How to Advance to a Higher Position

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A reader asked how he can change the thinking of his company’s leadership so he can advance to a better position.

Here are a few suggestions, which basically break into changing inward and outward aspects of yourself:

1. Change how you think about yourself. What’s your self-identity? Have you always imagined yourself as the leader of a company or are you frustrated that you aren’t the leader of a company? Mindset matters, and you’ll get further faster if you come at it from a half-full perspective.

2. Change how you think about your role in the company. If you’re thinking of yourself as a frustrated mail clerk, then you’ll remain a frustrated mail clerk. If you happily do the best you can at what you’re doing, while thinking of it as a stepping stone, you’ll step up more quickly.

3. Do you know what it feels like to have the position you want? Has anyone in your family or any of your friends held the position you want? If not, and you really don’t know what it would actually feel like to have the corner office with the floor-to-ceiling windows, then seek out people you can talk with about it. Use an informational interview to find out more about their position, and perhaps if you’re lucky and you hit it off you can develop a mentoring relationship with that person. Of course, if you’re looking for the position in your company, you’ll want to talk with people at other companies for advice.

Basically, you want to script in your mind how it feels to go through the day in the position you want to have, and you want that script to have the right feelings and details. Even if it’s just reading articles and listening to interviews, you can prepare your subconscious for where you want to be next.

4. How do you carry yourself at work? Do you speak like a management-level employee? Do you use proper grammar? Curse? All these are factors, sometimes subtle, that influence how others perceive you.

5. How do you dress? Are you dressing for the position you’re in or for the position you want to be in? You should be dressing for where you want to be.

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6. How do you present yourself to the top executives at your company? When you have the chance to talk with them, do you so with confidence and ease? Are you nervous and overly complimentary? You want to be professionally friendly and exude confidence in who you are and what you offer the company. If you have a big meeting coming up, rehearse mentally what you will do, say, and how you will feel as you’re doing it.

7. In your heart of hearts, do you think you are someone you would give the position to if you could? Be brutally honest with yourself and fix what needs to be fixed.

Are you in your dream job and how did you get there?


  1. adetomi gbogboade on 9 January 2013 at 10:01 am

    please sent more notes on business teachings.

  2. Meg_Bertini on 9 January 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I have an entire series planned on jobs, the workplace, etc. Please let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to cover.