Many things can feel outside of our control or reach. For instance, a person can ask for a raise or promotion, but whether they receive the advancement is not a decision they directly get to make and is ultimately beyond their control. A person can also get stuck in traffic because they have no control over other people’s driving habits or because an accident happened farther down the road. This lack of control over situations and circumstances can be frustrating.

Controlling What You Can

In the modern workplace, it’s important to focus on the factors within our control that can affect our personal and professional growth.

1. Your Attitude

You can decide how you approach situations. You have the option to be enthusiastic, annoyed, or ambivalent. By taking control of your attitude, you can decide how you feel during a task or situation and influence the outcome. If you feel empowered or excited to complete a project, you will probably work faster and more diligently than you would if you were frustrated or annoyed.

2. Your Productivity

Although you can’t control other people’s productivity, you can control your own. You can choose which tasks to focus on first and how quickly and conscientiously you complete them.
Attitude also influences productivity, and by choosing to have a good attitude, a person will be more productive and feel more personal pride in the high-quality work they produce.

3. Your Work Ethic

Do you think that it’s valuable to work hard? Do you feel motivated to work? Are you proud of what you can contribute when you put in the effort? You decide how strong your work ethic is and how much you’re willing to bring to the table every day. By reminding yourself of this, you can choose to work harder and be a team player in your organization.

4. How You Treat Others

Every day you have the opportunity to be kind to others, and you are in complete control over what you say and how you act. By offering support or chatting with your team members, you can show them that you appreciate them and want them to succeed.

5. How You See Yourself

The opinion that you have of yourself can influence how you perform and how productive you are. Do you see yourself as someone who is capable and deserving of respect? By taking the time to develop your skills and self-confidence and become the person you want to be, you can ensure your own personal and professional growth.

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Ways to Take Control of Your Growth

Beyond the list of five things that you can control, there are other things you can do to take charge of your development. Even if you are not currently up for a promotion or a growth opportunity, you can still work to improve in your current role and develop in place.

1. Prioritize Your Own Development

Make the time every week to focus on your growth. By reading books, researching, and engaging in development opportunities, you can build skills that you can use in your current position—and in the next one. Whether these skills are in communication, innovation, teamwork, or something else entirely, by taking the time to develop your abilities, you will ensure that you are a better member of your organization.

2. Ask for Support

Let your leader know that you are interested in professional-growth opportunities and what role you would like them to play in the process. Do you need stretch assignments and oversight? Access to other departments or team members? A mentor? A coach? This way, you’ll have support, but you’ll also be the one choosing its form.

3. Ask for Feedback

Before you can improve, you need to be aware of what you can do better. By asking for feedback from team members or leaders, you are taking control over what you know you need to work on. This can also be an exercise in trust as you show your co-workers that you are willing to be vulnerable with them and that you value their opinions.

Professional growth does not need to stem from others or a promotion—and using internal motivation to take control of what you can and develop yourself and your abilities will ultimately be more rewarding. Check out CMOE’s digital course library to aid in your development journey!

About the Author
Hannah Sincavage
Hannah joined the CMOE team in 2022 and brings both her unique expertise in writing and her prior teaching experiences to the Design Team and CMOE clients. She earned her Master of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric Studies at the University of Utah. Hannah works with the Design Team to provide innovative learning solutions that meet the needs of each organization.

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