As you know from Take a Leap of Faith before I was a Pilates Instructor and Goals Coach, I was a retail manager. Before I was a store manager I was an assistant manager, a key holder, sales person, and before all that I was the cashier! While I was a store manager, I was becoming a Pilates Instructor. Those were some long days, 15-20 hours a week training, and 50 hours a week managing a thriving retail store. After I finished my training I was teaching part time and managing full time. Doctors work less than I did! There came time when I had to choose. Spoiler alert: I chose Pilates. Stay tuned one day I’ll tell you more about that major decision. I began working as a Pilates instructor at a health club, and as history repeats itself I began climbing up the rungs.
I’m not writing this to tout my successes. Nope, I already know I’m great at what I do. I’m writing this because I’ve noticed that there are many people out there who think they can go from zero to sixty without accelerating through the other speeds. A friend-of-a-friend is unemployed. Has an awesome degree from a very well known university. The job he wants, most people don’t get without having over 10 years of experience. Part of the reason so much experience is desired, is so the right candidate can develop relationships with colleagues in that field. A position like he wants also requires a great amount of experience out in the field, that one doesn’t achieve without starting lower on the ladder. Do you see where I’m going with this? He has to start lower and work his way up! Also, lower on the ladder doesn’t mean he is “lowly” it just means his experience is perfect for that job. I absolutely do want you to have your hearts desires. However, there are steps in between; there are experiences that need to be well experienced. You aim for the highest high and the part from where you are now will take you through the route there. I promise! Unless you’re gifted with a company from family, or thin air (and even then I would hope you would want to see how all the moving parts work) you have to get your foot in the door. Show your awesome skills, learn from others and grow.
I started as a Pilates Instructor. Then I was promoted to Pilates Studio manager. After visioning experience running a small studio I was promoted to a bigger more challenging studio. A short time later I was promoted to Area Manager. I know in the future, with more experience there will be another rung! I knew years ago that I wanted the job I have now. But, without the experiences I gained I could not do the job I’m doing today. I’ll get honest with you. At each rung there was a time I thought to myself “I’m above this. I could be doing something bigger, better with my time.” I saw the areas that were lacking my skills. I wanted to be up there. But, in hindsight I can tell you that I a) needed to gain the experience of that position so I could coach and develop those who would be in it b) I didn’t know all the moving parts from where I was on the ladder. With each rung I gained more insight into the rungs ahead.
We’re there days I wanted to throw in the towel? Yep! Sure, but I knew in my gut that was quitting on my bigger goals. The reason today I can coach those who come to me is because I stuck it out. I kept my focus and learned what I could so I could move up. I never waited for anyone to notice my hard work. I touted it and asked for more. I shared my goals and perspectives and took advice and critiques so I could climb again. My advice for you is dream big. Work that dream backwards until you have something “small” to work with. Work backward from the vision until you get to where you are today, right now. For example, say you want to own your own coffee shop, and currently you’re a barista. You start having a big dream and a little knowledge. Option A: go around talking about how you would do things if it was your cafe. Get frustrated that a bank won’t take you seriously or that you don’t have investors who can see your vision. Outcome: a whiny life, with a latte Option B: talk to the manager of the coffee shop. Tell them one day you’d like to run your own shop one day. Ask what it takes to move up the ladder. A great boss will see this as a compliment and take you under their wing. Your success makes them look good. Plus, you’ll gain lessons on ordering, hiring, scheduling etc. If you don’t get this mentor then 1) tell that person’s boss your dream or 2) interview at other coffee shops and tell them you are looking to learn. You love being a barista, but you also want to learn how to manage. Outcome: great on the job lessons. You’ll discover if you really enjoy managing people and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
Hopefully my friends friend will stop waiting for someone to give him the big dream job and go get the job he’s qualified for that will lead him toward dreamland. You’re exactly where you need to be right now. Isn’t that Amazing?
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