The Mid-Career GPS Podcast

187: How to Self-Advocate for Your Career Growth

September 26, 2023 John Neral Season 3
The Mid-Career GPS Podcast
187: How to Self-Advocate for Your Career Growth
Show Notes Transcript

Ever thought about how to leverage your unique professional value to get that promotion or high-level seat at the table? Well, this episode is your guide to bridging that gap. I'll share three powerful strategies to help you advocate for your career path authentically and successfully. This isn't about being a braggart or throwing colleagues under the bus, it's about genuinely communicating your worth to any organization.

This conversation focuses on how to understand and communicate your value in the most effective way. We also delve into the power of strategic networking and how it's a key player in gaining visibility and powerful feedback. We round up with practical methods to document your achievements, articulate your value in meetings, and how to actively seek feedback that will advance your career. Remember, advocating for your career isn't an annual performance appraisal activity. It's an ongoing process. So, are you ready to own your career growth journey? Tune in and let's navigate this path together.

Support the show

Thank you for listening to The Mid-Career GPS Podcast.
Please leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts here.

Visit to download your free "Mid-Career Job Seekers Checklist." Plus, check out other leadership and career resources at

Connect with John on LinkedIn here.
Follow John on Instagram & Threads @johnneralcoaching.
Subscribe to John's YouTube Channel here.

Speaker 1:

