How to Advance Your Career Your Way

It’s hard to be yourself at work when it feels like you need to become someone you’re not to get ahead. But it is possible! Read on to learn ways to advance your career your way.

In our intro to the Personal Power Principle, we covered what it’s about and why it matters. As a quick recap, Personal Power is the ability to become promotable while behaving in a way that is authentic to you. It’s about operating in harmony with the person you are, the professional you are becoming.

In today’s post I’m going to share some ideas on how to be authentic while becoming more promotable—how to advance your career your way.

So let’s get into it…

How to Advance Your Career Authentically.

It all starts with self-discovery. No, not self-indulgent, navel-gazing introspection. I’m talking about highly focused learning to understand what aspects of yourself are working for or against your ability to get promoted.

Know thyself

You can’t work in harmony with your authentic self if you lack an awareness of what it is in the first place.

What makes up your authentic self at work? I think about it in terms of four attributes: your individual style, innate traits, work beliefs and personal values.

Individual style – how do you show up and express yourself? Does your appearance scream creative whimsy or whisper refined sophistication? Are you a fast talker or slow and deliberate with your words? Do you prefer casual and relaxed, or formal and reserved?


Innate traits – what qualities and characteristics come naturally to you? For example, some of us are more introverted than others. Or, inherently empathetic, optimistic or detail oriented.


Work beliefs – what do you know to be true? It’s a feeling of certainty. You may believe hard work always pays off, if there is a will there is a way, or you get what you give. Your favorite quotes, mottos, or sayings can be great indications of you what you believe.

Personal values – what do you hold dear? These are often qualities you admire in others: honesty, integrity, kindness. The attributes you dislike in others can also clue you into your values. If you’re annoyed by braggers, you probably value modesty. Dislike big egos? You value humility.


Personal attributes can help or hinder your ability to advance your career

Once you can define each of these attributes for yourself, the next step is recognizing how they influence your decisions, behaviors, and everyday actions.

Pay special attention to your work beliefs and personal values, as they are the guiding force behind how you show up and approach work. They control the actions you will or won’t take to advance your career.

When something has this much control over you, and your ability to finally get promoted, you better make sure you understand it! Do your attributes serve you well, or fall short? Are they helping or hindering your path to a promotion?

Change what doesn’t serve you to advance your career.

Changing aspects of yourself isn’t easy but change you must.

Often changes are needed for obviously good reasons: to gain new skills and make you a better version of yourself. Yet sometimes you need to dig deeper to understand what needs to change. This is especially true when you have limiting beliefs—beliefs that no longer serve you, or even unconsciously sabotage your ability to get promoted.

If you were taught it’s best to play it safe, or you’re not much of a risk taker, it may be harder for you to get outside your comfort zone to learn new skills. In turn, it will be challenging for you to be seen as a high potential employee who is ready to take on more responsibility. In this case, your belief system is working against you.

To advance your career, you may need to adopt a new, more empowering belief. For example, isn’t it also true that lifelong learning is essential to growth and development?

Reframe your situation to advance your career

But what if a specific change feels like it would be in direct opposition to your authentic self?

Remember, there’s always more than one way to solve a problem or achieve a goal. The key is finding the specific actions or behavior changes that produce the desired results, yet don’t stray from your personal beliefs and values. That allows you to be authentic. This is often easier said than done. But it’s an essential ability to advance your career.

For instance, if humility is an important value for you, it can be infuriating to be told you need to be more forceful or aggressive. Those words may even trigger a visceral response. Unless you can reframe them.

Why do you need to be more aggressive? Maybe the outcome that’s really needed is for you to present your point of view with more potency—with authority and conviction. Then the question becomes, how can you achieve the outcome of authority and conviction in a way that aligns with your value system?

And perhaps the answer is to use more declarative statements, maintain composure and avoid becoming defensive if challenged. Behaviors that are much more palatable and authentic to you than trying to be something you’re not: aggressive. That’s the power of reframing your situation.


More reading


The ideas in today’s post are based on what worked for me, and what I observed to work well for others. They are intended to be a starting point for you to ideate around what can work best for you, and your specific situation. To get you thinking about how to advance your career your way!

To read more of my thoughts around personal power, check out my “personal power” category which contains all my posts related to working in harmony with the person you are, and the professional you are becoming.





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