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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

Why You Can’t Confuse Movement With Progress

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

Have you ever seen a hamster on a wheel? They run so fast it looks like they're going to take off, but despite all that frantic running, they don't actually get anywhere. Work can feel like that sometimes. We put so much energy into advancing our careers, doing the work, keeping our heads down, and then we look up one day and realize we've been running in place this whole time. Sound like you?

Confusing movement with progress is easy to do, but if you want to get that next-level promotion, you have to push past this. Here's how.

Do the Extra Effort

My company is called The Extra Effort for a reason. Going above and beyond is essential to stop running in place and start going places, but I don't just mean pulling long hours. When I talk about the extra effort, I mean taking the time to make personal connections, improve yourself, and show up as a leader for your team. That sometimes requires a little elbow grease, but more often than not it requires internal effort and taking steps to delight your team members and boss. Really nail that presentation, send thank you notes, go above and beyond. People will notice.

Look in the Mirror

The deep work is not about doing your job better, it's often about looking at yourself. Going above and beyond requires you to go beyond yourself, and you simply can't do that if you're stuck in the past and not analyzing your behavior. Think about a past project that went well.

Think about a past project that went poorly. Really sit with those recollections and honestly ask yourself what you need to improve on, and what you're good at. Are there personal issues impacting your work? Start with you, and watch how you progress.

Address Your Gaps

Now, on a more practical note, there may be a box you need to check that's holding you back. This one is in some ways the easiest route, because if there's a certification you need or a degree you need to start (or finish), you know exactly what you need to do to keep going. If you're not sure, ask your manager! What do they need from you? Is there something you're missing? You won't know unless you ask.

Get Out of a Toxic Situation

My last step is a cautionary one. If your work situation is toxic and destructive, then no amount of personal or professional growth can fix it. If you're facing harassment in the office or a manager who is abusive, get out of there. Nothing you can do to improve yourself will help if you're dealing with a shark in the water.

If you want personal guidance for your specific situation, let's connect. I want to help you identify why you might be stuck, so click here to put a one-on-one with me on your calendar.

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