It’s easy to get stuck in your career. In fact, it happens to otherwise brilliant corporate leaders All. The. Time.
So, if you feel like you’re doing everything right but you’re still spinning your wheels, I want you to really reflect on this:
No matter how frustrated you are, no matter how hopeless you might be feeling right now, getting out of a career rut is still 100% in your control.
This is so important that I’m going to repeat it again: getting out of this career rut is 100% in YOUR control.
And one of the fastest ways to get out of your rut is to stay in a place of possibility.
Staying in possibility means to focus on gratitude instead of negativity. It means dreaming big on how far you can go in your career, valuing yourself, embracing your resilience, and opening yourself up so you can see all the possibilities in front of you.
In this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I will cover three practical strategies you can put to use TODAY to step into that next level of possibility.
What You'll Learn:
- Exactly what will happen to you and your career once you are able to stay in “possibility”
- How staying in a place of possibility will help you unlock next-level problem-solving skills
- The #1 reason why it’s not your fault that you haven’t been focusing on what’s possible (yet)
- Why you may be struggling to see the possibility right now (and how this shows up in your career)
- The most important questions you need to ask yourself if you want to enter (and stay) in a place of possibility.
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and happy Thanksgiving.
I hope that you're able to have a delightful, wonderful weekend with whatever family is available to you this year in 2020.
I'm actually recording this episode a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, and it's a little bit nerve wracking, I have to say. Because normally, even if you make a choice to not be with your family during Thanksgiving, it feels a little bit more like a choice and not something that is happening to you. And this year, I'll be spending Thanksgiving with my more immediate family, my little home bubble of my husband and my two children and not with my other family. And so it really has made me think about this idea. And I was having this conversation with my husband the other day, and I think it's quite useful to think about it. Is that what actually is a choice and what is something that is happening to you?
And oftentimes this comes up in my coaching a lot. But in terms of the holidays, I just kept saying: 'Oh, it's so unfortunate, and this and that. And I felt really bad inside. Like something was happening to me. Like I couldn't spend time with my family.
And he was saying: 'Well, we all have a choice. Because of course you can. You can choose to go. You can choose to spend time with them. And so you are actively making a choice even when it's to not do something.'.
And the interesting thing is, is when you have that freedom and you can sort of shift your mindset into this place, that it is an act of choice. And ultimately, what that choice is for me is safety. And health and well-being of my family and those around me. And so then it starts to feel less heavy, like it's the thing that is happening to you and actually feels like a choice that you're making.
And in all honesty, everything that we do in life is actually a choice. And so sometimes this is what I am coaching my clients on. So even if that choice doesn't feel good, like you're still feel disappointed, it is actually a choice. And the more that you can own your choices in life, the better it feels. It really does make that difference. And so, I just want to offer that to you guys at the top of this episode. So whatever choice or whatever is happening to you in your life right now, I just send you lots of love and peace and and Thanksgiving.
So speaking of Thanksgiving. A lot of times that this year you'll hear about gratitude. And I am a very grateful person. I actually have a daily practice where I write down three things that I'm grateful for in the morning, and usually they're always the same. And so it's just quite simple. I'm grateful for my husband. I'm grateful for my children. I'm grateful for my health. I'm grateful for my business. I'm grateful for my clients. I'm grateful for my job. Like whatever that is for you.
And it can seem a little bit redundant because you're just writing it down every single day and it's the same thing. But it really isn't. It's not redundant at all. It's actually extremely important for your mindset to remember what's actually working in your life.
So in the same sense of really understanding that you're making active choices and that you are in control, remembering what's actually working, it allows us when we're in that state of mind to really problem solve for the things that aren't actually working for us at whatever given moment in time.
So in today's episode, I'm going to talk to you about another step of what I think is the most important gratitude practice, and that is staying in the realm of possibility.
So today's episode is all about how do you stay in that place of possibility vs. these things are terrible and they're happening to me and it doesn't feel good.
And the reason why I say this staying in possibility is actually a gratitude practice is because the person who it affects the most is you. So sometimes when we think about a gratitude practice, we think that we have to go up to our spouse and we have to tell them how much we love them and tell them how much we appreciate them. When you stay in possibility, what you're doing is you're telling yourself how much you love yourself, how much you value yourself, how worthy you are and how much you appreciate your own resilience and your own ability to strive no matter what is happening for you in your career. So staying in that place of possibility is the single most important gratitude practice that you could have for yourself on a regular basis.
Now, one of my favorite things about coaching is coaching actually helps you stay in a place of possibility. So a lot of times when clients are resistant to signing up or hiring a coach, one of the first things that kind of comes up for them is it feels very self-absorbed. So if I'm telling you that staying in possibility is literally like for yourself, 100 percent for yourself. So hiring a coach is going to keep you in possibility, which feels very selfish, right?
It feels very much like it's about me and and what I'm going to get out of this. And my answer to that is: Heck to the Yeah. It is about you.
