Should you stay or go?

Think back to a time when you doubted yourself at work, maybe even felt nervous or scared.

Was there someone there to build you up? Someone to give you a talk like the one Al Pacino gave in Any Given Sunday?

...Reminding you of all your wins and that you’ve had more successes than failures?

To nudge you forward to triumph?

Here’s something I witnessed at work more times than I can count: people will tell you you're "not ready", when you are.

This is something I hear a lot from people seeking

career advice:

"I want this and I'm willing to work for it, but I'm beginning to doubt myself because they're telling me to wait, that I’m not ready. I’m not sure what to do.” This makes you question your judgment when you shouldn't and it can derail your career, because it kills momentum.

Momentum is the unsung hero of many a triumph. It’s critical to your career and it’s hard to get back once you’ve lost it.

At work, you're usually a little more susceptible to the power of suggestion than in your personal life, because work gives you security and peace of mind you're reluctant to disrupt.

On the field of your personal life, you might say “Oh, yeah? Not ready you say? Hand me the bat and let me show you what 'ready' looks like.”

And you swing for the fences. At the office you're more likely to yield to the assessments of others. You don’t want to upset the apple cart.

Have you heard one of these greatest hits:

“Maybe next year."

"We need you to step up first," or

"You’ve only been at your level two years …”

or some number they deem universally insufficient. If that or any similar rhetoric has come your way, I'll let you in on a secret, most of the time, it's complete rot.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and people will tell you, "You're not ready" when you are ready.

The usual career advice: "Work hard, keep your head down, you'll get noticed" serves your employer brilliantly, but it puts you in the position of waiting for other people to tell you when they’re ready for you to move up,

which has nothing to do with whether or not you’re ready.

When you get impatient (understandably!) and push, maybe you'll get some actionable feedback, usually not; classic Mushroom School of Management method.

And it can feel like you have no other option, but you do.

If you take their word for it, you can, and likely will, waste years. The call on your readiness is yours alone to make.

Success won't come from being someone else’s version of "ready." Make that call for yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you and make your move before being anointed with "readiness," not after.

Sure, there are a few areas where this is ill advised, cardio thoracic surgery comes to mind, but for most people in most careers, you’re better off pushing the limits of what you’re allegedly “ready” for than waiting for someone to sign your permission slip.