Embrace the Suck
What can executives do to advance their careers when they’re bored? Or stuck in a no-growth role? Or stressed? Or facing company turmoil?
One action they can take is to “Embrace the Suck.” It’s a military term that means “the situation is bad, deal with it.” Sports psychologists also use the term to train their athletes to cultivate a performance mindset.
I first learned about Embrace the Suck listening to the High Performance Mindset podcast with Dr. Cindra Kampoff. Each week Dr. Kampoff interviews athletes, coaches and performance psychologists to explore how to build a powerful high performance mindset.
You can check it out at: http://www.cindrakamphoff.com.
When you’re frustrated with where you are, it may be time to embrace the suck and see the situation as a training opportunity.
You can ask yourself:
- Why am I not advancing my career the way I want to?
- What about this situation is within my control (not the boss, peers, direct reports)?
- What learning might be lurking here that I could use to develop myself?
This means changing your mindset about the situation and embracing new behaviors. It means practicing those behaviors every day. It means you, taking control of you, and doing what you can do in this moment.
If you do this, you’ll develop new skills and perspectives that could build your executive skills and make your more valuable to your company. You also will generate increased focus about where you want to go.
Advancing up the company ladder is tough today, especially with fewer promotion opportunities as companies operate leaner. There’s also ongoing flow of downsizings and restructurings.
These we can’t control. But we can embrace the suck and control what we do to develop ourselves.
To offer an analogy, this summer has offered very few days of good surfing waves here in New Jersey. For a dedicated surfer, no surf really sucks.
I didn’t dwell on it, however. Instead, I pounded out the laps in the pool, kept up my surf fitness training, kept my body flexible with yoga and practiced visualization for surfing.
Finally, the waves came up, and I was ready. I surfed 2 ½ hours on Thursday afternoon and 3 ½ hours into the evening yesterday. I surfed really well, as though there’d been no down time at all.
I embraced the suck and did the training. When the opportunity came, I was ready.
To advance your career, try shifting your mindset and committing yourself to controlling what you can control and developing yourself.
Then you’ll be ready when opportunity shows up.