Hiding at work can be an avoidance strategy. And, no, we’re not talking about hiding under your desk or in the stationery cupboard. We’re talking about hiding in plain sight – hiding from your own potential. You’re holding yourself back for some reason.
Perhaps you want more opportunities, but are afraid to ask. Maybe you wish you could contribute more in meetings, but you don’t always speak up. Perhaps you avoid making decisions because you’re afraid of making mistakes. Or is it that you want to learn more, but you’re waiting for someone to develop you – rather than seek it out yourself?
You see, hiding can take many different forms. And, you can be very good at hiding, without even knowing about it. The trouble with hiding is that it can be hidden under the guise of conscientiousness – you can be very ‘busy’ and effective, while still hiding. Maybe you’ll relate to some of the following excuses…
- “I’m too busy.”
- “I haven’t been here long enough to ask for more development.”
- “I’m too young.”
- “I haven’t had enough experience.”
- “People would laugh at me.”
However, we all know what hiding really is: procrastination, perfectionism and insecurity, dressed up as diligence. It takes balls to come out of hiding and say: “I want more”. Often, we don’t want to hear any negative responses, so we avoid putting ourselves in the spotlight.
But, we bet you know you’re more than capable of doing more. Not physically doing more, but progressing, learning and taking on more responsibility.
So how can you stop hiding?
The important first step is to stop making excuses and take charge of your situation. Recognise that your own internal monologue may be the only thing that is actually holding you back from the next stage in your career.
You might lack confidence generally – or specifically in the workplace – but you have to find confidence in your competence and ability. You really are capable of more than you’re doing right now.
Work out what it is you want and why
Do you want to take on additional responsibility to help line you up for a promotion or pay rise? Do you want to take part in some training, to make you more efficient in your work?
Notice if there are any inefficiencies within your team or department that you might be able to help with. Is there an aspect of work that is continuously forgotten about, or one that no one else seems prepared to take responsibility for?
Notice these problems and think about some potential solutions; how you would manage them or delegate workload differently?
Go to your line manager or boss and broach these subjects with them. Make it a discussion rather than a question – talk about your career goals and how you see yourself fitting into the company’s future.
You don’t necessarily have to wait for the green light to take on certain tasks. Take initiative, and do what needs to be done before someone asks you (or somebody else) to do it. It’s likely that your foresight and analytical skills will be appreciated and noticed.
Most of all, remember to do what’s best for you. If it’s going to help you get further in your line of work, push yourself out of hiding and get what you really want from your career.
Are you stuck in your comfort zone? Read our tips for breaking out of habit and finding comfort in discomfort.