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"It is what it is" - Is being a little too passive holding you back?

I was talking to a friend last night about their job and I asked how it was going:

"Hmm, it's ok", they said, "I had a maternity cover role at a more senior level and really enjoyed the extra responsibility but now they are back and I'm doing my old job and not feeling as motivated."

"That doesn't sound that positive", I said.

"It's not, in fact, it's got so bad I'm really thinking that I might have to leave to get a role I want but I really like my company." , they said.

"Did you talk to your boss about it?", I said.

"Yes, my boss has told me that they are doing a re-org in the new year so he'll let me know if there is a more senior role available", they said.

"That sounds a little passive to me.", I said, and then began the more interesting conversation....

Over the next hour, we talked about what they might do to try and make that dream role a reality rather than just sit and hope for it to fall into their lap. I won't bore you with all the ideas we came up with but fundamentally it was all about working out what my friend really wanted and seeing if there were ways to be clearer on that as well as approaching the task as one of bringing solutions rather than problems (i.e. could they help their boss out by defining a role that would be perfect for them and the business).

I wasn't surprised by this conversation, as it's something I see a lot in business across a range of clients and colleagues that I have worked with. I see it not just when people want a promotion or a pay rise, but I see it often in the way some people organise meetings, write documents or just the day-to-day interaction with others.

It's interesting to observe, as often it goes hand-in-hand with the assumptions we make or the teachings of the environments we are accustomed to ("I couldn't possibly do that...") and is not a conscious choice to be passive. It's amazing though that with a few tweaks in mentality and approach, what a difference you can get and it all begins with realising that you're doing it.

To help, if you want to know if you could be a little less passive, answer the following questions truthfully. If there are a lot of yes answers, have a think if there is an alternative approach you could take:

- Do you often talk around subjects rather than getting to the point?

- Do you think that there is nothing more you can do than just wait when you put in a request to someone else?

- Do you prefer sending emails/texts to using the phone or going over and talking to someone?Do you find you use any of the following words/phrases a lot in your written and spoken communication: "maybe", "perhaps", "possibly", "I was wondering if...",?

- Do you believe that people don't like it when you are assertive?

- Do you believe you can't influence certain things and that "it is what it is"?

- Do you like queuing? [OK, this last one is perhaps a little off topic :o]

Before you rush off to become some sort of newly possessed business renegade, this blog isn't about breaking the rules or irritating people. It's about a few small changes that can unlock big rewards.

I truly believe that we are only limited by our own imaginations and held back sometimes by our own assumptions. These are mindsets we remind ourselves continuously at Shiageto as we continue to build our business and without it, quite simply, we wouldn't exist.

As for my friend, we will see what the future holds...

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