December 2, 2020

A Promotion Isn’t the Answer

I'm Melissa
I'm a Career and Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech. I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.
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Feeling stuck is a problem so many people face in their career. But for most of you, a promotion isn’t the answer.

Promotions are limited, others seem to be getting ahead, and it can sometimes seem unfair. You’re a high performer and seem to be doing everything right, so why do you feel stuck? You’re just trying to get to the next level.

You try to pad your resume, take more development courses, get certified in something, all to show your credibility and value, that you can handle the next level.

It just seems like the next logical step you’ve been working toward. 

A client was telling me she did everything right. She went to school, got a good job and even got her MBA. But at the end of the year, like so many others, she was faced with the performance rating process.  She wondered what her rating would be, if she could get promoted, or if her job would still be there with the constant re-organizations and COVID changes. 

She knew she hit her milestones, but dreaded the rating.  It’s a forced curve but so many factors go into what your rating will be. It’s exhausting.

So she focused on getting promoted.

But the more we dug into what she really wanted, the beliefs she had, and what she thought she was “supposed to do” it became clear the promotion wasn’t going to solve her problem.

It wasn’t going to make her feel any better, because those same circumstances would be there at any level. We had to work on something deeper.

What You’ll Learn

Why getting promoted won’t solve your career problems

How to succeed and achieve your goals in any setting

3 steps to help you take your career to the next level

How to work through any challenge and show up as yourself to get to the next level

Featured in This Episode

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Feeling stuck is a problem so many people face in their career.  Promotions are limited, others seem to be getting ahead, and it can sometimes feel like it’s unfair.  You’re a high performer and a rockstar but you’re still feeling stuck.  You’re just trying to get to that next level.

You try to pad your resume, take more development courses, get certified in something, all to show that you are credible, that you can handle the next level.

You aren’t even sure if you want the next level, it just seems like the next logical step.

A client was telling me she did everything she was supposed to.  She went to school, got a job, the went and got an MBA. 

Yet, here we were getting close to the end of the year and she was worried what her performance review would say.

She knew she hit her milestones but, she dreaded the ratings. The number or category you get put into.  Which is always a forced curve, so even if you’re at the top if it’s not your year to shine, you won’t be put there.  We have to share.  It’s also depending on your manger, if you had a new manager that year, and who else may be louder or shining brighter.

It’s exhausting.

So my client wanted to work on getting promoted.

She was worried. With structural changes that seem never ending and COVID, would she get laid off? Would her resume full of accomplishments save her?

She felt unsafe.  She needed to figure out what she really wanted and to figure out if she should make a move.

Like most of my clients, she felt confident in herself.

But the more we dug into how she really felt, how she let the numbers define her, how she felt safe with her resume behind her, it became clear she wasn’t truly confident.

And a promotion won’t solve that.

Even at a higher level, you’ll have the same challenges.  You’ll still be rated, you’ll still wonder if you’re good enough, get nervous around executives. That doesn’t change based on your circumstance, it changes when you do the inner work to feel confident in any situation.

Even as a high performer, one of the likely reasons you’re not where you want to be is because you’re lacking self-confidence.  It’s stopping you from making yourself as visible, raising your hand and speaking up, and pushing the status quo.  These are the secret sauce to loosening that feeling of being stuck.

It’s causing you to be a perfectionist, to worry about what others think and to need the title or the high rating to feel good.

Before talking about how to be more confident let’s first talk about what confidence is.  Confidence is the ability to walk into any situation and know you can handle it, know you have the skills, experience, and know-how to manage what comes your way.  It doesn’t mean you have all the answers, but it does mean you can handle it. 

It means you are secure in yourself and your capabilities. 

In the most basic definition, confidence is a feeling.

Confidence is built by taking action and having evidence of your capability.  Self-confidence on the other hand is believing you can handle anything, without evidence, without proof, without “I’ve done it before so I will do it again” to fuel you.

We can sum up handling any situation as really being able to trust yourself and be willing to experience any feeling that results from trying something new or doing something uncomfortable.

I talked about this a bit in last week’s episode on imposter syndrome.  If you haven’t listened to that one yet, go and check it out.  I share a 3 step cure to help you overcome it and talk about how imposter syndrome and confidence are connected.

