Most people, when I ask, “What is your biggest asset?” typically answer that their home is their biggest asset.
In most cases, this answer is incorrect.
Another common answer is investments they hold.
Possibly… For some.
What is the right answer for most people?
The biggest asset you have is your career.
Your career will generate the largest income over a lifetime for most people.
And if your career is managed properly, you can maximize raises, bonuses and perks for each new role you land.
Are you proactively managing your career?
Or are you letting it happen to you?
If you are of the latter group, I am going to guess that you feel underutilized, underemployed and underpaid.
If employers know you won’t ask for a raise or won’t position yourself to be qualified for the promotion, they won’t give the raise or the promotion to you.
It’s that simple.
“I can’t believe they didn’t give me that promotion” is a statement I hear often.
Sometimes it is a well-deserved promotion that didn’t go to the right person.
However, there are times where, when I follow up with the “Well, what did you do to earn the promotion?” question.
I can tell the person was banking on commitment, seniority and loyalty to secure the career bump – but the promotion went to someone who networked with the decision makers, was also committed, and already demonstrated results that were needed in the new role.
The person who received it earned it and didn’t expect it to be given.
When you take the steps to improve your skills, network with decision makers and position yourself as the winner, you are managing your career and not passively waiting for things to happen to you.
This is how you maximize your earnings – and manage your biggest asset.
Let’s think of this another way:
Think of your home. You buy a home. You do yearly maintenance. You paint every 3-5 years (or if you are in my house, every 10 years.).
Occasionally something breaks and you fix it immediately so it doesn’t get worse.
You might put in a new kitchen, update the bathroom or replace the siding on your house when you fix the roof.
All of these actions help keep, and most likely improve, the value of your home.
So back to your career – your other asset.
When was the last time you invested in your skills?
Connected with fellow executives in your company on a personal level?
Developed updated personal marketing collateral?
Met new people in your field?
Reached out to former colleagues and schoolmates?
These are all activities to keep the value of your career intact, and can also increase the value of your career when done right.
Are you managing your career as an asset?
If so, bravo!
Seriously pat yourself on your back.
And if not, you know who you are.
Don’t complain when you are not selected for the promotion or when the job search success doesn’t come easy.
Instead, look in the mirror.
And know that person looking back at you can change and put your career in management mode at anytime.