MYTH: My job security is determined by other people deciding my value; after all, someone else will decide to hire, pay and promote me.
If you place your economic survival in others’ hands you will forever be in a position of weakness and vulnerability—leaving you feeling afraid. While you may not go to work everyday feeling the need to hide under your desk, a general sense of fear or unease will keep you from fully expressing yourself and hold you back from working with vigor because you never know how others will respond. By living this myth, you have entered a vicious cycle that keeps you from being your best because you are afraid for your job security. By doing this, you are robbing your employer of their most valuable asset: you. And if I were stealing from my employer, I would be afraid too!
TRUTH: Job security actually comes from knowing your own value, that is the economic benefit you provide to your organization by bringing your best self to the table.
The Leadership Choice:Getting out of the cycle of fear is as easy as making the Leadership Choice. Once fully understanding and bringing your unique talents and skills to your organization your worth is not only affirmed to them, you are affirming everyday to yourself. Owning your own value is a gift only you can give yourself—and one, no one can ever take away from you.
Remember the old adage: “Your raise is effective when you are.” Everyone has something valuable to offer to the world and you can’t offer it if you don’t understand what it is and you don’t communicate it to others—in word and deed.
Begin by asking yourself:
Who am I?
What are my talents, strengths and abilities?
What do I love to do?
What makes me unique?
As you become conscious of what you have to offer and its value, you will naturally find new opportunities to express yourself. As you begin expressing your leadership potential by exercising your unique talents, you become a greater asset to your organization. As others notice your renewed enthusiasm for your work and the contribution you are making, their appreciation and need for your talents will grow.
As you look for the opportunity inherent within change, remember that leaders solve problems before others even know they exist. Assimilating these two ideas is the key to ensuring you will always have satisfying and successful work in your life.
There is great opportunity in changing work environments. As you become clear about your talents and skills and what you want to do with them, you may decide that where you are in your current work isn’t the best fit for you. You can be the one who creates another opportunity to put your skills to good use—it may be a transfer to a new area within your current organization, doing the same job in a different organization or perhaps leaving the type of work you are doing altogether. Whatever it is you chose to do, the key is that you are now deciding what is best for you.
Making the Leadership Choice to clearly exercise your unique skills at work helps you solve problems before othersare aware of them. Organizational leaders need and want productive employees and teams. Productive individuals, who are passionate about the contribution they are making, inspire those around them to make greater contributions. Your leadership initiative will help to create a more productive workplace and set the tone that your organization is a place where meaningful work is done. By living the Leadership Choice, if there is ever any question about downsizing or layoffs within your organization there will be no question about your boss’ desire to keep you on board.
Having led in numerous organizations during the past 20 years, I can assure you that a fully contributing team member who exhibits excellent leadership skills will be retained, supported and promoted far beyond someone who is simply showing up and putting in their time. Which brings us full circle—leaving the fear and dependence on others for your survival, to trusting and relying on yourself to create what you want for your life. By taking the first steps in acknowledging your power and making the Leadership Choice you have put yourself on the path to greater happiness, success and satisfaction in your work and life.
Great stuff! I use similar advice when counseling students on preparing for their careers. I tell them to focus on their profession and not their job because jobs are transient but who you are professionally is what you take with you to every new job.