Mirror, mirror on the wall, will I get promoted today, at all?


Marcus had been talking to his boss about a promotion to VP for quite a while without getting any closer. Marcus found the discussions stressful and the endless waiting frustrating, which is why he came to my workshop on Causative Communication.

The mistake Marcus was making is the same one I’ve seen MANY people make:  He thought the decision (if and when to promote him) was not in his hands.  He thought it was up to the people doing the promoting.

Most people in Marcus’ situation believe they can present their case, but that after that, they’re powerless. They have to sit back and wait while the “powers that be” decide.

What they don’t realize is that those making the decision are just reflecting you back to yourself.

It’s very much like an ice-skating competition. If you skate perfectly, the judges HAVE to give you a 10.  If you stumble at the beginning or if you are less than flawless, they’re forced to give you a lesser score.  

All the judges are doing is reflecting back the skater.

It’s actually entirely up to you what happens. Can you believe that?

Most people experience stress when talking about why they should get promoted. They’re uncomfortable. Their minds are full of doubt. Their communication is full of strain.

The decision that comes back is simply a reflection of this.

This is true in all your communication, not just situations where you want a promotion. The reaction you see from the other person is a reflection of how well you’re dealing with the situation.

When your communication is flawless, there’s a transformation that happens in the other person, even if they’re a “judge” of you.   They can’t help but give you a “10” and decide accordingly.

It’s the same thing when communicating about a promotion.

If you feel powerless about the outcome, that will be reflected back to you.  The reflection will show powerlessness.

If you feel the outcome is in “their” hands, you will come across as someone who does not deserve a promotion.  Especially if you’re trying to get promoted to the higher levels like VP and above.

The decision you receive will be a reflection of your own powerlessness.

You don’t have to work hard to get the outcome you want.  You simply have to communicate with clarity, certainty and intention.

Many people confuse these three things with conviction.  Conviction is how much you believe in something.

Your promotion does not at all depend on how much you believe you deserve it.  If it did, there would be no issue, you’d have it.

Many people go into these conversations with the idea they need to convince the other person to achieve the outcome they want.  But the harder you try to convince someone that you deserve something, the more powerless you seem.  In terms of getting a promotion, this “convincing” approach is the kiss of death.

It’s the difference between communicating for the purpose of getting them to agree with you (which will always make you seem UNcausative), and communicating for the purpose of real understanding (which will always make you powerful.)

One of the biggest mistakes people make when wanting a promotion is talking about why they deserve the promotion. This makes you come across as imploring, anxious, in need.

It’s not a question of what you deserve. It’s a question of where you belong.

When you communicate that you belong at the VP level with complete clarity, complete intention to be understood, and complete certainty that you will be fully understood, you come across like the promotion is the only right course of action, no question about it.

The decision that comes back will reflect that.

Marcus ended months of circular conversations by doing just what I described to you. And wouldn’t you know it, “they” made the decision to promote him to VP within hours, not weeks or months.

Be the cause!