to a broader situation. Everyone is different and has unique interests, so you have to play to those if you want to create a lasting relationship. It might be uncomfortable at first to break down some walls, but it will be much better in the long term.
- “Know your worth — and know what’s possible.” Feeling undervalued and overworked happens far too frequently. When you want to negotiate a pay raise or a promotion, you have to step outside that comfort zone. Sure, it might be easy to quit and start over somewhere else but negotiating for what you want is a huge growth opportunity.
- “Get to the point.” Word vomit: not all of us suffer from this affliction, but plenty do. Even if it goes against everything in you, remember to be concise. You don’t need to over explain or home in on small details as that will just detract from the original message. Strong communication is a vital skill to have in the workplace. It might start out uncomfortable, but growing your career starts with being direct and to the point.
- “Get a second opinion.” Sometimes we can be blind to our own faults. If we don’t know what our weaknesses are, how are we to do better? As I mentioned earlier, everyone has a blind spot, so there is no shame here– literally every person has some. If you can’t figure out what yours is, just ask! A colleague or friend or a mentor can give you some helpful feedback.
The important lesson here is that we do the work to grow. Pretending that we’re perfect will only keep us in one place. The best way to rise in a career is to become self-aware and actively work to better ourselves. So, let’s go out and do that!