Don't Miss Opportunities Because Growth and Change Are Awkward

April 8, 2021

It seems that I’m not as flexible as I thought. My boss says I need to change my ways. It looks like growing my career means changing my old habits because paying my dues is no longer cutting it.

I like to think I’m a flexible person who is willing to change my mind or actions if I get good data that I need to. Turns out, not so much. I was recently told, in no uncertain terms, that I just can’t let go. I can’t let go of an issue even if it is settled. I can’t move beyond old comfort zones that I hold dear. I can’t stop talking about old team members who were so wonderful (as opposed to the new ones who are meh).

It seems that I’m not as flexible as I thought. My boss says I need to change my ways. No threat was issued…yet. I decided to talk with a trusted colleague to get their perspective. They definitely confirmed my bad habits and said something that knocked me upside the head.

“Micah, you seem stuck in the past. You speak in the past tense; your vision is in the rear-view mirror. You seem to have trouble being in the present or looking into the future.”

After more helpful conversations and some self-reflection, I got to the root of the matter. I’m scared and anxious about moving forward. It takes me awhile to get comfortable with new tasks and issues. Just as I feel competent, I have to jump to the next thing. That’s hard for me so I cling to what I know.

Okay, problem identified. The rest is a work in progress. I’m having to stare down my discomfort with the unknown and make the leap anyway. This is not my happy place, but I need to keep my job. After all, it beats the alternative.

Growth and change are exciting for some and awkward for others. Developing strategies and tools can ease the discomfort and lead to proficiency. We have coached many people who come to welcome learning new habits. Let us know if we can help you.

What Does it Mean these Days to “Pay Your Dues”?

There was a time when putting in enough years, developing your expertise and praying for a slot to open up pretty much guaranteed your promotion. Those days are so yesterday. But what are the new criteria for moving up? I want to know what I need to do to get to the next level.

It all seems so random. The new shiny object gets hired and they quickly ascend. Or someone pushes and shoves to the head of the line and the executives think that shows drive. Or there is some talent development initiative that places people into higher positions because they are reshaping the leadership ranks. Or the company wants to feature innovation, so someone is plucked from iLab to run a chunk of the business. All these moves leave the patient ones shit out of luck. I don’t want to be one of those losers.

So, I’ve figured out that “paying dues” is no longer what has value. Developing expertise, gaining deep and broad experience? Absolutely. Seeing around the next curve to start creating solutions and products early? Yes. Collaboration, flexibility, leadership abilities? For sure. Paying dues is passive and banks on tenure. If I expect to be tapped because I’ve been here awhile (sic. institutional knowledge) then I, too, will be shit out of luck.

These days, I’m spending more time anticipating the future landscape and developing the skills and relationships I need to keep growing. I’m hoping that will get me that promotion I have my eye on.

If you need help with your development, please contact us to inquire how we can assist you.