Sep 9, 2022

It’s Hard to Show Up in the Shadows

It’s Hard to Show Up in the Shadows

It’s Hard to Show Up in the Shadows

Nathan King

Are you working in the shadows?

Most of us take care not to make commitments that we don't have to. We don't want to be caught not achieving something we committed to doing.

The reasons are always innocent. You don't know what can come up, so you want to keep your space clear. But in truth, you are much more likely to settle for busywork in place of meaningful effort if you stay in the shadows.

If you have a great boss, she will push you out of the shadows, causing you to make commitments that challenge you and deliver important work. The pushing keeps you in the light, out of the shadows.

Those of you with not so great bosses aren't receiving a push, an invitation to the light. Your challenge is that it is easy to fall back into the shadows. The risk is that it stunts your career.

But no boss keeps anyone permanently from the shadows. The only person responsible for you is you.

A simple mechanism to motivate yourself to follow through and stay out of the shadows? Make a commitment to your boss, and if you're really bold, to others. A public commitment results in a higher probability that you will follow through.

  1. At the end of this week, send your boss an email and tell him what, specifically, you will accomplish next week. It could be 1 initiative or 5. Don't worry so much about quantity: you're not trying to prove volume. It's the follow through that's important here.

  2. Set a reminder in your calendar for Wednesday to review your commitment (or, if you use a task management application, set a task with a due date for Wednesday that say, "review commitment ").

  3. At the end of the week, send him an email with what you said you would do and the result.

That email follow up is the perfect place to start the process all over again.

Making your work public motivates you to follow through.




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