Now, to assess your own self-confidence ask yourself the following 3 questions:

Do you trust yourself? Do you follow through on your commitments to you?

Do you do what you say you’re going to do? Just like a friend or family member, if you don’t follow through on what you say whether it’s taking that rest day, working out, or meeting a deadline, you’re not counting on yourself.  You’re learning you don’t follow through for you and what does that say?

You have to have consistent follow through with what you say you’re going to do, you earn this trust for yourself the same way you earn it with others.

You wouldn’t flake on your friends and think it’s fine so don’t do it to you.

Are you willing to experience any emotion? Fear of failure, embarrassment?

For the most part, the worst that can happen to us is a bad emotion. When we don’t speak up, when we don’t go after our dreams, it’s likely because we are fearing rejection, humiliation or failure.  But that is just a feeling. When you learn that you can handle any feeling, this doesn’t become so crippling.

What do you think of yourself?

This is like that children’s bucket book.  Have you read it? The love bucket? You add and remove drops throughout the day. When you think negatively about yourself, it depletes your confidence bucket.  When you think positively it adds.  I want you believe you are confident, capable and valued.

How you answer these three questions is an indicator of how self-confident you really are.

Why is this so hard? We don’t trust ourselves.  We don’t know how to manage our minds. We feel out of control of our feelings as if they are happening to us.  We want to be perfect. We want to be seen as competent and strong for our bosses and peers.

But think about it.  You put yourself out there and you go after what you want.  You raise your hand. The worst that will happen is a feeling you don’t like.

What happens if you don’t do anything? The cost is much higher.

When you have more self-confidence you:

Set more goals
Take more action
Make decisions aligned with your integrity

You grow self-confidence by doing more things that show you that you can handle those uncomfortable feelings.  You have to look at the thoughts you’re having about yourself and change them.  This is going to cause you to go against your human brain and your core beliefs.

It’s a big lift, I get it.  It’s also a practice.  It’s a practice in belief.  You keep working toward it until you believe it.

Working with a Coach is the most efficient way to see how your thinking is holding you back and build the confidence to get you the next job, the promotion, the fulfillment you want in your career and your life.

Some things you can do now are:

Next time you have the thought you want to try something new, speak up at the big meeting, be aware of how you’re feeling and allow it.
Speak up and express yourself
Take small steps in action
When you notice negative self-talk, stop it. Question it.  Is it true?
Accept and believe complements from others.  Your brain is your business and their brain is theirs. It’s not your business to question.

When you take these actions, write them down. Document your thoughts before and after.  How did these actions make you feel?  Keeping progress of your action will be an excellent resource for you to see your progress over time in your journey to unsticking yourself for good.

When you know you can handle any emotion and you trust yourself, you will see so much open up for you.

You won’t worry about the presentation with senior leaders, what your rating is, or what’s on your resume.  You’ll know you can handle anything and you’ll have your own back. You will know you are incredible.

When you have your own back, you don’t need someone else to tell you you’re amazing.

You’ll know you are.

When you aren’t promoted, you won’t think it’s because there is something wrong with you, you’ll take it as a learning experience and be able to make decisions aligned with what you want.

Whether it be hanging in for the next one or moving on to another company.

When you do get promoted, and the more you are confident the more you are likely to be, you’ll know it’s because of your work and your decisions, not because of someone else.

You won’t give the credit to your nice boss or brush it off.

I see you.  I was you.  My clients feel the way you do too.

You can overcome it.  You just need practice.

That is all for this week’s episode.

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No longer settles for “good enough”

Hi, I’m Melissa.

Career & Leadership Coach for Women in Pharma/Biotech

I'm a former Talent & Development leader in Pharma/Biotech turned CEO and Certified Professional Career & Life Coach. I also host the podcast, Your Worthy Career.

I've been where you are, and I help you create the career you want without working more hours or settling for good enough.

I'm leading a movement of women in the industry who are figuring out exactly what they want and shattering the glass ceiling. The very real ceiling in the industry, but also the one that we impose on ourselves. 

So long, imposter syndrome and overthinking. It's time to step into the impact and life you're worthy of having.

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