It can be debilitating to your self-esteem and motivation when you’re constantly overlooked for raises and promotions. It can also be easy to take this personally when you know you’re capable of and deserve much more. The truth is the reason why raises and promotions often don’t happen is you’re at the mercy of other people’s thoughts and decisions about you—rather than your value being determined solely by your own achievements. This means you need to be mindful of how your value is being perceived—and continue to concentrate on increasing your value.
To that end, below are four specific, powerful actions you can take immediately to increase your value, advance your career, and earn more money.
1. Restructure your daily performance to achieve a higher level of efficiency
The first and most important action to take if you want to increase your professional value is to level-up your daily performance and efficiency. Most people habitually operate using certain routines and systems, but how effective are these routines and systems? How energized are you really throughout the day? How much are you actually achieving in a day? How much time are you wasting?
There are two main components of transforming your personal performance and efficiency:
Mastering yourself. Four factors—your mindset, sleep, nutrition, and fitness—determine your physical energy and motivation, which directly affects your ability to work. The smartest person in the world is economically useless without energy or a motivated mindset. So, you must look at these four factors and be honest with yourself about them. Are you in a positive mindset most of the time? Are you sleeping enough? Eating well? Exercising enough? Once you answer these questions, you can modify your routine accordingly.
Master your systems. How you work determines your output. You can maximize your output by effectively managing your time, leveraging technology, and delegating work strategically to others where it makes sense. Are you crunched each day? Always barely hitting deadlines? Missing them? Not delegating when you could be? Again, answer these questions as objectively as you can, and then modify your actions.
2. Master a new skill or knowledge area
According to the late Jim Rohn—an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and author of numerous books, including 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness—you need to “work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Essentially, this means if you want to advance your career and make more money, you must become a more valuable person. To that end, the two biggest problems people often run into when developing themselves are:
They don’t have a motivating reason to improve. That is, they haven’t defined clear, motivating goals to benefit their lives, careers, families, friends, or others. Because of this, their willpower drives them to focus for a week or two but quickly deteriorates thereafter.
They don’t learn strategically. This mean they learn at random without determining what will benefit their career immediately or in the medium term. Because of this, they feel their personal development has been a waste of time and energy, and they quickly forget what they’ve learned because it hasn’t been applied.
So, to fight against these common problems, answer this question for yourself: What one skill or knowledge area will I learn this year that will immensely improve my ability to add more value to my team and company?
Once you’ve determined this skill or knowledge area, do 10 to 15 minutes of research on the top three relevant books or training programs, and then commit—buy the books or sign-up for the training program. Don’t procrastinate because later equals never.
3. Go above and beyond your responsibilities—even if you’re not paid to do so
In your position, you’re expected to get certain things done well and on time. Your goal this year is to add more value than is expected of you, over-and-above your current responsibilities. “But I’m not being paid to do that,” you might think. Yes, you’re correct—for now. But before anyone will promote or entrust you with additional responsibilities, you must first prove that you’re capable of taking on these responsibilities. And the only way to prove your ability is to do the thing without being asked.
By doing so, you’ll demonstrate your ability to add more value to your team. And once you demonstrated you’re capable of delivering, then you’ll be considered for raises and promotion. By taking your game to a higher level now, you’ll be sure to advance later.
4. Determine and track your value—and then negotiate
Many people wait until year-end performance reviews with their manager to find out how they’ve performed. But why wait? Why allow someone else to determine your performance and value-add? It’s your responsibility to know what’s expected of you, to track your performance, and to deliver over-and-above what’s expected.
By tracking your performance and ensuring you’ve over-delivered, you put yourself in a strong position to negotiate at year-end for additional compensation, responsibilities, and other advancements. Negotiation is the most effective means for accelerating your career, and, shockingly, only about 15 percent of the workforce ever negotiates in their career. Always negotiate for what you’re worth.
You’ll absolutely take your career to the next level in 2021 by mastering your personal performance, improving your skills and knowledge, adding value over-and-above what’s expected of you, and negotiating for what you’re worth. The majority of people decide not to do these four things, so when you do, it will be noticed immediately by your team, manager, and company.
Jamie Carlstedt is a career coach to business professionals. Many people want to make a change in their lives and careers but don’t know how, and Jamie provides the coaching, training, and resources needed to help them advance their lives and careers, grow professionally, and make more money. Jamie’s the Founder of Redstone Coaching and previously worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs (in NYC). He's coached 100+ business professionals, is certified in Life Coaching & Business Mastery, and was the first student in Michigan State's history to land a job with Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division.
Sanjay Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon and the chief medical correspondent for CNN. He is also the author of Keep Sharp: Build A Better Brain At Any Age, a new book that dispels common myths about the brain, offers advice to boost the brain’s processing speed, and includes a 12-week program (with tips on diet, exercise, and sleep) for sharpening your brain.