There comes a time in every career when doing what we’ve always done will be insufficient for us to achieve our aspirations and potential.
Intuitively we know this, but changing tracks can be confronting, scary and easily avoided. Whether we notice or not, when confronted with the choice to take an emotional risk or to continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar, it’s easier to opt for the latter. This means that many fail to achieve our career goals.
Today I worked with a client who told me her CEO had offered her a position in his executive team. This was a major step for her and she‘d accepted. She knew what the position entailed and how to achieve the results expected of her. Her ability to perform was not in doubt.
The part that was missing was the mindset required to accompany the role.
Our careers typically comprise a series of incremental steps that we easily take until something comes up that requires us to change our minds about who we are and what we’re capable of. My client was at this point. The opportunity she described was exponentially bigger, and it was no longer enough for her to be a competent, likable, team player who got things done.
She needed to convince others that she was a credible, invaluable and clear headed leader who belonged in the executive suite. This meant she had to believe that she was a leader, who knew how to lead the strategic direction of a multi-million dollar publicly listed company.
Up to now, she’d been successful because of her pragmatic and consultative approach, able to see all sides of a situation and come up with a considered, balanced way forward. It’s likely that if she continues to act in this way she’ll be seen as indecisive and flaky.
At our session my client practiced speaking more directly and presenting her ideas with conviction and assurance. She told me she would continue to practice this more direct different communication style and felt confident she could get used to it. The challenge for her was adjusting her own mind and believing she was an equal of the group she was used to deferring to.
Unless she successfully manages this emotional and personal transition, she’ll be unable to be fully effective in her role. I have no doubt she will succeed, but many others don’t.