I’m guessing you want others to think of you as a leader. Very few of us want to wallow in nameless obscurity forever, and I haven’t yet run across anyone on Twitter who describes him or herself as a ‘thought follower’. If you’re reading this then there’s a good chance that you’re young, hungry, and certain that your talents are being underutilized. And I know how frustrating that can be; I too yearn for the day when the world recognizes my genius and builds statues of me, but so far the closest I’ve gotten is a caricature artist who gave me a free drawing of myself.
I digress. The point is, you want to move forward. No problem. Here is exactly what you have to do:
Step 1 – State Your Intentions Clearly To Those Who Can Help You
You cannot assume that people know what your career goals are, anymore than your husband or wife will simply assume that you love them if you stop saying so.
Step 2 – Work Hard At Whatever Job You’re Given
This is true even if you don’t like everything about the job. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do in order to get where we want to be. Athletes don’t always like practicing, but that’s how they get to the game.
Step 3 – Repeat Step 2
I know you hate me right now, but I’m OK with that.
Step 4 – Find Additional Assignments
Am I seriously asking you work even more? Sort of. I’m asking you to sign up for conferences, ask your colleagues what books to read, organize a Friday night social event – whatever you care to do that indicates you’re thinking beyond your current job role. These things can be fun, I promise.
Step 5 – Wait Longer Than You Think You Should
Very few of us advance at the rate that we know we should. For this reason it might help you to stop staring at all those so-called ‘overnight millionaires’ the news likes to talk about. Most of them spent years doing whatever it is that made them successful, but those years tend not to get much attention.
Step 6 – Repeat Step 1
As soon as you’ve proven yourself, you’ll get your opportunity.
If you want it and you’ve worked for it, advancement will come. Just try to enjoy the process along the way. Or you can drive yourself crazy with waiting. Whatever floats your boat.