It seems almost laughable now, but when I first started out in my career almost 2 decades ago, I was a staunch advocate of the viewpoint “My work will speak for itself, I do not need to promote my ability, after all, I am doing my job well and management must be aware of this fact – My promotion is in the bag.”
However, all I was demonstrating to management was that I was capable, my colleagues, on the other hand, displayed exceptional ability by proactively seeking opportunities to stretch themselves, move out of their safe havens (i.e. comfort zones) for management to recognise their full potential.
I began to observe and talk to colleagues that were being promoted and learnt very fast that I needed to stretch myself. I needed to move out of my comfort zone, take on new tasks and continuously take steps to learn, develop, grow and ultimately transform from a capable employee to one with exceptional ability. And so my journey of transformation began.
This journey from being a capable employee to an individual with exceptional abilities is a step by step process to developing yourself and identifying opportunities for personal growth in the workplace. Having a robust self-development plan is great, so long as it is balanced with a good dose of realism. One step alone will not take you to your destination, continuous, focused steps will, however, lead to progress.
So when you look at your job, what do you see?
Your role and responsibilities as stated in your job description – right?
It is all too easy to view your role solely through the one-dimensional lens of “defined role & responsibility” (i.e. what you need to do) and whilst you are focusing on the one-dimensional view, you may be missing out on golden opportunities simply because you are not using the “opportunity to learn” lens.
It is often these opportunities that enable you to stand out from your peers, sticking to what you do is fine if you want to stay where you are, but if you want to progress it is for you demonstrate both your desire and clear potential to step up to the next level.
Doing your job well, merely demonstrates that you are capable which in today’s competitive market is mandatory, hence there are no prizes awarded for doing your job. If you want to stand out, you need to show that you are exceptional.
So how do you achieve this?
Look for those golden opportunities that will push you outside of your comfort zone, where you will need to stretch yourself in order to achieve desired outcomes and when this happens, growth & development occur. As you take steps to learn new skills, grow and develop, a further positive domino effect is the recognisable growth in self-confidence, leading to others having confidence in you. Stretching yourself will then become your normalised development pattern.
Reflecting on my intrapreneur career, I firmly identify the various opportunities I sought out in differing roles coupled with the tangible benefits reaped. Not all opportunities will be handed to you on a plate, you need to search and take them – be a proactive opportunity digger!
Here is a visual representation of the opportunities I sought and the benefits reaped, by way of gaining, enhancing and utilising hard and soft skills – both of which enabled me to continuously progress – One step at a time.