Have you ever found yourself silently wishing your boss could read your mind, magically recognising your readiness for the next career step? You consistently deliver an outstanding performance, and yet, it feels like everyone else around you is climbing the ladder while you remain stuck.
Imagine, for a moment, sharing your aspirations with your boss. Perhaps you're envisioning a response like, "I had no idea you were so ambitious!" or "I didn't realise you were interested in taking on that role." In reality, the answer might even be an enthusiastic, "Absolutely, go for it! Explore new horizons, try those acting roles, and seize the opportunities!"
These are typical responses that many people want to hear when they decide to take charge of their careers. The truth is, though, that people can't read your mind, no matter how hard we wish they could. Success in your career journey extends far beyond hard work and consistent performance.
Whether you're navigating the corporate world, showing up at a team sport day in and day out, or taking on more responsibilities in your community or at home, the common thread is clear: communication is the key to achieving your goals and dreams.
Don't assume that others will automatically provide you with the opportunities you crave. It's okay to ask for what you want, even if it feels a little daunting, culturally unconventional, or if past experiences have left you feeling apprehensive. The most significant fear, of course, is, 'What if they say no?' But here's the thing: if you never ask, they've already said no by default.
Consider a recent conversation I had with someone on my son's football team. These young athletes put in a solid six hours of training each week, all displaying a similar level of effort tailored to their respective abilities. In a team sport, some players openly express their desires, while others remain silent, assuming their performance should speak for itself. It's no surprise that the outspoken tend to grab more opportunities. Isn't it much the same at work?
I hear the pause from the coach to consider the child's straightforward question, "What can I do to earn an opportunity for advancement?" "I didn't realise you were so ambitious," the coach responds. The the opportunity is taken. This highlights the importance of having courage to ask for feedback, show them you're coachable, and being open about your aspirations.
A single sentence has the potential to reshape your leader's perception of you. "During your absence, could I step into your role?" or "What steps can I take to be considered for opportunities in the next six months?" or "I've been working diligently on project XXX, showing substantial growth in area XXX. I'd love to be considered for the next upcoming opportunity."
It takes a little courage to share openly what you desire, but the payoff can be phenomenal. You might just get exactly what you want, or even better, find yourself on a path to something greater than you could have imagined. And, if you don't get what you want, ask for feedback and be open to exploring what you can learn.
The next time you feel that yearning for progress or advancement, remember that your voice is your most potent tool. Don't be afraid to use it and see where it leads you. You have the power to shape your future, so let your aspirations be your guide. Embrace the courage to ask for what you want, and watch your dreams unfold before your eyes. Your journey is just beginning!