How to Accept a Challenge that Buckles Your Knees
Nudges normally produce acceptable growth. But some growth-opportunities require leaps.
Knee buckling opportunities:
One day a door of opportunity will open for you. You sweat thinking about it. Your knees buckle.
Your boss may ask you to step into a new role. Or you’ll apply for a stretch-position and they’ll actually hire you.
You might feel like proving you can do it on your own. It’s better to acknowledge the stretch. Don’t face the challenge alone.
Connect with a mentor inside your organization, not the person you report to.
Build a team of mentors and coaches outside your organization.
If you face a knee-buckling opportunity, run, don’t walk, to people who support and expand you.
#2. Embrace humble openness.
Open your heart and mind to new approaches.
New challenges require new skills and strategies. Marshall Goldsmith says, “What got you here won’t get you there.”
Growth includes trying untested behaviors. Listen to coaches, advisers, and mentors when they suggest behaviors you haven’t tried.
Open hearts grow. Closed hearts shrink.
#3. Negotiate your relationship with your boss.
- Explore frequency of one-on-ones.
- Describe the type of conversations that most help.
- Clarify success. What is different if you succeed?
- Establish a timeline with milestones.
#4. Seek feedback like a leader.
- Avoid saying, “How am I doing?” Broad questions make you seem needy.
- Declare an intention and seek specific feedback.
- I’m working to build positive energy on the team. (Intention)
- What do you see me doing that builds team energy? (Feedback)
- What do you see me doing that drains team energy? (Feedback)
- How might I better build team energy? Listen for behaviors. (Advice)
#5. Be yourself.
- Remember that you earned this opportunity even if you feel like a faker.
- Stay connected to your values, strengths, and career goals.
- Reflect on your performance daily.
How might leaders face knee buckling opportunities?
Having worn the boots, take the opportunity with all the “gusto” and roll! Our intuition is to fear, you will find your way, don’t look back and let yourself progress up life’s ladder. Along the way you will develop your own path, may be some “hiccups in the giddy up”, grind it out and make the best of the opportunity!
Thanks Tim. Powerful encouragement! Fear invites us to pull back and play it safe. Love the go with gusto approach. This is so helpful especially when combined with being open.
Love today’s article Dan! Thanks for posting this.
This is powerful beyond measure. It applies to every aspect of life. Thanks for sharing your gift.
Be precise. What specific part of this new challenge seems overwhelming. We tend to generalize and conclude the whole task is a big stretch—way beyond our capabilities. Fear makes us generalize.
Break the new challenge down into its core parts. Pinpoint the specific area that you need help and then follow Dan’s advice. Seeking out mentors and other experts who can provide some coaching.
Great stuff, Dan!
As I’m thinking through your question, I keep coming back to these the questions that I love: What am I doing well? What do I need to modify and monitor? What do I need to stop doing?
These questions, to me, are so indicative of where I am at and gives light to the path ahead.
Thank again, Dan!
I like “what got you here wont get you there”. If you are not growing you are dying. Even if you are in a job that you don’t ever want to move up or on from. You must still grow and developed new skills.
Marshall Goldsmith says, “What got you here won’t get you there.”
My revision–“Some of the knowledge and skills that got you here, will also help you get there. But, you will also need some new skills and insights to get you there.”
Network! You know people from you past, at meetings and conventions and such. Or just people you respect as a leader or knowledgeable in the subject matter related to your job. Networking is critical to a leader. You have to know what’s going on outside of your world.
“Build a team of mentors and coaches outside your organization”
Visualisation is a powerful tool to face knee buckling opportunities.
Do all of it, but above all, be yourself!