written by Angie Morgan & Courtney Lynch

You’ve likely changed. A lot. These past 18 months of pandemic living have stretched you in ways unimaginable. Change builds resilience, which leads to an increased capacity to do more, think differently, and contribute in ways you’ve never been able to before.

The problem with all this change, though, is that key people – like your boss, your colleagues, or even family and friends – may not recognize or understand the changes you’ve been through.

They see you still as how you were two years ago. Not how you are today.

 I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately who recognize that the pandemic transformed them and they’re finally reaching a point where they’re ready for more.

The challenge for them is that they’re discovering that they’re anchored by their old reputation:

  • The one who wasn’t ready for the promotion, but now is
  • The one not ready for increased responsibility, but now is
  • The one who wasn’t invited to select meetings before, but today deserves a seat at the table

The challenge these leaders face is a tough one: re-establishing their reputation among stakeholders who’ve got a pretty firm and formed opinion of them. 

If this sounds like you, here are some thoughts on what to do.

  • First, be patient. Change, especially in a virtual environment, takes time to be recognized by others. It’s like going to the gym – you’ll see the results in 30 days, your close friends and family will see them in 60, and everyone else will see them after 90 days.
  • Don’t just tell … show. If you’re ready for a promotion and increased responsibility, let it be shown in a higher-quality work product. Don’t do more per se. Do things differently and let your unique, refreshed approach speak for itself.
  • Re-establish your relationships. Trust has been strained in our professional relationships. Take the time to not just transact, professionally speaking, with your key stakeholders. Take time to invest in the relationship so you’re seen, and you see others, more holistically and respectfully. This awareness can often be enough to recognize the increased capacity others see in you, and you see in those around you.
  • Finally, advocate. You’re your best advocate. It’s probably time to spark a conversation with your boss about where you see your career headed, as well as what opportunities you’d like to see for yourself. This can be a scary thing to initiate because you run the risk of seeing your opportunities differently than your boss may see them; yet, having this clarity can force you to think about change in your life that you need to make to get where you want to be. It might even lead to you recognizing that you’ve hit a ceiling in your career and a greater (possibly scarier) change is needed.

Our hope for you is that during this period, you also take a chance to reflect specifically on how you’ve grown, and you find a quiet moment to value and respect your journey. You’ve been through a lot! Be proud– as imperfect as it’s likely been, you’ve undoubtedly learned a tremendous amount about you along the way.

Angie Morgan & Courtney Lynch are the co-founders of Lead Star and the New York Times best-selling authors of SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success, Leading from the Front, and the soon to be published Bet on You. Sign up for Lead Star’s free, weekly newsletter to get timely leadership tips delivered directly to your inbox each Monday.