You didn’t get the promotion – job – opportunity – assignment. Now what?
“I got the job offer!”
“They offered me two different roles and asked which I preferred.”
“This promotion creates an opportunity to show proof of my theories in a tough use case. I’m so excited.”
It was a big day on Friday at The Amplify Lab. The quotes above were from three different clients. There was a lot of jumping up and down and clapping. For each situation, the individual is getting to step into a more significant and more impactful opportunity. Each new role will push them while also leveraging the magic that makes them who they are. I could not be more excited for their futures.
Here’s the thing you don’t know.
All this good news started with bad news.
The first person (let’s call her Jane) realized that her boss just wanted her to keep doing what she was doing. Jane’s ability to “get shit done” meant that he could continue to be the “strategic” guy while she made it happen. Jane didn’t hate her job, but she was bored. Moreover, Jane realized that her boss didn’t actually want her to do anything else. Jane’s boss wanted the “Present Jane,” he didn’t want to see a “Future Jane” emerge.
The second person (let’s call her Amanda) called me to chat because she wanted to throw her hat in the ring for a promotion. As we prepared, we reviewed the feedback from her performance reviews, talked about what both her boss and her skip-level boss (the CEO) were saying about her potential. There were a couple of red flags we were worried about, but the opportunity wasn’t a long shot. Long story short, Amanda didn’t get the promotion. Why? Lack of executive presence. Amanda was frustrated. As we unpacked what happened, it was clear that the executive team didn’t want Amanda to be Amanda. They wanted Amanda to be a more conservative version of Amanda. They wanted Amanda to be like them. Except she’s not like them. Amanda’s an original. Amanda didn’t want to work for a company that didn’t value her for who she is. So the job search started.
Roll forward to this Friday. Amanda found an organization that clearly wants her to be Amanda, just as she is.
The third person (let’s call her Emily) has a big idea. An idea that runs a bit counter to the current narrative in her industry. She has big ambitions wrapped up in her vision. She’s been experimenting with her big idea in her current role. What’s challenging is that her boss gets nervous about her strategy and wants to go back to the way things are done. She (and others) also get competitive with Emily, as her work results get very public attention. The awareness is terrific; it’s actually what both the organization and the company want. They just don’t want Emily to get the credit. Emily gets reeled in because she’s “too…”.
When Emily got the call from a different leader in the company about joining his team (and getting a promotion in the process), Emily said yes. Why? Because this new team wants Emily for her rule-questioning, awareness-manifesting approach and is excited to let Emily hold the microphone and teach others why this is how the future could look. Is the new role going to challenge the heck out of her? Yes. 100%. Is that a big reason she’s excited? Also yes.
I share these three stories because Jane, Amanda, and Emily got knocked down hard. I’ve only shared a tiny part of the “not awesome” moments I had with each of them where they realized they weren’t getting the opportunity. They also went through ALL the emotions. And yes, anger, frustration, and defeat were on that list. In some cases, there were tears.
But after getting knocked down, they got up. And my advice to you when you’re the person who didn’t get the promotion – the job – the opportunity – the assignment? It’s to do what they did.
1. They didn’t blame others for their situation. They recognized it for what it was and what they could or couldn’t control. They owned that the individuals making decisions about their future in the “room they weren’t in” didn’t want to “buy” what they were “selling.” So they went looking for someone who did.
2. They got super clear about the Future Them – where they could add value and what would be interesting for them to do. With clarity around the product of the Future Them, their self-confidence shot up.
3. They identified the kind of: people, organization, team that would want to “buy” them for exactly who they were and precisely who they could be.
4.They took generous action. Rather than getting mad and sending out “I’m looking for a job” emails. A “me and what I need” approach to solving their problems. I watched each of them get generous with their gift by sharing it with others. In doing so, other decision-makers in “rooms they weren’t in” heard about them.
I call this approach Generous Ambition or an Unapologetic Bounce Back, I don’t know, but I’ve seen this pattern over and over again. It works. And not only does it work, but each person got to manifest their ambitions without selling their soul in the process. Plus, it recognizes that sometimes the answer is no. Sometimes you don’t get the job, the promotion, the opportunity, the whatever. I get mad too. It doesn’t feel fair at the moment.
So my answer to “now what”?
Get clarity – Turn on the generosity – Make it easy for people to choose the Future You.
I’ll end with one last story. The story of Joanna – yes, the real me.
This morning I got knocked down. Hard. I found someone who’s talking about my life’s work in a bigger way with better packaging. My inner critic went on overdrive culminating in the devastating question, “Have I missed the opportunity? Did it get given and taken by someone else?”
Yes, even I don’t get the opportunity.
And yes, I’ve had all the emotions.
I just applied my four steps to myself. And in doing so had a bit of an epiphany. More to come on another day about that. I’m now excited and curious and no longer mad and frustrated.
I’m bouncing back already.
PS. No surprise, we will be taking a deeper dive into this topic on the Live Show. If you want to register, it is the “Fairy Godmother’s Guide to Surviving at work.” show scheduled for March 26th at Noon PST. There’s an open Q&A time at the end of each show if you need some of my Potentialist magic. Or if you missed it, you can watch re-runs of all my Live Shows on YouTube.