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