By Darcy Eikenberg, ACC
Author, Bring Your Superpowers to Work: Your Guide to More Clarity, Confidence & Control
A client recently said to me, “I’d love to stay at this company, but I don’t see how I can grow unless my boss leaves. It’s sad, but really, I have no control.”
I looked at her, aghast. Here was a smart, successful professional whose outward appearance would never hint that she felt she had no control over something as important as her career growth. And somehow, she had no idea of how much control she actually had.
Do you know someone like that? Or, are you someone like that? If so, you’re not alone. Increasingly in our new world of work, we’ve let ourselves believe that we can take control “when,” as in:
“ . . . when this project wraps up . . .”
“ . . . when we get a new department head . . .”
“ . . . when the economy gets better . . .”
Yes, as John Mayer sings, we keep waiting on the world to change. And we wait. And wait.
But you don’t have to. You can take control of your career right now by knowing the three elements you can always control. Add them all together, and they make a huge difference in your career, in your work, and in your life.
1. You Can Control What You Think
As the saying goes, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” So’s a mindset. Your mindset is your view on the world, your beliefs, your mental DVD’s that get played over and over again.
Your mindset is also 100% chosen by you, whether you realize it or not. Yes, you may struggle with beliefs that you’ve had for years, taught by your parents or our communities. But as we grow up, we can make the choice to accept those thoughts—or replace them with new ones that work better for us.
You take control when you decide what to think, adopting the mindset that reflects the person you want to be—one who has your unique superpowers and who brings them to her work and her world. Once you’re in control of your thoughts, no one can take them away from you. They’re yours for life.
2. You Can Control What You Say
Too often we’re silent on issues that are important to us—and that silence is interpreted as acceptance. Once your thoughts are in order, it’s time to bring them into the world with your words.
Where can you speak up instead of pipe down? Say kind things rather than criticize? Or ask tough questions rather than wonder? It’s amazing how much clarity we can find quickly at work when we ask instead of guess.
It’s true that when you’re in the mode of speaking your mind, you may say something uncomfortable or even hurtful. But you already know the words to say then—“I’m sorry.” Don’t let your fear of saying the wrong things stop you from taking control of what you do say. The risk of not saying anything is far greater.
3. You Can Control What You Do
If you saw a lost child in the road, would you wait until someone gave you permission to move her to safety? Probably not. But when you see someone lost at work (or a project that’s lost its way) are you waiting for someone to tell you it’s okay to help?
My bet is you know what to do. You know how you can help; how you can make the situations in front of you better right now. No matter what your role, when you’re taking control of the things that matter, you become a leader. Good leaders don’t wait to be told; they see pain and do what they can to bring healing. They see the broken and use their gifts as the glue.
It’s time to become the leader you were meant to be. Take control of your career by controlling what you think, say, and do, and start making a bigger difference for your work, your workplace, and maybe even your world.
Darcy Eikenberg, ACC, is the author of Bring Your Superpowers to Work: YourGuide to More Clarity, Confidence & Control, and a popular workplace coach and speaker. You can download a free chapter of her book, get her twice-monthly Community News, and access more free tips and tools on Darcy’s career and success site RedCapeRevolution.com.