Amy Rees Anderson

Put Yourself In The Running

If there is something you want badly enough, my advice is this: put yourself in the running. Even if you don’t get chosen, you will get noticed.

I was constantly looking for great people to fill management positions within the company. Even though growth is a huge blessing for a company, it can also be a challenge, because it requires you to find and recruit all the right people to help you manage that growth. My personal preference was always to look within our organization before branching out to fill positions, and so with each new opening we would try to post it internally before advertising externally.

On one particular occasion, a position was posted for a high-level management position, the head of a department in the company. The day after it was posted, I received an email from an employee whose name didn’t ring a bell, letting me know that he would like to be considered for the position. I gathered a few members of my executive team and asked them to tell me about this young man; I would have expected to recognize the name if he had been on our short list of internal people we felt were qualified for the position. When I shared his name, they too were surprised—he wasn’t someone who had ever held a position of management within the company, so it was a surprise that he would have the courage to throw his name in the ring for such a high-ranking position as head of the department.

In the end, this employee was not chosen for the management position, because at that point he lacked experience. However, something else amazing happened. Because this young man had the courage to throw his name in the ring, from that point forward he got noticed. We now knew who he was, and his name came to mind every time a new position became available in the company. And sure enough, once he gained more management experience, he was eventually promoted to head of the department—the very position he had tried for early on. It may have taken him a little time to get there, but chances are he never would have gotten there, and certainly not as soon as he did, if he hadn’t initially stepped up and put himself in the running.

Too many people are afraid of putting themselves in the running. They are afraid that if they do and then don’t get chosen they will end up worse off than they were to begin with. That is simply NOT TRUE! There is absolutely no shame in trying, even if you don’t succeed. There is only shame in not making the attempt, because if you don’t make the attempt you will never get anywhere in life. Never hold yourself back from throwing your hat in the ring over fear of not being chosen, because I guarantee that even if you don’t get chosen, you will definitely get noticed, and that is all it takes to set you on a path toward accomplishing everything you ever dreamed of.

~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )

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