And we all know that if we take care of ourselves and we're better able to be there and be present for our family, but without actually going there, I just want you to understand that it feels good to take care of yourself and to really understand that you're making those choices and you are staying in a place of possibility.
So why does coaching actually help you stay in that place? So it's possible that you listen to this podcast and that helps you stay in possibility. Anything that inspires you and you feel inspired by that is because it is helping you stay in that place of possibility. And so when you're having one on one conversations with your own personal private coach who is helping remind you of what's actually working versus all of the things that aren't working, it's going to help you problem solve for the things that aren't working. So we're not ignoring the things in our life that aren't working, but we're going to be able to better problem solve for them when we think that there's hope. When we think that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
A colleague of mine, Katherine Morrison, recently posted on her Instagram. She has amazing Instagram stories, by the way, if you want to follow her at Katherine Morrison coaching. And she recently posted this idea of delusion. And so sometimes when people are thinking about their future in a positive way, it's referred to as their delusional. So when you're thinking about possibility, about your job, that you could actually get promoted into a senior executive leadership position even though your company is not hiring. In fact, they're laying people off right now that can feel delusional. And she was saying that the definition of delusional is that you see the future in a way that's not actually true. So that it's the opposite of how you're seeing it. So that means that you're delusional.
And so let's look at it the opposite way, which is that that it's not going to happen for me. This is not the right place. All of those ideas. Equally delusional because we don't know. We don't know what's going to happen in the future. We have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow, today, whatever. And if anything, 2020 has taught us that, that we literally have no idea about what's going to happen in the future.
And so, what we do at this point is we have a choice. We have a choice that we can make. We can stay in possibility that I can figure this out, that I can be resilient, that I can come out ahead, or we can stay in the other side of things, which is that negativity which says that it's not working. And I can't figure this out and I'm not resilient and I might as well give up or whatever. Switch tracks because I just don't know. So you have that choice, and coaching reminds you that you have that choice. This podcast is here to remind you that no matter what is happening at your organization, if you have a bad boss, if you have been there for 20 years, and you're pigeonholed as a subject matter expert and you'll never be able to get into a higher level leadership position, at least it feels that way. No matter if you have a tarnished reputation and people see you in a very specific way and you can't seem to break out of it. Whatever is happening for you, it is possible for you to get out of that rut and to make decisions accordingly for your future self. It's 100% within your control. And honestly, I think it's the only way that you're going to be able to problem solve for whatever challenges that you face in your life is to stay in that place of possibility.
Now, I first want you to recognize that it's not your fault that you are in the opposite of possibility. That that you look at the facts. And here is the number one reason why it's not your fault. It's totally what got you here won't get you there.
So think about it. What got you to this particular level of success in your career? Perhaps it was your education, something that you learned in school. Perhaps it was your area of expertise, something that you you went really deep dive into, and you just really understand it through and through. Perhaps it was your ability to build and influence relationships around you. So people liked you. You're really good at leading a team.
So whatever it is that got you here is not actually going to get you to that next level of leadership. I talk about that. It's it's also probably very evident to you that you are trying to do the same things over and over again and it's just not working. So you have to kind of break out of that mold.
But the reason why I say it's not your fault is because if you're a very analytically-minded person, then you're going to look at your life very literally. So you're going to say: 'OK, if I do certain things, I will be rewarded. If I work hard, I will be rewarded.' And this is the way your life has been basically laid out on a platter for you your entire life. Basically since school or at least since college and then most of your working life for the first 20 years is that you got rewarded for your hard work. The smartest person in the room, knowledge wise, got rewarded.
Now, when we're talking about senior executive leadership, it requires a certain level of ingenuity. It requires wisdom. It's a different level of thinking. It's like working even smarter. Not smarter as in: 'I have all of the information.' But smarter intuitively. That I'm able to see things. That I understand not only how to build relationships, but how to influence other people.
So if you've never actually experienced that next level where you're able to really influence other people at your organization. If you have never experienced that voice at the table where you purposefully choose the words that you're about to say at the table, and then everybody takes notice. If you've never experienced planning for a meeting and getting everything lined up that you're going to say walking into that meeting, not saying any of it because everybody else in the room says it first. If you have never experienced that type of magic, it can feel very confusing. It can feel really outside of yourself and it can feel like it's not possible for you.
So it makes sense that you feel this way, that you feel frustrated, that you don't see the possibility. That you think: 'Oh, well. I need to leave my organization in order to be happy. I need to leave my department or my boss in order to have a certain level of success.'.
Now let me point out that all of that stuff might be true. That you may very well need to leave your boss. You may very well need to leave your organization. I am not saying that you have to stay there and fix whatever is happening at your company. What I'm saying is that you have to investigate what is happening in your particular situation right now so that you can figure out the possibilities in your current situation. And now we still apply elsewhere, but we're applying from a higher level of confidence. We're applying from a choice, not from the place that this didn't work out or this happened to me or I just had this struggle in my life.
