Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley
There is probably not a day in America when at least a million employees wonder “When am I going to get promoted?” or “I am so upset that they promoted him and not me?”
On that very same day there are hundreds of managers or employers who, when confronted about offering a promotion would say, “If you want to get promoted, do something and I will promote you,” or, when confronted about a promotion they made would say, “You are simply not ready to be promoted.”
These workplace sentiments happen because employees tend to look only at opportunity, and employers tend to look only at preparedness. The reality of life is that the greatest explosion can only occur when opportunity meets preparedness.
The fact is, millions of employees would get promoted before their counterparts if they were better prepared before an opportunity occurred.
Imagine for a moment how fired up I would be if the Seattle Seahawks suddenly needed a middle linebacker after a serious injury to their All-Pro and 3-time Pro-Bowl Samoan Middle Linebacker Lofa Tatupu. Imagine that Mike Holmgren, the Seahawk coach who will retire after the season and wants desperately to get to and win another Super Bowl on his way out, calls for an open tryout nationally.
Hundreds of wannabe professional football players would show up for the tryout. All of them would have played high school or college football. Some would be very big. Some would be very fast. A very few would be able to take the pounding that you would receive fighting off 300-pound-plus nasty offensive linemen. Even less would be great open field tacklers. A scant 1 or 2 might be able to cover a tight end or slot receiver.
Exactly none of them would have all or enough of the skills to compete effectively in the National Football League or they would already be there. In short, they would not be prepared to take advantage of a great opportunity to succeed in the NFL.
This is an extreme example, but an example nonetheless, of how too often opportunity does not meet preparedness when offered.
So how does one get prepared to meet opportunity in the workplace? The obvious answer is acquire more education and/or training. If you do not have a college degree in an academic discipline, do whatever it takes to get one. If you do not have specialized or professional training in a certain task, get involved in a technical training course at a vocational school.
Make yourself more marketable to be hired at a higher level task, or to be promoted to a higher level task.
Believe it or not, as difficult as it may be for you to acquire more education or training, it will be far easier than accomplishing the second route to getting prepared to meet opportunity head on when it arrives. That will require personal growth.
Personal growth is 100 times more difficult to achieve than professional growth because it requires that you not only learn or become aware of new information, but forces you to willingly change your thought process and belief system. People CAN change but most choose not to.
You will rise higher faster by achieving more personal growth than professional growth.
If you do not believe me, that is your business, but you might want to ask yourself this question:
If it only takes professional growth to get on in life, why is it that there are so many people with college degrees, professional training, smarts and talent that are not promoted, and are also prejudiced, intolerant, judgmental, self-centered, self-absorbed and sometimes even nasty?