There’s loads of advice out there about how to get a promotion at work. Professionals who tend to rise in their careers typically share certain habits: they own their responsibility, network with the right people, lead with vulnerability, and advocate for team members and themselves.
However, what if you can’t seem to find time or space to do any of these things? Millions of people are running on a nonstop hamster wheel, managing emergencies from 8am to 5pm (or longer). They’re indispensable problem solvers, but they never see promotions. Do you ever tell yourself that you’ve been pigeon-holed into a job with no hope for upward movement?
What the common advice doesn’t tell us is how to build those essential habits and become attractive candidates for promotion. We’re here today to tell you about an effective strategy that changes everything. It’s simply the pause button.
How to Get a Promotion at Work with the Pause Button
Power lies in choice. However, the vast majority of dedicated workers perceive a lack of choice in their everyday work experience. They “must respond” to this email, or “have to” go to that meeting. Rather than operating from a place of power, our workforce is spinning in circles just trying to stay alive. The cycle seems powerless.
When was the last time you told yourself to stop?
That is, when did you last make a conscious choice to connect with your breath instead of your brain, despite your work surroundings? When did you last tell your mental record player, “Stop!” in order to come into the present and reconnect with your body of wisdom?
To materialize anything of value, you must connect with your body. Your body holds wisdom in our material, earthly world. When you take a moment to notice what’s going on in your body, you become empowered to shift from a reactive to proactive state. You can also experience this as shifting from a contracted to an expansive state. For example, you probably know what it feels like in your body to “walk on eggshells” versus standing at the edge of an expansive beach. Our body is a vital navigational tool.
This type of shift is often a missing component to owning more power in your career. The common misconception about getting a promotion at work advises us to boldly step into our power and take charge. However, without a connection to your deeper belief in yourself, success can be elusive and out of reach. To rise in your career, you must be driven by a connection to your vision and determination.
There is great power in internally deciding to pause. In other words, make an appointment with yourself, for yourself. Take a moment to pause and breathe. Ask yourself if your current stories are contributing to what you really want. In doing so, you become an advocate for your dreams and goals. You will deepen your relationship with the spirit that’s seeking to emerge through your body of wisdom.
Why We Don’t Know How to Pause
If you’re not regularly hitting the pause button, please don’t beat yourself up. It’s common to believe that getting a promotion is all about how you lean in to the tasks, meetings, and conversations that other people request. This is no fault of your own. We adopt behaviors based on old trauma. For instance:
- Perhaps you were reprimanded at school for not paying attention. You felt shame while your schoolmates taunted you about it. Now as an adult, you anxiously write down notes at every meeting and never take a moment to pause.
- Maybe a parent dismissed you as lazy in comparison to a very active sibling. You felt sad and responded by working extra hard. You now try to prove yourself in the workplace by never taking a day off, even when you really need it.
- Perhaps someone chided you for being an “over-achiever” or a “show-off” in the past. You felt angry and shameful about being singled out. Now at work, you keep your head down and get all your tasks done. You watch others get promoted around you. Meanwhile, your career stagnates.
Many of us go, go, go – never taking time to understand what’s really driving our behavior. In this cycle, hitting the pause button seems impossible because we can’t fathom doing things any other way. Ironically, these habits sap us of our power. While we intend to prove ourselves with our actions, in reality we are hurting ourselves and our careers.
One of the ways to go from powerless to prosperous is to connect with the messages that you hold about your worth, value, and abilities. Maybe in a time long ago, there was too much risk to thrive in any of these areas. When you’re holding on to that energy, it’s difficult to move forward and be open to new possibilities.
However, we’re far more powerful than we give ourselves permission to be. When we pause to stop and examine our habits, the mere act of examination affords an opportunity for the message to change.
How to Get Started
Are you having difficulty finding the courage to hit the pause button? Does your inner skeptic tell you that this is not the way to get a promotion at work? Here are some ideas and encouragement to get you started:
- Get up from your chair and physically stretch out. How long have you been sitting at your desk today? Get up and walk around, taking deep breaths. New ideas will come to you. These fresh ideas are the reflection of a leader – the kind of leader who’s learning how to get a promotion at work.
- Today, invite yourself to do something that’s good for you as a professional. Do this even if it feels uncomfortable (ex: you sense a knot in your stomach). Maybe there’s a task that’s been on your to-do list for a long time. For example, you want to connect with a mentor or read a book to improve a skill. You haven’t been able to get to it because you’re always stuck fire-fighting. Take 1 hour to hit the pause button on all the other issues and just work on that one thing. Chances are, you’ll have a skip in your step afterward, or you’ll sense more relaxation. This action instills confidence that you’re disciplined and committed to your professional growth.
- Instead of responding immediately to an email, hit your internal pause button. Step away from your desk and ask yourself, “Is it absolutely necessary to respond right away?” What’s at risk if you don’t respond? Are you worried you’ll seem lazy, unresponsive or lacking knowledge if you don’t pipe up? Consider the alternatives: whose development and problem-solving skills might you be stunting by sending such quick responses?
Self care is a powerful way to grow your leadership, but it’s not all about Netflix binges and naps. Self care is also self discipline. When you force yourself to hit the pause button, you are giving yourself mental, emotional, spiritual, and professional discipline to focus on what’s important. You refuse to respond to each little thing that comes your way. That’s because you know it’s a trap. Instead, you direct your authentic energy powerfully and intentionally. If you really want to know how to get a promotion, this discipline is the place to begin.
Unraveling habits to create new ones takes time and skill. Going from, “I haven’t taken care of myself in years,” to, “I’m going to do this 30 minutes a day, every day,” will typically result in failure. Fewer than 10% of us are the kind of self starters who can do this on our own. If you really want to change the message in a big way, get a coach who will help you examine and challenge your beliefs. A high-quality supporter will be able to help you to connect with what’s really true for you and help you see a higher version of yourself. This type of work is one of our specialties at Engaging Breakthroughs.
If you’re ready to explore ways to become a better leader, create a high-performing team, or how to make money doing what you love, schedule a complimentary video call to learn how our coaching programs can empower you! We provide solutions that prepare professionals to move from empty jobs into careers that fulfill their purpose. To get started, schedule a complimentary consultation via Zoom.
In this 30-60 minute online breakthrough coaching session, I will help you get crystal clear on where you are right now and where you want to be. I’ll give you my best professional recommendations to help you take your first steps toward your success breakthrough.
Written by Monttein Alonso
At Engaging Breakthroughs, Craig Tennant and Monttein Alonso deliver