But no, I choose to leave this relationship because I want to make a bigger impact on the world or on my organization. Or I want to make sure that I'm able to do this in this in this in the world.
So what are the ways that we're actually going to stay in possibility? So right now I'm going to give you three practical strategies that you can begin to do right away. Actual possibility practices that you can put into place so that you can continue to stay in that next level of possibility.
So the first thing that I want you to do is whenever you're looking at any challenge that you're facing, I want you to actually ask yourself this question: 'What does that also mean?'.
For example: let's say that you have a very unsupportive boss. So this can feel like an impossible challenge, because if you can't get your boss on your side, it makes it very difficult to get yourself promoted. It also makes your day to day life very challenging because you're not getting the projects that you want to get. And it just feels like this constant push-pull relationship with your boss. So that feels like the challenge. That feels like an impossible challenge and rightfully so. It is a challenge. Like I'm not denying the challenge. How are we going to stay in possibility?
So when I say: 'Ask yourself the question, what does this also mean?' I want you to ask yourself: 'What does this also mean?'.
So if my boss doesn't support me, what is also mean? Could be that I need to get other people on my side. Like as in my boss's boss or other members of the leadership team or perhaps the CEO. Because if you could get any one of those people on your side and to really begin to advocate for you, it may or may not matter what your boss actually thinks about your performance or your ability to get promoted to that next level.
So that's a way that you can start to stay in possibility. Because now you can actually tackle that challenge, which is how do I get the support of my boss's boss in a way that feels very possible. It's very doable. It feels like a challenge in a good way.
So that's the first example about how you're going to stay in possibility, is to ask yourself what does this challenge also mean?
The next thing you're going to do is ask yourself: how have I overcome a similar challenge in the past? So when we're thinking about our challenges, they feel new. They feel fresh, they feel like something we can't actually tackle. And so the first thing that you're going to ask yourself is: 'When did I overcome a challenge?' So it may not be a similar challenge, but you can start to look at some other time in your life where you had a difficult person, a relationship with a difficult person, and then you were able to overcome it in some other way. Either that person shifted their belief about you or you were able to just sidestep them all together and it didn't even matter what they thought. And then what ends up happening is that person comes around and ends up being on your side in the end.
And so you look at that particular challenge that you faced in the past that may or may not have anything to do with what you're currently facing, and you ask yourself: 'How did I overcome that challenge? What actually happened to me in that particular situation and how did I survive? How did I come out on the ahead on the other side?'
And then look at that situation and ask yourself: 'How is that similar to what I'm doing now?' And maybe the only similarity is that you were resourceful, right? Maybe the only similarity is that you stayed in possibility. You focused on what you could control versus what you couldn't control. And one of the really neat things, this is actually a psychology practice of looking back at similar times in your life and really asking yourself what worked in that time? Because it shows us proof that it's possible to happen again. So staying in possibility and staying out of this idea that we're being delusional, we need to show ourselves proof that we've survived this in the past, that it is actually possible to survive it again. And so when we have past proof in our life, then we can say: 'Oh, well, I did it before. So it's not the exact same challenge, but I certainly overcame something before.' And so then you can apply that to how you're going to overcome it in the future. And it helps your brain believe, it helps you believe that it's actually possible.
And the third possibility practice that I'll give you today is what will I think, feel and believe when I am achieving that goal. So, for instance, if you get your senior vice president or your boss's boss on your side and then all of a sudden your boss completely turns around and is your biggest fan, which happens, this totally happens that your boss ends up being your biggest fan because it was just a little bit of a communication error. Gap somewhere along the line, it's quite possible. What will I begin to think, feel and believe about myself when that actually happens? So let's say all of this works out really well. You have support of leadership. Your boss is now on board with you. How do you treat yourself? What is the level of confidence that you feel in that moment when you have actually succeeded? Right. When you actually do know the answers that people support you. When you are getting the recognition that you deserve, how will you think, feel and believe what you believe is possible in that moment? And when you do that as a possibility practice, then I want you to ask yourself: 'How can I begin to do that now?'.
So if you have a certain level of confidence, you just have this relationship with your boss's boss, if you just have this relationship with your boss's boss, the question becomes: 'How can I create that relationship with my boss's boss now?' What would I need to believe now about myself and my abilities to actually go out and get that relationship and make that work for me right now?
So that's the question that you're going to ask yourself is": 'What will I do? What will I think, feel and believe when I have achieved my goal, and how can I do parts of that now?
So these three possibility practices, these questions that you can begin to ask yourself are essentially coaching yourself to stay in that area of possibility. And as I talked about at the beginning of this episode, it is this the biggest self-care thing that you can do for yourself right now is to take care of yourself and actually stay in possibility because anything less than possibility is adding stress, is adding anxiety, is adding frustration, and is certainly not getting to your goals.
So the time is now. The time is now for you to take control of your career, take ownership, stay in possibility and figure out what you need to do to get yourself to that senior executive leadership position.
Thank you guys so much for listening. And I'll see you next week.
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.