I heard this sentiment recently in a training I was giving when I asked the group “what are some of the goals you want to achieve?” One participant said “make more money” as often people say. But when I pried more into the logistics of that worthy endeavor she expounded on a less-worthy vehicle for reaching said endeavor. “I want to be paid more, then I will take on more responsibility.”
She meant well. I know she did. But the problem with the statement is it’s like saying “I want to be smart, and then I’ll learn” or “I want to be a best-selling author and then I’ll put my ideas out there”.
And yet, we do this so often in our professional space. We ask for the raise first as if that is the key to unlocking our work-ethic and our potential. It’s not.
Think of an actress who wants a million bucks per episode. If she doesn’t have the audience, the accolades, or the acting chops to back it up, will she get it? Nope. She must first show that she has mass appeal and broad talent, then she will get offered the big bucks.
See we must do something (acting, performing as an indispensable asset, leading without being asked) before we can be something (an actress, an indispensable asset, a leader), before we can get something (the big paychecks, the promotions, the responsibility and the corner office).
Don’t fall into the get-be-do mentality that is rampant in our culture. This is the mentality that says you can work hard when you get paid for it, or you can get followers when you get the leadership position, and you can get happiness when everything falls into place.
These are all traps set out by the victim in attempt to recruit more victims. They are hard traps from which to pry yourself. And they create a vicious cycle of resentment, bitterness, and it’s-not-fair disease. I know, I’ve been there.
They are cancerous to a work environment and one’s family. But, sadly, the person they harm the most is the person who capitulated to them in the first place.
If you aren’t getting what you want, ask yourself what kind of a person do you need to be to get those things. And then ask that person what she needs to do. Then do those things—every single day.