What happened? Everything was so great leading up to the promotion. You were at the top of your game. You had your position mastered and you were being acknowledged for your achievements. When you got the promotion, you were filled with a deep sense of satisfaction and joy at your success. You were excited and nervous and up for the challenge. Since then, it’s been one thing after another. Getting a handle on this new position is taking more time and effort than you expected. New expectations, spoken or unspoken, are taxing your energy and enthusiasm. You know you have the drive and the determination it takes to succeed; it’s just not as clear a path as it has been in the past.

Being promoted is up there with many of life’s adventures: marriage, buying a house, parenthood…etc. And like these other events with the joy comes added responsibilities. You get engaged and then you have to plan and pay for a wedding. You buy the house and then renovations, repairs and maintenance come with it. If your first promotion is from a team member to a supervisor, this is probably hitting you over the head. Having guidance and a plan for success during these times is crucial for a positive outcome. Like other life events, with planning and a commitment to stay in positive action you can be rocking your new position in no time…and be ready for the next opportunity when it comes along.

Start with the end in mind. Take at least fifteen minutes and really envision yourself living this new life and answer some or all of the following questions. Remember, this is how you will be living in the future when all your challenges have been resolved. What will life be like when you’ve mastered all your current responsibilities? How do you feel going to work in the morning? What are you wearing? How is your commute? How do you greet everyone as you arrive in the morning? How are they responding to you? What does your work area look like? What do you do first? Who are you interacting with? How are you interacting with them? What is your mood? What projects are you working on? How do you approach these projects? Are there other people involved in your project? Who pulled them into the project? Who do you consult with? How do you feel about the meetings you attend? How do you feel about the meetings you lead? How do you deliver information and obtain buy-in? How engaged are the other people in the meeting? What is the quality of your relationship with your boss? How do you interact with your boss? What is the quality of your relationship with your direct reports? How do you interact with them? How do you feel when you leave work at the end of the day? What are your plans for the evening? What are you doing on the weekends? Describe how your life is like outside of work. How do feel?

Yes, that’s a lot of questions, and there are more that can be asked. It’s important to create a detailed picture of yourself at the goal. Create that picture and believe that it is possible to achieve. Having a vision that inspires and motivates you makes it less likely for you to get tripped up by the little things you waste time avoiding. Actions fueled by inspiration are more likely to produce the results you desire as opposed to actions taken to avoid an unpleasant consequence. It’s the difference between a resounding “Yes!” with a fist pump vs. a sigh of relief. Ask yourself, are you having that drink to celebrate a victory or to recover from an ordeal? Create a vision of yourself at your very best doing amazing things. It should excite and scare you at the same time. Let it sink in, and let’s tackle how you will achieve it.

1. Identify the gaps. Go back to the vision you created for yourself. Where are you not living up to that vision of yourself? Make a list and pick the top three areas you want to work on.

2. Create a plan. What actions can you take to make improvements in those three areas? This may involve getting a mentor, taking a class on public speaking or joining a Toastmasters club, taking online technical courses or being more mindful of how you interact with others.

3. Set milestones. Have clear and specific markers for your progress. It could be a glowing review from your boss or a certificate of completion for a course. If you are looking to improve the engagement at staff meetings, a milestone could be the number of people who voluntarily speak up and contribute to the content of the meeting. Your milestones will show progression and let you know you are heading in the right direction; your efforts are showing results.

4. Involve your boss in your development. Your development is one of their responsibilities. They are more likely to be grateful that you came forward and asked for guidance in the areas you are struggling than be upset that you are not “up to speed”. I have yet to meet someone who, after having been approached as an expert and with gratitude, was not more than happy to contribute to the success of the individual before them. Human beings like people who appreciate them. If you want someone to like you and give you their help, show your appreciation of them.

5. Build relationships with your new team. Yes, this is one of your new responsibilities; you’re not just goofing off. You need to be on better than working terms with everyone who reports to you. What are their interests? What is their home life like? What are their values? What motivates them? How do they like to be acknowledged and rewarded? Note the tip on human beings above.

6. Leverage relationships with your peers. Seek out others who are in similar positions as you and ask them to share their experiences with you. What is the secret to their success? How did they overcome the initial obstacles? Where did they fall down? What did they learn? Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel. Learn from others’ experiences so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. (Note: not all the advice given will feel right for you and that’s natural. You are a different person with different strengths and weaknesses. Take the suggestions that feel right for you and start trying them out.) Also, find ways to support the success of your peers. They will want to return the favor. Your peers are great people to collaborate with on projects and you may need them in a pinch.

7. Be attentive to your time management. When experiencing overwhelm, everything occurs as urgent. Before reacting to anything new that comes across your desk, take a moment to decide how urgent it is. Compare it to the other items you are already working on. Can it be delegated? When does it require a response? Just because you can get it done more quickly than another task doesn’t mean you should just bang it out. Working efficiently requires focus and priority setting.

8. Evaluate and reevaluate your plan. Is it too overwhelming? Break it down into smaller parts. Work on one area at a time or create baby-step milestones and focus on one at a time. Have you quickly mastered your top three areas of improvement? Pick three more and keep going! Have flexibility to adjust your plan so you are being challenged and staying in action. Remember, this is not meant to be a breeze but it can be fun if you see it as an opportunity to grow and make a difference.

Congratulations to you! You have worked hard and smart and you’ve been acknowledged and rewarded for your achievement. You now have a tremendous opportunity to grow and develop yourself as the leader you already are. Allow yourself to enjoy the challenges and know you’ll look back on this time with pride and sense of wonder at how much you’ve accomplished.

Author's Bio: 

Jodi Flynn, owner of Luma Coaching, works with individuals and groups in the areas of professional growth, leadership development and life purpose. Utilizing her own background of rapid promotion, increased responsibilities and career transition she is able to guide her clients through challenging situations so that they are living optimally and ready for the next opportunity. She is a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) through the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and is credentialed as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF). For more information on iPEC and the ICF visit www.ipeccoaching.com, and www.coachfederation.org, respectively. Ms. Flynn can be contacted directly at jodi@luma-coaching.com.