Promotions: Successful Past or Opportunistic Future

January 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

We all love to be promoted, verbally by friends, graphically in print, or professionally by a superior.  Promotions typically occur as a result of great past performance.  But is that the only reason?

I was recently invited to a regularly scheduled Black Belt class in the martial arts style I study called Sanchin-Ryu.  This invitation is NOT given regularly to non-black belts so I wanted to seize the opportunity.  At the end of our two-hour workout, I was called up to the front and presented with my promotion form to Black Belt.  You can imagine my elation.  But that is not the only emotion I was experiencing.

In any example of promotion, the emotions that most people experience are excitement, elation and pride to name a few.  These emotions are a result of the success from the past and are important.

It is normal to celebrate past accomplishments.  There are 5 reasons why you should focus more on the future.

  1. Continue Growing & Learning:  Promotion does not signify it is time to stop learning and improving.  It does not signal the end of the line.  In fact, the opposite is more accurate.  Promotions to great people motivate those people.  They want to do more.  They want to learn more.  They want grow more.  If someone stalls after their promotion, the promotion likely happened to the wrong person.
  2. New Future Opportunities:  After a promotion, interaction will likely be with different people in different ways.  This provides new opportunities that were not available before the promotion.  This is a priceless opportunity to help with #1.
  3. Others Are Looking Up To You:  If it hasn’t happened before, being promoted will make an impact on the journey of others that want to emulate your assent and learn from your wisdom.
  4. Leadership Opportunities:  Regardless if the promotion was to a management position or not, people want to learn from other successful people.  You are likely leading someone whether you realize it or not.
  5. New Perspective:  You are a new person entering into what is usually an existing position.  This “newness” provides you with a unique perspective you wont have forever.  Offer ideas for changes.  Ask questions about why something doesn’t make sense.  Offer praise for things that seem to be going really well.  You will never have this perspective again.

Spend time celebrating a promotion.  Be proud of the past and then quickly start focusing on the future.  What are some of the things you have reflected on after being promoted?  Leave a comment.  I would love to hear more perspectives.


I’ve Fallen and I CAN Get Up – Part 2

October 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

In our current political environment, I could easily write about the candidates that are falling. But I don’t think I want to go there right now.

About a month ago, I published Part 1 of this series. It was inspired by a Sanchin Ryu karate workout where we learned to fall. Falling is something that will likely happen if someone is attacked and forced to defend themselves. Since it is inevitable, we wanted to learn how to properly fall so we could make getting back up as quickly and easily as possible. But what if you cannot immediately get back up? What if you are surrounded by “bad guys”? You are on your stomach or your back. All of the “dark temple” stuff may not be effective. In our Sanchin Ryu class this week, we worked on going back to the basics in order to defend ourselves while we are on the ground. These simple, but devastating punches, elbows and kicks provide us with a plan to defend ourselves while on the ground.

Many times in our professional lives we fall and Part 1 of this series describes what we can do to lessen the blow. But what happens when we are on the ground from the fall? Many of us have been there. The stress is ultra high and we are at a low point. You don’t know how to deal with it. I can tell you from experience there is only one thing you should NOT do…that is nothing. Doing nothing never makes your situation better, whether you are in an altercation and forced to defend yourself or you are at your maximum stress level. And staying stressed out is not good either. When we fall, we must do SOMETHING to get ourselves back up on our feet.

I spoke with four separate people over the past week that have been stressed due to various reasons. With each, I encouraged them in different ways and always came to the same approach – go back to the basics. In one case, we talked in detail about the frustration. I asked him to identify the root cause of the frustration. After identifying it and talking through it, he now has a plan to deal with the root causes. His stress level almost immediately went down after developing his plan to deal with the issue and he was able to start picking himself up off the ground.

In another case I was talking to someone about the large personal debt load they had. It was lurking over their head and causing a lot of stress because it was a large number and they did not know what to do first. We talked about going back to the basics. I asked, what is the worst thing that could happen in this situation. The answer was they would have to sell some of their possessions to pay off the loan. Now they had a plan for the worst possible scenario. Anything else that happens will be easier to deal with. Immediately they felt better and were able start getting off the ground.

A plan leading to a solution is such an important step, it cannot be overemphasized. Once the plan is in place, you will immediately begin your assent to a better place.

Keep your eyes open. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

This post was inspired by Sensei Scott.

I’ve Fallen and I CAN Get Up – Part 1

September 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

We have all fallen before. We fell off our skateboards as kids and we have even fallen over the stray household item that was never put away. It is going to happen, right? It’s inevitable. In a Sanchin-Ryu karate workout, the Sensei had us work on falling. Strange huh? Many of us wondered why we would work on something like falling. As I said before and as Sensei reminded us: falling is inevitable.

If we get into an altercation, the chances are pretty good we are going to fall. If that is the case, we are better off if we shorten our fall. That is what we worked on. We shortened our fall by bending our knees. This simple reaction brings you closer to the ground so the fall is not as great and the impact is softened. This was the key to making the fall a little easier on all of us.

Thinking about my professional career, there have been many times where I have “fallen”. In fact, many of us have “fallen” at some point in our professional lives. In other words, we have made a mistake, screwed up or failed at a task.  You know what?  All of this, including failing, is OK.

Too often failing is considered taboo and as a consequence avoided at all costs. When we fail or make a mistake we learn something from it. That new nugget of knowledge, no matter how tiny or monumental, is what makes failing valuable and worth allowing to happen.

The most important part of failing is to “bend our knees” to shorten the fall. In other words, you need to realize that a mistake has been made and realize it quickly. It could be a new IT project that did not deliver the intended results or an idea on a new product that ended up being a bust. Realizing the failure allows you to learn what you need to learn and correct the mistake. Realizing it quickly, minimizes the impact of the mistake and allows for a fast correction.

Always remember, when you begin to stumble, bend your knees to shorten your fall.

Keep your eyes open. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Inspiration for this writing came from Sensei Scott.

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