more', in recognising when we are ready to assume greater responsibility. It is in these moments that we are best served in pushing forward, in seeking out new opportunities. Pushing too soon leaves us ill-prepared for the responsibilities we are to face, while sitting back and merely waiting for opportunities to arise can leave us frustrated and disheartened, slowing down our career growth.
Relying on our bosses to recognise and address our readiness will typically fall more in line with organizational needs than our own. When directed by our boss, 'more' will typically be representative of what the organization needs to be done, rather than what we need or should be doing. As a result, the 'more' we get assigned may come too early in our development, resulting in undue stress and pressure to keep up, or come late in our development, resulting in careers that grow much slower and not as far as they might if directed in more timely a fashion.
Additionally, if you aren't constantly assessing your readiness for 'more', you might find yourself passed by for promotion. Getting a promotion is not about simply doing your current job well, not even about doing it exceptionally well. Organizations like having folks who do their job well and keep on doing it! Instead, getting a promotion is about pushing the limits of your current role and in demonstrating that you have outgrown your current responsibilities and are actively seeking out 'more'.
This means that we cannot simply sit and wait for others to recognise our latent talents and abilities. Instead, it is important that we learn to recognise the signs of our readiness and address them ourselves. In doing so we are likely to not only avoid the possibility of stagnation or boredom, but we will grow our skills faster, by fitting our growth to our readiness, making us more valuable to the organization by assuming more responsibilities.
You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. - Jim RohnJust how can we tell that we are ready to take on 'more'? Watch for some of these signs...
- Everything is running smoothly. When you are typically in full control of the day-to-day aspects of your role, when there are few challenges or surprises, you are ready to begin adding a few new ones into the mix. You may be comfortable in continuing to do what you always have, but this is not likely to get you further ahead. If you are looking to continue to build your career profile then don't become complacent in a job you know fully. Smooth and calm waters offer you opportunities to play with something new.
- You aren't learning anything new. When everything about your role is known to you, when you have all of the answers, you are ready to learn more. You have a solid base of understanding to use as a foundation to build upon. Seek out new responsibilities and opportunities that expand upon what you already know, strengthening your experience and knowledge base and, ultimately, your value.
- When you don't have to work hard or push to be successful. When everything feels 'easy' you are definitely ready for more. We learn and we grow through challenges, not by staying with what is easy and comfortable.
- When you are spending a lot of your time fixing other people's problems. This is a sure sign that you are looking for new challenges. Your current role isn't challenging you enough, so you go looking for more. As much as fixing other people's problems will help you get a 'nice guy' award, it doesn't do as much for building your career as strategically looking for issues and challenges you can take on that directly enhance your skillset and career path.
- When you feel negative...often. If you find that you are caught up in negative emotions, are bored, resentful or feeling disengaged, you are ready for more. Your current role is not likely offering you enough variety or challenges to keep you motivated and energized. We are wired to want to grow and learn, which are energizing emotions. If you are feeling the opposite then it is time for you to find some new areas to expand.
Tracking your state of readiness is a key skill in developing a career purposely and strategically. Many get caught up in grabbing the bigger titles, jumping into roles that are too big for them, too soon, leading to failures that could have been avoided. However, others hold back far too long, getting caught up in the belief that doing a great job is enough to get a promotion. Focusing on what is expected of you is a great strategy for keeping the role you have. Going beyond expectations is the strategy that will lead you to a new role. Gauge what your current state of readiness is at every stage of your career, managing and building new opportunities to fit with your readiness for 'more'. This tip alone, if practiced consistently, is enough to build a solid and successful career.