Are you ready to take that next step in your career? Whatever that may mean for you – a management or senior level position, a bigger producer, increase your own business as an owner – are you ready but do not know how?
Let me share the most powerful idea for you to implement in three easy steps to get you there: be that position.
Well, that just sounds too easy doesn’t it?
And you may be asking, “Ok, Ms. Smarty, how do I be a position that I am not?”
I’m so glad you asked, because this is where the three steps come into play:
Think like the position.
Speak like the position.
Act like the position.
The first thing you have to realize is if you cannot see yourself in this role then no one else will. Period. This is how you see yourself in the position and ultimately position yourself to take it over.
Let’s take for example you want to be a bigger producer or a manager. From this moment on stop thinking in terms of your current role and start tackling everything you do with this question:
“How would a big producer/a manager think about this?”
If you have a lead you need to contact, how would a producer prepare for it, make the call and handle the discussion? If there is a project at work that you are a part of – how would a manager approach the project, handle their part, communicate with other members and carry out their responsibilities?
Start thinking in terms of that position.
Plan your day as though you were in that position. Set goals, make action plans and strategize from the perspective of that position. It will take practice so you must commit to it every day with every task.
Start paying attention to how people in your desired position speak; not only to others but to themselves. Study them and emulate them.
You probably are not going to hear a leader in their industry say, “Gee whiz, I wish I could do that, but I don’t know that I can.”
No sir, they are confident. Take on their confidence. If you do not have anyone around you that you can study and emulate then do some research. LinkedIn is a great resource to find people who are in the position you want to be – go find them, talk to them and study them.
Start talking to yourself as this position. Do you think big producers doubt their value or ability? Stop doubting yours.
Start saying things to yourself like, “As a manager, this is how I am going to handle it.” Or “As a top producer I am going to land that account.” You do not have to say it out loud, just to yourself to affirm your commitment of being that position.
Actually – do not say it out loud at first. Because this is going to feel new to you and maybe a bit awkward and if someone else hears you they may instantly give you a look or make a comment. You do not need the negativity or distraction. Who cares what anyone else thinks – this is your goal – so do not give them an opportunity to squash it.
Years ago I worked downtown Indianapolis and the City Market was a thriving community, especially during lunch. I was still in college and had an administrative job so I was pretty much a meek little bystander.
But, boy, I would love to go to the City Market to eat my lunch and watch. I would watch all the business people coming and going. I would watch how they carried themselves and interacted with others. After some time I would learn who different people were and among them who was successful.
They all had some common characteristics. They dressed the part – not saying $3,000 suits. The were polished and professional looking like they could walk into a board room at any moment.
They carried themselves with confidence and self-assurance. They seemed to flow. I never saw them self-conscious about how they walked, what they were wearing or their personal space.
They were kind and open. They smiled at the cashier, said hello to people passing by and even if not engaging did not put on the sense of walls. They were comfortable with themselves and those around them.
Take pride in your appearance, you may not be able to afford a thousand dollar suit; however, you can wear nice, professional cloths and make sure they are pressed, appropriate and in top shape.
I once told an intern who wanted to start looking for a permanent position that it was time she wore big girl shoes. She was adorable, young and age-stylish. Meaning she wore what most young people wore at the time – one of those things being big, clunky platform shoes.
I told her to look around at the women who were in positions she wanted to be and notice how they dressed – starting with their shoes. Then next day she went to a local store and bought three pairs of “grown up” shoes and came into my office for a review.
I had her walk around in them, seeing which ones felt more comfortable and to notice how she felt walking in them. She decided on a conservative yet stylish pair of black pumps. The next day she wore them to work – not changing anything else about her wardrobe – and received many compliments about how nice she looked. She then began modifying her look to the professional side rather than the age-trendy side and people took notice. When her appearance changed, she gained confidence and started acting the part.
When handling a conflict or situation at your current job take a moment to think about your desired position would handle it. Would they stress out about something minor, would they be more collaborative, would they be more goal oriented or would they be more action oriented? Start acting the part.
Once you think like the role you want, speak like that position and act like it then you – and others – will see you as that role. From there it will be the most easy and natural transition to owning that position.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW