“Today is a new day. Time to put the plan to work. Generate the new way. Whoa, I hope it works!” ~ from the Crumbsuckers’ song ‘Rejuvenate’
A simple question: Is your career exactly where you want it to be? Are you consistently getting the results and outcomes you want?
If you can confidently answer ‘yes’, then carry on doing what you’re doing. If you gave any other answer, it’s probably time to change something. If you keep doing what you’re doing you will always keep getting what you’re getting.
It’s been said that there are three types of people:
1. Those who make things happen.
2. Those who watch things happen.
3. Those who ask, “Wh-wh-what happened?”
I used to think that those in the third category were just lazy, but lately I’ve come to realize that they are just not paying attention. They have hopes and dreams, can be hard working, well liked people, but continually get blindsided by life. They lack introspection and don’t understand why they never get promoted, why they get stuck in one bad relationship after another, why they just can’t seem to create the results they want despite all their good intentions. A quick example:
A friend was telling me about an employee at his company. This employee has been with the company for several years, is friendly and well-liked by customers and co-workers, and does a decent job. My friend was at an all-day training with him and he expressed a strong desire to get promoted into a front-line leadership role. He was also consistently late. He was ten minutes late to the training, late coming back from breaks, late and disruptive coming back from lunch. He had an apology and an excuse every time. My friend later found out that tardiness is a very consistent pattern for him. This person apparently sees no connection between his behavior and lack of career advancement. He’s asking, “What happened?”
I once had a co-worker who worked hard and did pretty good work, but never took the time to think ahead. He relied on his boss to do all the thinking. Work stopped whenever he encountered a roadblock and would not move forward until his boss solved the problem. He was really good at spotting problems and miserable poor at solving them. He enjoyed watching things happen. And his career stalled out accordingly.
Those in the first category are simplifiers. They look for solutions to make processes easier, they resolve issues, they fix stuff. They look for ways to move forward rather than finding reasons to stay stuck. When they are not sure of the best path, they bring several possible solutions to their boss with an understanding of the pros and cons of each. When they screw up (we all do) they fix it, learn from it, and keep moving forward. They don’t spend much time worrying about what they can do because they’re too focused on thinking about what they can do. These folks get stuff done and make the rest of us look stuck in slow motion by comparison. I love these people because they inspire me to raise my game.
So what category are you consistently in? Actually, forget I asked that. The real question is what category do you want to be in? If you’re happy with your results, stay where you are. If you want more, aim hard at being in the first category. The good news is that we’re not trapped in any category. As the song said, “Rejuvenation can still be found.” All it takes is you.