What got you here might not carry you any further

Friday, July 20, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 29

Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to take your career to the next level? If so, you’re not alone.

Many of the job seekers I speak with each day are struggling with similar feelings. They haven’t received the achievements they expected to get by now.

Perhaps they’re coming up on an important birthday, such as 30, 40 or 50. They haven’t received the awards had hoped for or the plum promotion they were counting on.

They’re making less money than they had planned for.

Often, they see peers and friends who are making more, and are going up the corporate ladder faster. It can be upsetting, especially if the job seeker is intelligent, was a top performer in school and is a hard worker.

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Prasad Kaipa, Ph.D., the author of “From Smart to Wise.” He focuses on helping professionals “ignite the genius within” and connect with their noble purpose.

This is quite a lot to digest. So, let’s focus on one piece of the discussion.

One of the things that resonated with me was this idea: “What got us here won’t get us there.”

Kaipa shared the concept that your situation changes over time. He tied this back to the idea of a core competence. Very often, we are promoted through our careers because we have a core strength or set of core strengths that we rely on. But, as we go up the ladder, a different skillset is needed for each role.

“In time, we need to develop a second capability,” Kaipa explains. “We need to be able to develop a second core strength. Now that we are in the current position, even though the current set of skills helped us to get here, now that you are a vice president, you need to learn how to become a president.

“The unfortunate part,” Kaipa continues, “is, whenever we feel we are not reaching our potential, we use the same set of skills that got us here, harder and more often. We don’t really re-examine whether the strength that we have that has become our signature strength has become the nail in our foot.

“I think that kind of a pausing, reexamining, and getting reflection both internally and from other people is what gets us to where we want to go.”

This makes a lot of sense. When we feel like we are failing at something, it’s possible that we’ve outgrown our old toolkit. It’s possible that new strengths are needed. And, sometimes we don’t even know yet what those strengths may be.

If you are struggling to reach your full potential and would like to hear an interview with Kaipa, you can find it on the Copeland Coaching Podcast, which is available for free download on Apple Podcasts.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.