Have you ever felt stuck in your career?
I was recently talking with a client and she told me, “There is just no room for improvement in my present career.” She felt handcuffed by her situation.
I asked her, “So there isn’t a creative way you could improve your situation?”
She paused. “Ah, um, well…” She trailed off. “I could do a better job of playing politics,” she said unconvincingly.
“Is that what you want to do?” I asked.
“Um, no,” she said.
“Ok, so you have one option. What other options do you have?”
“I could see if I could switch departments,” she said with a little more enthusiasm.
“Good! What else?” I asked.
Once she started listing all the ways she could improve her career I could feel her energy level picking up. She rattled off 5 different ideas in less than 30 seconds.
She realized that she had options she never thought about. This empowered her.
You have options too! You have to dig a little to figure out what options you have and how you can use them to create more leverage in your career.
Most people feel stuck at their job because they don’t have enough leverage to do the kind of work that matters to them.
I’m going to give you a process to use with your boss that will help you take advantage of resources that you never knew you had and develop more leverage. This will take a little planning and action, but when done right can help you unlock your superpowers and advance your career.
8 Steps to Unlock Your Superpowers
Let's walk step-by-step through them all.
1. Ask your boss/supervisor: what is my greatest superpower?
Actions that excite you, get you in the work zone and you are passionate about. If s/he isn’t sure how to answer this then ask her/him what they think your greatest strength is.
I want you to do this because it engages your boss and makes them think about what you are good at. By letting your boss talk about you in this positive way you can start to plant a little seed inside her/his mind.
Here is a short sample script: (Adjust to fit your boss’s personality)
“I’ve been thinking about how I could improve my job performance and I could use your help. You’ve seen strengths that I’ve been able to leverage and some strengths I haven’t. I’m curious to your thoughts… What do you think is my greatest superpower?”
Then give a genuine smile, a second to let this soak in and wait and see what s/he says.
2. Think about what type of actions you do at work or could do that fit this superpower.
Once your boss explains what s/he thinks is your greatest superpower then it’s your turn to do a little work. What type of projects do you already do at work that align with this superpower? Also what projects could you do that would align with this superpower?
Make a list of 5 projects that you’ve worked on or could work on that fit with your superpower:
Mull these projects over and think about which one brought you the most joy or could bring you the most joy. The thing is, you won’t know whether a project will bring you joy until you take action.
You’ll have to be aware of your “negative inner voice” (I also like to call this my internal arch nemesis) and make sure that it doesn’t encourage procrastination. The key right now is to take small steps and keep moving forward.
3. Decide on a project that you could do at work that you would really care about.
Look at the above list of projects that excite you and pick one that you could do at work in the next few weeks. You won’t need to complete the project. All you will need is a little data that shows that your hard work is paying off.
“48% of workers who are able to leverage personal interests in the workplace state they are very satisfied. Comparatively, only 7% of those who are not able to do so state they are very satisfied.” – Study conducted by Philips Global
When you are able to use your superpowers at work it’s much easier to keep moving forward even when you hit a roadblock.
4. What do you need to complete this project?
Think of everything that you need to complete the project. How much time/money do you expect that you need? How long do you think the project will take? What other resources do you need?
If this project only requires your time and not additional money then you will probably have a better chance of executing your plan.
By laying everything out that you need, you can answer any objections that your “negative inner voice” might have to stop you from starting.
5. Put a plan together that explains the benefits to the company.
Now lay out a plan that breaks down your work, hour by hour, so you can easily motivate yourself to take action. The simpler your plan is the easier it will be to start. For example, if you want to start up a new way to reach customers on Facebook… what will this look like?
Step 1: Research the best way to engage people on Facebook and turn them into leads for the company. What has worked well for other business owners? If you’ve executed a similar campaign take into account what worked well for you in the past. ( 1-2 hours)
Step 2: Write out the best course of action. (1-2 hours)
Step 3: Explain the results that you should be able to achieve. (2-3 hours)
The most time should be spent on this last step. You’ll need to explain why this project will benefit the company and create a compelling argument, answering all possible objections so that “no” is not an option.
6. Start executing the plan or put together a detailed plan that your boss can’t turn down.
There are two options you have before you begin:
1. You can start working on this idea right away and start generating results.
2. You can create an airtight plan that your boss can’t turn down.
I would suggest trying number one first because it’s easier to say no to an idea that hasn’t been started yet. Of course I wouldn’t suggest doing this during a super busy time for your company or department. The idea would be to do this project during a slower time, so it doesn’t interfere with your present results.
If your plan requires additional funds then I would choose the second option, creating an airtight plan.
You know your company and boss better than me, so please take the best course of action that will allow you to succeed as well as benefit the company.
7. Track Your Results
Once you are able to put some time and energy into this project then track your results. If you start to execute your idea on engaging more people on Facebook and turning them into leads then look at the before and after results. These stats will help prove that your idea is a good one.
If it didn’t work as expected then adjust your plan until you can see more positive results that show your boss that this is the type of project you want to continue in the future.
8. Have a good idea of how you want to use this project as leverage to do another similar project.
Using these steps to create more leverage at work is important, but the key is to also work on projects that are more engaging and fun for you. As the positive results pour in, think about how you could use this as leverage to work on a project that also takes advantage of your superpowers.
As you build your resume at work, your co-workers and your boss will see your willingness to take action. This hard work will help you create leverage in your career.
Putting it all together
The only way you will unlock your superpowers and advance your career is by taking action. This means small steps. If you don’t break your project down into manageable chunks then you’ll probably procrastinate.
You don’t want to let fear dictate your choices.
You want your positive results to lead you to take action and in turn give you the leverage you need to make the type of impact you envisioned for yourself when you started your career.
When you have more leverage, you will have more control over what your day looks like. You are creating the freedom you need to be happier at work.
What do you think your superpower is and how could you use this as leverage at work? (Let us know in the comment section.)
Watch the live video we shot based off of this content: