It doesn’t really count

One of my clients, who is a Counsel, wants to be promoted to partner. During a recent coaching session she said something very revealing:

“Being a Counsel doesn’t really count” she said. “Basically I got it for free”.

At my client’s firm, you are automatically promoted to Counsel after a certain number of years as an associate.  No suffering. No long torturous process that pushes your resilience to breaking point. “All you have to do is not mess up” she said. “It’s not really a promotion when you get it for free.”

It reminds me of another client, this one a salaried partner, who is equally dismissive of where she is. “I’m only a salaried partner”, she likes to say “That’s not really a partner.”

So I’ve been wondering how many of you are eagerly seeking promotion to the next level when you have no respect for where your are. Is that you?

My eldest son Dylan turned 18 over the summer (I know. It surprises me too!). It happened automatically but that doesn’t mean he got it for free. He spent a whole year being 17, and accumulated 16 years of life experience before that. Spend 5 minutes in his company and you’ll see there is nothing fake about his promotion to adulthood. It was 18 years in the making.

How you think about where you are matters. It affects your ability to perform at your current level and your level of preparedness for where you go next. Think “It doesn’t count” and “I got it for free” and the self doubt this produces will undermine your performance and make it harder to progress.

There’s a better way to think about where you are now:

  • I worked hard for this
  • I earned this
  • This role has been years in the making
  • I’ve been building up to this
  • I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be

These thoughts help you internalise your success and develop belief in who you are. There’ll be no need for overthinking and overworking. It’s just you performing at your highest level, paving the way to your next promotion.


P.S. Are you ready to stop undermining your achievements? I created the Imposter Speech to help you with that.