Nothing beats a good streak. Things fall into place with ease. Good stuff gets done. Our
confidence rises. Our skills deliver. Optimism soars. We’re on a roll.
You know what they say about streaks? They’re made to be broken. Few teams win all their games and few, if any of us, win every round as our careers unfold.
The first time we get knocked down, we dig deep and get back up, ready to try again. Get knocked down again or, even worse, get knocked out, and our knees become jelly. Our down times get longer.
That’s when someone in your corner becomes a difference maker.
No going it alone
Mentors, career coaches, and trainers wouldn’t be important to career development if navigating the ups and downs of successful careers were effectively achieved solo.
There are some who think that using these resources (and your boss if you have a growth-oriented one) is a sign of weakness, insecurity, and neediness. Au contraire!
Taking advantage of the wisdom, perspectives, and knowledge of others is precisely how you build your own capabilities, know-how, savvy, and self-management.
Career growth is a function of momentum–your ability to keep maturing on the job, building your value, and expanding the scope of your responsibilities. The biggest momentum killers are self-doubt, loss of courage, and exhausted motivation.
The remedy in large part is encouragement. You need someone you respect and trust to help you see, understand, and reignite the success characteristics you have demonstrated in the past and need to build on for the future.
Country music star, Brad Paisley, wrote in his book, Diary of a Player:
My hero Little Jimmy Dickens [a diminutive, Grand Ole Opry star of old] has a saying, and this is, “If you see a turtle on a fence post, it had help getting up there.”
A leg up, someone in your corner, the voice of wisdom, and a helping hand are essentials to a lasting career. Momentum is a byproduct of encouragement.
This time the E is for encouragement, not electronic. We often forget how powerful the right words at the right time can be.
We all need encouragement and we also need to give it freely. What goes around comes around. Encouragement takes so little and means so much.
Encouragement takes many forms. These five demonstrate the potential impact inherent in E-power:
- Re-instill self-belief–”This presentation, Joe, is no more difficult than others that you’ve given with great success.”
- Motivate effort– “It’s time to dig down and get this project done, Allison. I know you can do it and so do you. The results really matter.”
- Add meaning– “By accepting this tough assignment, Bob, you’ve told management that you’re willing to put yourself out there for the good of the company. It may feel scary but you will succeed.”
- Reduce anxiety–“Everyone who wants to do a good job worries about falling short when the stakes are high, Maureen. You have the right skills, strong personal commitment, and a good team around you. Just give it your best shot and draw on the resources around you.”
- Defuse aloneness–”I know you feel like you’re bearing the weight of this project alone, Janet, but you’re not. I’m here and so are the others invested in the results. Let’s meet at least once a week over lunch to talk.”
Encouragement is the great eraser. It removes the blots and blurs that cloud our ability to overcome times of uncertainly. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Ask and you shall receive.
When you feel uncertain about your choices, performance effectiveness, on-the-job relationships, skills and knowledge, job opportunities, and assignments, reach out.
Your need for encouragement won’t always be obvious, so let the right people know when you’re feeling wobbly .
Others have been in your shoes and they will want to help by sharing their experiences and insights, anything to give you a needed lift..
The more we help each other, the more we increase our collective momentum. And then everyone soars.