Have you been feeling as if you aren’t exactly where you deserve to be in your career right now?
Well perhaps one of the reasons for your lack of career satisfaction is because you have been coasting in your career by being an average professional. Now, this isn’t particularly a bad thing because being average while still employed means that you’re performing at a good enough level that satisfies your employer.
However, if you have a strong desire to realize your big career goals and dreams, you will have to rise above being average. The first step in becoming extraordinary is relinquishing the “I’m only going to do just enough to survive” mindset and replacing it with a “I’m going to go over and beyond to stand out” mindset so that the likelihood of you moving from being just a team player to the company’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) will greatly increase.
Similar to world-class MVP status professional athletes such as LeBron James and Serena Williams, as a business professional you have to stretch yourself beyond your limits for optimal career growth and success.
In a recent Harvard Business School publication, “Career Advancement Without Experience,” the concept of “stretchwork” was emphasized. Harvard assistant professor Siobhan O’Mahony and University of California, Davis assistant professor Beth Bechky maintains that stretchwork will help you gain a new level of skills and exposure for your career. To this point, whether you are an inexperienced or more seasoned professional, you must continue to stretch yourself for ongoing career development and satisfaction.
Here are three ways you can take advantage of and create stretchwork opportunities within your organization to gain MVP status and maximize your career growth.
Take on a hard project or assignment. Tackling difficult projects at work can help you boost your skill set and confidence if you produce a successful outcome. In fact, even if you don’t fully succeed with the project after giving it your all, keep in mind that this is stretchwork. Therefore, the primary objectives are for you to learn and grow from the task. Before you start the assignment you should figure out exactly what you want to acquire from the experience. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask one of your mentors or a competent peer professional for support and guidance while you take on this difficult feat.
Produce more by wearing multiple hats. Particularly with our country’s unprecedented Baby Boomer retirement trend, many organizations have personnel gaps and deficiencies. Consequently, companies are looking for employees who are ready and willing to step up and play various roles within the company. When you go beyond the call of duty by wearing multiple hats, you will increase your knowledge about the company and you will also be in a position where you can add more value. Demonstrating such skill versatility will be a win for you and it will also be a win for your company too.
Resolve a conflict. Every organization has its own set of problems and drama that it deals with. Actually, oftentimes a lot of it is shielded from lay employees by management. But if you know of a situation that’s loaded with conflict, let your supervisor know that you are interested in assisting to resolve this issue. Even if you are unaware of any problems or conflicts in your office, inform your boss of your desire to help them solve any type of work related conflict for them. You may be asked to work on the problem alone or as a team/committee member. If you show your boss that you can clean up a mess within your work environment with good conflict resolution skills, you will build a strong reputation for being a “problem solver.”
Stretching yourself by taking these boss move actions will help you become more visible to your company’s management. Overtime you will be recognized as a “go to person” and will be on your way to becoming your company’s Most Valuable Player. This esteemed status will be your gateway to new opportunities and as well as promotions!
Antoine Moss, Ph.D., (@2PositiveTweets) is a nationally recognized resource on internships, early career achievement, leadership and motivation. CEO and founder of CEO Style Consulting L.L.C., Moss empowers professionals and organizations to reach their full potential, and serves as speaker, workshop instructor and consultant. The author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, Moss has been a featured expert on outlets including Fox 8 TV News and George Fraser’s 2011 Power Networking Conference.