The key to getting ahead is doing more. More than is expected. More than you think you can do. More than you think you should do. Pushing at boundaries to make your job bigger, and yourself bigger as you grow into the expanding role.
Waiting to be asked or simply working only to the letter of your job description is wasting your time. You can make bigger contributions, starting today. And you should. For selfish reasons, if none other.
You deserve to be recognized for the good work that you do, and for the great work that you’re capable of. It would be wonderful if people could see your full potential and tap into it for more and more things. There’s so much more you could contribute. Stuff that they need. Stuff that’s valuable to the organization. Stuff that would make a real difference. It’s their loss for not asking.
But it’s also your loss. For each time you stretch, you grow. Stretching to contribute more and in different ways is one of the best growth opportunities you have. You’ll always learn more about yourself by going places where there is no map, where there is no clear direction, where you need to figure things out for yourself. And you’ll learn things that can’t be taught. Wisdom that comes from experience, and it makes you better at lots of things going forward.
You already have permission
Nobody is going to be upset if you start doing more good stuff. If you figure out how to do parts of your job more efficiently so that you can devote time to helping others and to contributing more ideas. You can start in small ways. Doing little things. Improving the quality of some things you already do. Looking for and doing new things that you think will be helpful. Offering a perspective or opinion for someone to consider. Asking for a perspective or opinion from someone else about something you’re working on, so that you can do it better.
Then, think bigger. To continue expanding, you need to know more. More about your co-workers, your team, your department, your division, your enterprise, the industry, and more. Again, start small and work diligently. Over time you will gain perspective. And understanding. And insight.
Use the insight to fuel new ideas, and then try them out. Or at least discuss them with others. Offer up suggestions, theories, opinions. Try to push some forward. Some will work, some won’t. But each exchange is an opportunity to learn. Then, you can try more, or new approaches, or new pathways. Experiment, and learn more.
If you keep pushing the boundaries, if you keep trying small things, If you keep iterating, you will improve. You will grow. You’ll make bigger contributions. Your job will become bigger. Your influence will become bigger. Your success will become bigger.
Photo credit: Chiot’s Run