Written by Katy Goshtasbi
Posted on: December 4, 2018
When I was working my way up and through the corporate ladder as a securities lawyer, there was always talk about “strategies to move up” and what to do to “win”. Frankly, everyone had something different to say and none of it fit every person well. There didn’t seem to be any one tip for getting your foot in the door when moving up the corporate ladder.
As my career advanced in Washington DC, I used to get lots of questions about how I “got that new gig” or “that new client”. I used to take people to lunch and tell them what I was doing. Little did I know, I was giving branding advice on the run back then!
I had no real “plan”, per se. I was just following my gut and doing my best to do the right thing- for me and for others. Often, I was unsure if what I was doing was the “right” thing to do. I got nervous and felt uneasy. But the one thing that kept me going was my sense of right and wrong in life.
Nowadays, I work with clients and organizations all the time where the goal is to have the client move up the ranks or to have a particular division be more influential. As time has gone by, I can say I do see a pattern for moving up- no matter where you are on the corporate ladder.
1. There Is No Ladder – When we look at it as climbing the ladder it puts us in a very difficult mentality. What do you think of when you envision climbing a ladder? When I do so, I feel a bit uneasy and unstable and even fear possibly falling off. Doesn’t feel too good, right? So, stop and consider, maybe you should look at it as gliding across the ocean in a boat or skating across an ice rink- whatever makes it feel easier and do-able for you.
2. Listen to Yourself – Taking advice from too many people is not always worthwhile. When you take in too many viewpoints, you tend to confuse yourself. So, listen to others’ experiences and stories. Then step back and adapt everything for yourself. No one knows better than you – that includes reading blog posts like mine!
3. Reduce your Stress – My formal research has proven that as your stress goes up, your self-confidence has gone down. If you don’t believe in yourself and show it, then no one else is going to buy “you” and promote you. End of story. There are so many tools to reduce your stress. Don’t look at it as “fluff” or “mushy”. In a very real way, that’s all there is to your success. Trust me on this one.
4. Have Fun – My dad once told me that if I got up one morning and didn’t like what I was doing for a living, I should change careers. So, I listened to him and never regretted my choice (thanks, dad!). The point is if you are not having fun in business, you are not being a contribution at your ultimate capacity. We can all see it.
5. Are You of Service? – Marianne Williamson says in her New York Times bestseller, “A Return to Love”, that every day our goals at work should be to wake up and be of service. The money will then follow. I totally believe this mentality. It can’t fail. However, often as we are trying to climb the ladder, we lose sight of our real goal. Our work must be a reflection of our greater life purpose and what we are bringing to others by way of service. Clients and superiors can sense our genuine purpose and motive. They respond in kind. Plus, if you are in service you feel good and are having fun (see #4 above).
These tips may sound simple, and it’s not always so easy to implement. There is no magic formula, but the above five tips are golden rules, I’ve found.
Email me and tell me what works for you. Good luck. You’ve got this – I’m your fan!
If you want more support, please download this guide.