Welcome back to another episode of Maximize your Career. I am your host, Stacy Mayer. I am a leadership coach for managers who want to get promoted into leadership positions OR who want to be stronger leaders for their team and ultimately make a bigger impact at their organization.
That is what this podcast is all about and I am so grateful to have you here.
Since I launched I have been walking you through my step-by-step promotion process. This is the exact process I use with all of my clients and they are getting real results -
More job satisfaction
Recognition for their efforts
A seat at the table
Just by following these steps. So if you haven’t had a chance to listen you can binge listen after this one.
Episode 2 - How to stop doing what you are good at
Episode 3 - Become a walking billboard for your desires
And Episode 5 - How to build your own personal board of directors
And today’s episode is the final piece to the puzzle - Attracting opportunities.
It sounds great, right? Almost too good to be true. And yet you see it happen all the time.
Think about that manager you know who just keeps getting promoted for seemingly no reason. Or at least you can’t figure out why. They don’t produce great results. Their team complains about them but yet somehow they get promoted and you don’t. Why is that?
One reason. They are better at attracting opportunities than you. So while you had your head down, working all hours of the night they had stopped doing what they were good at, they were a walking billboard for their desires and they have their own personal board of directors.
Now I wish I had the actual statistics on this but there are a LOT of shitty managers out there. And I don’t do the work I do to get more crappy managers into leadership positions. My mission is to bring those stellar high performers who otherwise make amazing leaders but just lack the plan necessary to get the promotion they deserve.
So to get you thinking about how to begin attracting your own opportunities, I want to do a little exercise with you.
Think about someone at work or in a leadership position that you really admire. They could be your best boss or someone that you barely know but either way, I want you to think about what attracts you to them:
Is it the way they carry themselves?
Is it the way they handle tough situations?
Is it the way they bring out the best in you?
Just name one or two things. Really think about it for a minute.
I offer free leadership style assessments a few times per year. And on this assessment I give you a quick snapshot of what make you great as a leader and I help you define your exact leadership style. Remember once you can define it for your self, it make it a lot easier to share it with others.
This is an assessment that I created. I really wanted to give you language so that you could comfortably start advocating for yourself. If you are not already, make sure you get on my email list so you don’t miss the next time these are offered. stacymayer.com/email
But one of the questions I ask on this assessment is for you to describe to me your best boss. I ask each of those questions I just asked you:
What did you most admire about them?
How did they behave, especially in difficult situations?
What were their leadership traits?
Here are a few of the answers I received:
Strong relationship building skills
Supported and groomed team members
Gave me free reign to run with projects
Connected with the vision
Advocated for me
Didn’t shy away from conflict
Gave me the tools to succeed
Understood the big picture
I could go on and on. But all of these qualities made this leader attractive. And you can use them too - to make YOURSELF attractive.
But before I go into more of the steps to make yourself more attractive. I want to debunk a common myth.
You might look at the word attraction and think that it is something that just happens to you. Like you either have it or you don’t. This is what you are doing when you are jealously looking at that coworker who is seemingly effortlessly rising through the ranks while you get left behind.
What if instead of being jealous, because jealousy is a useless emotion. It literally serves no purpose, you asked yourself what are they doing that is different than me? Exactly how are they attracting all of these opportunities? And instead of recreating the wheel, you decide to do the same?
So how do you begin attracting opportunities to yourself? Well I spelled it out in detail in the past few podcast episodes but I am going to go one step deeper now and tell you WHY each of these steps works so well.
So in episode #2 I talked about how to let go of doing what you are good at. Essentially what got you here won’t get you there. To move from management into leadership you need to learn, cultivate and exhibit leadership skills and not just rely on your expertise to get ahead.
But how does this actually lead to attracting opportunities? Because it instills trust. And when you trust someone - that person becomes attractive. Your boss as well as the leadership team needs to TRUST that you can do the job at a higher level. They need to know that you can think strategically for the organization. And they only way you can do that is to get yourself out of the weeds. You need to add actual value to conversations, to see things others don’t see, to point out possible solutions to a problem that seems unfixable. It is almost impossible to put out fires and think strategically at the same time.
I just realized that this episode is coming out a week before Valentine's day and this talk about attractiveness has got me thinking about my husband. One of the things that I found so attractive about my husband when we were first dating was ability to articulate the problem so clearly in one simple sentence.
Let me explain what I mean. We met at a meditation center and every week we would attend dharma talks. You would sit around a circle and the teacher would share a piece of text and we would discuss it. My husband is a man of few words but when he spoke, people would listen. I found that incredibly attractive.
I thought it was just his personality, that it was just something he was good at and I wasn’t. But it turns out, it was actually a skill, a skill that he paid UC Berkeley A LOT of money to learn and get a Phd in. He learned how to think strategically, how to look at bigger, longer view and how to speak to the route of the problem.
What if YOU could get a phd in strategic thinking? Can you imagine how attractive you would be, especially as a leader? Nobody wants to hear about all the day to day tasks that you are working on - they want your ideas. And you have to got to get out of the weeds to get there.
In episode 3 I talked about becoming a walking billboard for your desires. Now the reason you are not already going around telling everyone you meet about your professional development goals is because you believe it is unattractive. You see people toot their own horn and it makes you want to throw up, so you don’t do it. With that attitude, I am glad you aren’t going around telling people what you want all of the time. Because chances are it will or maybe it has already backfired.
So how do you do this attractively? Think of someone that you know who really knows what they wants out of life, they just grab life by the horns. They have a greater mission beyond self. They truly care about the organization AND it shows. Now that is attractive! That is what leaders need to see if order to offer you a promotion. They need to see that you understand the needs of the organization and truly have a desire to get there. That you have a passion, mission and values that drive everything you do. And if you aren’t willing to tell a few people, how do you think you are going to get there?
And episode 5 is all about building that personal board of directors. Being willing to ask for support is incredibly attractive. Having the confidence to speak to others and truly respect and take their advice is attractive. Surrounding yourself with powerful people, makes you feel attractive. We are all the product of the people you surround yourself with. So ask yourself, am I surrounding myself with exceptional leaders or I am just getting by on my own?
Now let’s say you do each of these steps and you start to notice a shift. You start to see yourself actually attracting opportunities. People start asking YOU what you want to do next with your career. People ask you if you want to move to their team, to be their successor or to stand in for them at the next leadership meeting. The fun doesn’t stop there.
Now that you are attracting opportunities, your work becomes a little different. Now you have to do these two very important things - you have to be open and be ready.
As I have mentioned on this podcast before, sometimes we get so focused on the circumstances of our situation, we can’t see the possibilities that lie before us. That is called being open. I know without a doubt when I work with a client, within six months I can get them a promotion. I don’t know if that will be in their same department, at the same company or even in the same field but that is because I am open to the possibilities for them. I am not fixated on the current situation like they are - I am not thinking about how their boss doesn’t like them or they only offer promotions 1 time per year or how many times they have been rejected in the past. I am open. And you have to be that way too. You never know where the next opportunity is going to come your way, so make sure you are open.
And the next piece is be ready. Most people think right place right time is something that happens to you. It is just a matter of luck. But right place/right time is actually created. You do the work now to think strategically, share your desires and get support and opportunities WILL start to present themself. You just have to be ready to say yes!!!
Wouldn’t that be awesome. To feel like you had choices. To be the receiver instead of the giver all the time.
It is pretty awesome. And guess what, it is totally possible!
So get out there and start attracting opportunities today. I look forward to talking with you again next week!