Through my one-on-one executive coaching and business strategy coaching, I have worked with over one hundred professionals. Through this work, I have found that there are three things that typically hold professionals back – and these may be the three things that are holding you back from your next step in your professional journey.
Whether that’s 100% ready to ask for a promotion, or maybe you’re looking for a new position, a new opportunity; you’re reading the job description and you believe that in order to go for it, you have to have 100% of those items check-marked. This belief of being 100% ready is one of the strongest issues that holds people back. You do not need to be absolutely ready. In fact, people look for those that are not already at that level. They’re looking for people who are going to be excited about new opportunities and new challenges; it’ll keep you excited in this new role, or the next step in your journey.
In other cases, you can’t be 100% ready until you get to the next part. It’s the experience in that next step that provides you with this feeling of being ready. So ditch that belief that you have to be 100% ready before taking the next step, which takes me to number two.
That is false. It’s actually the microscopic, tiny, small actions; the small steps moving forward, that compounded over time create the big change. The big leap can happen, I’m not denying that it can. But oftentimes, when we take the big leap, it’s taking us in one direction, and that may not actually be the direction that you want to go in. So all of a sudden, you’ve taken this big leap and you found yourself in a place that you don’t even want to be. Instead, by taking the small steps, the small actions, you may see, “Okay, this is the direction I want to go in. But now that I’ve done three things, I’ve taken three small steps, I’m realizing, oh, I want to maybe take a slight right. A little bit of a change in direction.”
Those small steps allow you to be more nimble, more flexible, be able to adapt if that direction you were believing you wanted to head into turned out not to be the right place. So those small steps allow you to be flexible, and that compound over time is what is going to create the big change. So it’s not about the big leap, and hopefully that helps some of the fear – because we often get frozen because we’re thinking only about this big leap. And so you become paralyzed; you don’t do anything, because you think it’s this or nothing. When in fact it doesn’t need to be this, it could be the small steps.
You’re sitting there waiting for potentially a promotion, waiting for another person to leave for that position to be open. You’re waiting for your manager to approach you with an opportunity. You’re waiting for someone to create a change, a department, a project, a position. Stop waiting for someone else! You are responsible for your future, you create your own destiny. So if you’re interested in something, start by having a conversation, start letting your manager, your peers, or somebody in your organization or in your personal and professional life know that you have some sort of vision.
And look, I’m going to challenge you to think bigger than just, “I want to move into this next position, or I want to move into this department, or I want to take this step.” I’m challenging you to have conversations about big picture – what you really love doing. Then, in those conversations, people will start to create that for you. There are people out there within your organization or within your network that will have ways to help you get to where you want to go, that you don’t even realize. So stop waiting for other people, start having the conversations. You take initiative, you take those first small steps, and don’t wait to be 100% ready to do so!