Sports history is filled with the heroics of substitute players coming off the bench and playing a big role in a victory.
Likewise, in the working world, being a dedicated and consistent role player can prepare someone for a promotion that entails bigger responsibilities. The key, as in sports, is being ready when called upon.
“Understanding and fulfilling your role as you await your opportunity is a critical aspect of truly growing so you are prepared to make good on that opportunity when it happens,” Grant Parr said.
Parr is a mental sports performance coach and the author of “The Next One Up Mindset: How To Prepare For The Unknown.”
“Athletics is filled with role players ready to meet the demands and the game speed of competition,” he said. “The mental preparation is equally important in the workplace for those aspiring to climb the ladder and be continually successful.”
Parr offers five ways to spend time wisely while waiting in the wings and how to be well-prepared for the next, bigger opportunity:
1. Maximize your role. The path to promotion, Parr said, starts with the right mindset in lower positions.
“Training the mind for success is essential,” he said. “It begins with fully understanding and embracing your role. Doing that consistently gets you ready for the next one. Your role will be what you make of it — a launchpad for future success and a support to others while you learn, or a holding pattern leading toward stagnation and frozen development.”
2. Set achievable goals and commit.
“How you approach your goals matters,” Parr said. “You need to write them down, including all the tasks required to accomplish them, and you need to visualize the feeling of reaching them.”
3. Remove negatives.
“These invariably come up,” Parr said. “Be aware of the obstacles, people, and thought processes that can derail you, demotivate and distract you from making the most of your opportunity. That way, when those things appear, you are prepared to manage them and stay on track.”
4. Lead and set an example.
“In sports, always being one of the first to practice and among the last to leave, and being the one who always encourages others — all those qualities stick in your teammates’ minds as a disciplined, winning example they can count on,” he saids.
“In the business world, your chances of reaching the next level are greatly enhanced when you exemplify a team-first, cheerful attitude on a daily basis, always being helpful to the levels above you as well as your own team, and going the extra mile,” Parr said.
5. Study good examples/role models.
It certainly helps in sports, and the corporate office is no different, Parr said, when it comes to the benefits of learning from mentors or reading up on achievers who had humble beginnings.
“Watch, listen to, read, and learn from the advice and experiences of those who have excelled,” he said.
“Moving up in the world entails lots of things that can knock you down,” Parr said. “Embracing your role, whatever it is, means embracing the struggle to get where you want to go. You are working toward something higher, preparing for the unknown, and it requires diligence and commitment.”