When you think about advancing your career, you may have already decided that you don't want to brag about yourself, don't want to throw anyone under the bus, you don't want to be obnoxious. Get all of that Honestly. I commend you for not being a total insert favorite word here but there is a way to tell your story and advocate for yourself in your career more genuinely and authentically. In this episode, I will show you how to do that by giving you three tips to navigate towards that promotion or help you earn that seat at the table. Let's get started. Hello, my friends, this is episode 187 of the Mid-Career GPS Podcast. I'm your host, john Narrell. I help mid-career professionals who feel stuck, undervalued and underutilized show up to find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four-step formula. If you've enjoyed the podcast, I'd be grateful if you would tell three friends about it and share why you like it and what you learn. My podcast grows because of people like you and I sincerely thank you for your support. If you're new to the podcast, welcome. Thanks so much for being here. Just for being here. I want to offer you something of tremendous value that's free to help you on your mid-career journey. I've got a free guide. It is called Five Mistakes Mid-Career Professionals Make a Need to Stop Doing. You can learn more about that guide and get it on my website, johnnarrellcom, or check the show notes. When you visit my website, make sure to check out the Resources tab for other additional career and leadership information as you think about a new job or position or want to position yourself strategically for that next advancement opportunity. I want to offer a way to do this without feeling as if you're being salesy, sleazy or bragging about your accomplishments. Many heart-centered career professionals struggle with this and there is an opportunity for you to advocate for yourself and your career without doing any of those things that are going to make you feel and I'm going to use a real technical term here super icky. So here are three things you can consider when advocating for your career, whether you're talking to your supervisor, you're interviewing for that job or you're in that final round interview with the hiring manager. Number one understand your value. In previous episodes specifically episode 93, which is called Stop Pitching and I'll link up to that in the show notes I talk about knowing what I call your unique professional value and creating a statement and being able to communicate that. Your value are your contributions that you bring to an organization that is of need in some way, shape or form. You might be exceptional when it comes to technical expertise or in managing people. Whatever that value is, you must know it, you must own it and you must find a way to leverage it. And that's important when you're understanding your value and communicating that, especially when you are being considered for a promotion. Remember it's not about you. This is about how your skills, your abilities, your competencies are going to help that organization move further. So what I want you to consider here is what unique value do you bring to your organization? Take some time to write out as many specific accomplishments or achievements and where they've contributed to your team or your company's success. And if you're in a people management role, like I was previously before I started my coaching practice, those can be some pretty hard metrics to define. You often think of well, I've kept talent here and I don't really know how to equate that. Look at your retention numbers. Look at where you've been able to bring new people into the organization and retain them. How much of your workforce has been there from zero to two, two to five and more than five years. Your value as a people leader is unquestionable. When you are able to keep talent engaged, thriving and happy, that is of tremendous value. So find your value, know what it is and make sure you know how to communicate it. The second strategy I want to offer you is around networking, but here I want you to network very strategically. When we think of networking as an opportunity to establish and nurture relationships, who are you doing that with? Who inside of your organization, be it colleagues, mentors or leaders, are you actively connecting with and finding opportunities to learn from them as well? Networking gives you visibility. It's an opportunity to receive incredible feedback and uncover potential opportunities for advancement, as well as learning what might be holding you back from getting that promotion or moving up to that next level. When it comes to mentorship, it's a great thing within an organization if it is offered, but if it is not, there are ways to find mentors outside of your organization. You want to pick a mentor who has walked a similar career path or one you aspire to and there's somebody who can guide and support your career journey to whatever is going to be next. They'll offer insights, they'll help you navigate office politics and advise you how to position yourself for promotions because of their knowledge of that organizational or industry culture. That's something to consider there as well. Networking strategically is a way for you to open up and build those relationships. Lastly, I need to go back to the first one. While you can understand your value, you must know how to communicate it. How many times have you sat there and thought your work was going to speak for itself, only to be disappointed, frustrated and angry that someone else got a promotion before you because they were louder? The squeaky wheel got the grease, so to speak, and it leaves you feeling very disjointed in some way because, yes, your work should speak for itself, but it's not always how this quote-unquote game is played. So when you think about communicating your value, here's what I want you to remember Document your achievements. Take some time each week or, at the latest, each month, to record your accomplishments, the projects you've worked on, any positive feedback you've received from colleagues or superiors, and find a metric. Use quantifiable data See, I wrote that in my notes and I got tongue tied on it right. Use quantifiable data whenever possible to demonstrate the impact of your work how many, how much, how often, and you can equate that to a number, a dollar amount, a percentage, whatever that is. But you need to document those achievements, if anything, to continually remind you about the great work you're doing every single day. The next thing speak up in meetings. This can be particularly difficult for some of you because you don't want to say something wrong or you don't want to speak up for the sake of just making sure your voice is heard. If you're going to speak up in a meeting, do it in a way that's going to add to the conversation. Participate actively, share your insights, contribute on discussions, but remember to be additive and not repetitive. I would far rather be the person in the room that speaks up once and people sit there and go wow, what John said in the meeting was really impactful, as opposed to. Well, there's John speaking up again. Speaking up in meetings is a great way for you to gain visibility, and visibility may be what's lacking in terms of your career path. So how visible are you? How much do people that are in the room know who you are? And when we talk about your brand, what are they saying about you? When you proactively communicate your value, you do that more impactfully. Because you've asked for feedback. This one's hard Asking for feedback makes you vulnerable. But if you create a community and have a culture within that community where feedback is normally given and received and is done in ways to move you further along as opposed to putting you down regularly, soliciting feedback from your supervisors or peers can continuously improve and help you as you grow to whatever is next. But let's not underestimate this. It shows your commitment to your personal and professional growth. That's huge. You're letting people know that you care about your performance, what it is that you're doing, and that their feedback is important to you. So who do you trust inside your organization? Who do you rely on to be that person that you know could give you that rich and robust feedback that's going to make a difference for you in your career? If they're not someone who you've initially welcomed into your feedback circle, invite them. Invite them because you trust them and you value their expertise to help you get to that next level. When we're advocating for our career growth and potential, keep in mind this is an ongoing process. This isn't something you do a few weeks before your annual performance appraisal. I used to tell the people on my team that your path to whatever is next starts right now. And when we got done with our annual performance appraisals and they'd say to me, john, I really want to get promoted next year, great, that starts right now. What are you doing now to prove to me that you are demonstrating the skills, competencies and abilities that are at the level above you every single day, right now? So when I go to elevate you in that conversation to be promoted, it's a slam dunk, there's no question, because you've already done the work. But self-advocating is something that you yourself have to find a way to do that feels best for you. It feels genuine and authentic and, ultimately, it is something that you are proud of because of how you choose to show up. Being a proactive, confident and engaged professional increases your chances of being recognized and considered for promotions, especially in this mid-career phase, especially if you are at the manager or senior manager level and are looking to move into a role that you are proud to have director, next to your name. So what are you willing to do to take one step this week to help you start advocating more for your career? Do you need to do some work? Number one, on understanding your value. Number two, how you're networking more strategically. Or number three, how you are finding ways to proactively communicate your value by documenting your achievements, speaking up in meetings and asking trusted colleagues for regular feedback. I hope you will take whatever step you believe is next to help you advocate for your career and make that part of building your mid-career GPS. And until next time, my friends, remember this you'll build your mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how you show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening to the Mid-Career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your comments on Apple Podcast. Visit JohnNarrowcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you and your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. And don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at JohnNarrowCoaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters.