Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Give Yourself a Promotion

"How can I get promoted?"

ACMA 1333 Samian decree 2
Secret handshakes go back a few years...
I hear this all the time at work. Everyone wants to know how they can get to that next level, then the next, and the next one after that.

Implied in that question is that there may be a secret handshake, a magic book, or fraternity that if they joined, then "it" would all come together. Whatever "it" may be.

I don't have the heart to tell people the truth -- not everyone is promotable.

Sorry, but it's true.

So when someone asks me that question, I tell them, "If you want to be a leader, then lead. If you want to be a project manager, then manage a project. You don't need the title to make it happen."

Show me. Don't tell me that you want to do something. Do it!

And when you do it, you'll show us all two things: you have the desire and the will to achieve even when you don't have the official title.

We must mentally promote ourselves to the role we aspire to hold. The answer is within us, waiting to be tapped.

No one wants to hire a project. But I can guarantee you that everyone wants to hire a winner. That person who has shown desire and will to do the hard work even when there is no guarantee of payoff.

Sound familiar?

So you want to be a traditionally published author? Then do everything that's consistent with "being" a published author. Show the professionals in the industry that you're also a professional. You have to be the baddest badass out there. You are not competing against the slushpile. You're competing against those on the bestseller list. That's what the industry is looking for. Elevate your game. Give yourself a mental promotion--now!

Or maybe you will self-published. Then behave like a professional author for your readers. Give them your best work. The beautiful cover, the professionally edited novel, and build the personal connection with your fans who will spread the word for you like the plague. You are trying to win their trust. You're trying to establish a sacred agreement that if they take a chance on you, then you in return will honor their valuable (and diminishing) free time. You will give them the ride of their life.

By the way, these habits are not mutually exclusive. We have to do all of the above and then some.

Eliminate "good enough," or "pretty good" from your vocabulary. Only the best qualify. The good news is that it's all up to you--me. The bad news is that it's all up to you--me.

If we want to win at any game, then we must play the game as if we've already won. Believe in yourself, so others will believe in you.

Bad things happen to good people all the time. Lady luck shows up on the wrong table sometimes. But in the end, if we play the game fully, with passion and excellence in heart and mind, then on my scoreboard, we've already won, haven't we?

Believe in yourself, then do it. And when you do, the rest will believe in you too.

Fight the good fight!


  1. As the saying goes, fake it until you make it. Great post, Ara and absolutely true--we can't expect others to take what we do seriously until we do first. You want to be a writer? Start writing. You want to be an artist? Start creating. It applies to any passion and there's no other way around it.

  2. Thanks, Ava. And once you've made it, you keep it up--forever. Otherwise we risk becoming dull and boring and our art will inspire no one, much less ourselves. As always, thanks for stopping by.

  3. (Ah, there he is...)

    wanders over....

    Aloha Ara,

    Sir, if I was a member of Her Majesty's government, sitting in the House of Commons, I'd be banging my darn shoe off the bench in front of me, while roaring: "Hear! Hear! Bloody well said!"


    Welcome back, I missed your mentoring :)

  4. LOL! I just had a visual of that scene. And you're a tall guy, with presumably large feet (I didn't check out your feet when we met, so I'm using my keen sense of logic). So your shoes would make a lot of noise!

    Mahalo, my friend. It's good to be back, and thank you for prodding me :) I will do my best to not allow the stupidity of other things in my life (day-job) get in the way.

  5. As William Shakespeare said:

    "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood (eww) with me shall be my brother."

    Ara, as you always say, let's fight the good fight and we shall, if my mom lets me, be our very own Band of Prodders :)

  6. I LOVE this post, Ara. You really cut through to the hard truth. And I'm reading this at a great time for the reminder. Thanks so much!!!


  7. Thank you, Susan. I appreciate it. Between you and me, I wrote this because I too am at an important cross roads. I needed a reminder and a kick in the pants.

  8. This is a great post, and so true. I think we have a lot of doubt inside us, but if we want it, we have to cast those aside and do everything we can to succeed. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  9. Thank you, Angela. I'm so glad it's resonating with so many of the people that I respect, It means I'm not alone :)

    I see this in all industries, and more so in the creative world. With us (the creative type) it is easy, too easy, to drown in doubt. We need to use "breakdowns" to cause "breakthroughs." That's the only way to get better. And we must always get better, in all parts of life.


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