Want to Make It? Then Believe You Will…Without a Doubt.

“Why not me?” That’s the nagging question we often ask ourselves after we fail to:

David Ferrer

  • Get that promotion
  • Receive recognition or reward for our contributions
  • Land the job we wanted

Whether we’re an individual contributor, supervisor, manager, or executive, there will always be some career goal that keeps eluding us. So what’s the answer?

Know how to compete.

“Making it” is about competing. You want to progress in your career, and so do most of the people working with you. That means those coworkers are also attempting to stand out and showcase their value.

Unlike in sports, we don’t find ourselves pitted against each other in a specific contest each day, but we are continuously being compared to one  another by our supervisors and managers.

They assess our:

  • knowledge, skills, and experience
  • desire, motivation, and reliability
  • work ethic and integrity
  • ability to collaborate, engage others, and lead
  • mental toughness and focus in the face of adversity

We  compete, every day, by demonstrating our ability to get desired results. The more significant our contributions, the more value the company will assign to us.

Sadly, this isn’t always enough to “make it” in our terms.

Believe you will.

You aren’t the only one putting together your portfolio of value attributes. Others are doing it too.

Remember: You are all performing as best you can, differentiating yourselves, building relationships, and getting ready for that next big step.

You increase your chances of making that step when you really believe you will.

We all tell ourselves that we want to, are ready to, are prepared to, have worked to, and are entitled to that step. But that’s not the same as believing we will…with no doubt, no second-guessing, no probably. We must believe we WILL.

David Ferrer is a Spanish professional tennis player, currently World No. 5 in the ATP Rankings. He turned professional in 2000 and is known as a clay-court specialist, although he has also had success on hard courts.

He routinely faces current tennis greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer who have amassed numerous championship titles. They routinely beat Ferrer and are almost always between him and a championship title.

The fact is that Ferrer has all the skills and desire to win:

Ferrer is noted for being one of the more dogged, agile and fit players on the tour… Ferrer has won many matches through consistent baseline play along with great fitness, footspeed and determination. Although he does not possess powerful  groundstrokes like many of his contemporaries, his ability to keep the ball deep in play has allowed him to be successful on all surfaces, especially on clay and hard courts… Roger Federer regards Ferrer as the best returner in the men’s game.

So what’s the obstacle for Ferrer?

While I was watching the 2012 Internazionali BNL d’Italia tournament where Ferrer faced Nadal in the semi-final, one of the TV commentators offered his opinion that, as good as Ferrer was, it appeared he simply didn’t believe he could beat his higher ranked rivals.

Who can say for sure if that’s true for Ferrer, but what about in your case?

Do you believe?

So we come to another question…one only you can answer. It takes something deep inside to get us to really believe we can achieve our personal career goals. That believing is a mental discipline that we form through:

  • Constructive feedback consistently internalized from people we trust and respect
  • Absorbing the confidence shown by others–our fans, our supporters, our friends/family
  • Committing to prove something to ourselves
  • Wanting to share success with those who are invested in us and/or for a  cause
  • Realizing that our time will come, so we must remain ready

There is no predicting when we will move from where we are to really believing in ourselves and our ability to secure our brass ring. We need to teach ourselves to deny self-doubt any place in our thinking and replace it with the belief that, through our continued hard work and diligence, we will make it. You gotta believe, okay?

Photo from beelde.com via Flickr

Going It Alone? Then Don’t Expect Much. | The Essential Career Support Team

Career success is a ladder, right? If we do our jobs well, take advantage of training, and follow the rules, we’ll get promoted again and again. 

So why doesn’t it work out that way? We see under-performing coworkers get ahead instead of us. We submit our best ideas and they don’t get implemented. We keep our noses to the grindstone but don’t get noticed. 

Get help. 

A job is one thing. A career is something else: It’s bigger. 

Careers are about progress, growth, and ever-expanding success. We build careers by moving from the bottom rungs to as high as we have the desire and courage to climb. We may each start on different rungs, but we’re all on the ladder. 

Our success is a function of our skills and abilities, our personal/professional style, relationships, vitality, and ability to navigate the political waters. This means we need to be acutely aware of each factor, weighing them before acting. 

The problem: Most of us don’t have full awareness or understanding of the implications and impacts of our next moves. 

The solution: Support from a team of experienced people who want you to succeed. 

Follow the winners 

Professional athletes, actors, and musicians set career paths for themselves with clear measures of success—on-field performance stats, movie ticket or album sales. Every day they’re making business decisions, expanding relationships, and improving their performance so they can rise. 

They’re just like us, only their platform is the public. Ours is our company and/or industry. 

But they’re also different from most of us because they realize they can’t become successful by themselves. They need a support team to help them, people who care about them and whose advice they will listen to even if the message stings. 

Individual sports like golf showcase what support teams mean to professional success. Take this year’s Masters Golf Tournament. Each golfer had a story about what it took to get there—a story of his support team, including several or all of the following: 

  • A caddy—who helped him navigate the course, validated club selection, and calmed his nerves
  • A swing coach—who helped him improve his game, prepare for the tournament, and gave him pointers between rounds
  • A sports psychologist—who helped him overcome self-doubt, stay in the moment, and manage his nerves
  • A nutritionist—who helped him eat well to maintain energy, lose or maintain weight, and deal with health issues
  • A strength coach—who helped him build the right muscle groups, stay flexible, and develop endurance
  • A publicist and/or administrator—who helped him handle the press, the off-course appearances, and tour schedule
  • Family and friends—who cheered for him, win or lose, and loved him in ways that kept him going 

As standout athletes climb their ladders, their support teams get larger. That’s what it takes to win. 

Who’s helping you? 

We need people around us who know what our career goals are and the kind of success we want. 

It’s not about who you can periodically call on for help. It’s about who’s consciously, continuously, and consistently committed to helping you. There’s a difference. 

It starts with family, friends and even your boss and/or a mentor. Explain as clearly as you can what kind of help you want and need from them.  

You may need an experienced career coach you can rely on, someone who has successfully mastered the kind of growth you’re after. This is someone who is objective about your strengths and weaknesses, your performance and drive, and able to help you overcome obstacles in ways that build you up. 

Then you need to invest in yourself by expanding your knowledge and practicing.Yes, practicing! You need to use your skills in situations that test you. 

Going it alone is not a winning career strategy. In fact it takes the joy out of the process. Helping hands turn our uncertain and arduous climb into an adventure where everyone shares in the outcome. Onward! 

Photo from ▲Bonard▼via Flickr