You’ll Move Up the Ladder When…
You know when you have the kind of conversation that leaves you glowing afterward? When you’re talking with someone and the thoughts and ideas are flowing so effortlessly that you wish you had written them down, but you were too engaged to even think about it at the time. And when the conversation ends you’re left uplifted. Somehow better. Affirmed and happy and grateful. I had a conversation like that yesterday with an OnStage participant-turned-friend, and I’m still feeling excited about it. I’m excited because he so “gets it”. He doesn’t need me anymore (not sure that he ever did, but I’m glad to have had a cameo in his life). He’s out there focused on getting busy with what he’s up to in the world and it’s inspiring.
So much in life and success comes down to focus. How we focus our attention changes the game. It changes how we feel and experience any given situation, it changes the way we show-up in our world, and it changes the results we get. We go to work, pay attention to what seems to move people up-the-ladder and what doesn’t, and learn from books and bosses and classes and hundreds of Linkedin Influencers about the ins-and-outs of what to do to get where we want. “Moving-up-the-ladder” = good. “Not-moving-up” = bad. We want good. We focus all our attention on the ladder.
We focus on org-charts and where we fit in. We jockey for position. We put in our time and our energy and feel entitled to that next logical rung. We feel slighted when it doesn’t happen. We grow stale and resentful. We’ve done everything we were told to do and we’re still not getting where we want to be. Why? Why?! It doesn’t feel fair.
But here’s the thing, the books and the bosses and the classes and the Influencer posts have left out the secret. Not intentionally. They want you to succeed and they’re telling you what they know to be true, but they’ve left out the key to what it makes it all really work. Probably because most of us are fumbling around in the dark for the key in the first place and they can’t share it with you if they haven’t found it themselves. And that is…
What propels someone up the ladder, is not the ladder. It’s not following a formula or doing what you’re told. What propels someone up the ladder is that they’re not thinking of the ladder at all. They’re thinking about the impact that they want to have. They’re getting busy doing what they’re up to in the world. And they’re so passionate about it, that they’re hungry to learn everything they can. And grow themselves to be better, and better, and better – taking focused action around the impact they want to have. Testing it. Course-correcting. Improving their aim, and their strategy, and their ability to hit the target and thus their results.
What gets them noticed is that they’re fully engaged in what they’re up to. They don’t have to be told what to do, or how to do it, because they’re already 15 steps ahead. Their actions aren’t tied to performance plans, they’re tied to purpose. The goals and metrics are solely a tool for them to measure if they’re having an impact, not the engine for motivation. Because they own the engine. It’s in them.
And the good news is, like my friend has discovered, we all have access to this. You don’t have to wait for someone to give it to you, to be part of some secret club, or until you’ve reached a certain level in your career to get the key – it’s in you. It has been all along. You just need to excavate and activate. Your Super Objective – your purpose – the impact you want to have outside yourself – what drives you. Your engine.
You want to move up the ladder? Stop focusing on the ladder and and start focusing getting busy with what you’re up to in the world – making an impact.
This post was inspired by and is dedicated to my very wise friend who is out there making an impact – you know who you are.