THE year is almost over and many companies are busy wrapping up their accounts as well as preparing for staff performance appraisals.

This is also the time when hardworking employees are eagerly awaiting the promotion they are hoping they will get from the company.

While some experts advocate a more confrontational approach — that is, speaking directly to the boss — to get what you want, I would like to share what worked for me when I was employed:


Identify your goals

A goal that is unclear is not only difficult for the mind to focus on, it is also easy to lose interest. Is it the position of senior vice-president or sales director that you want in the company?

Is the raise you want from the company 10 per cent, 20 per cent or 50 per cent? A general statement like “I want to be promoted” will get you nowhere.


Sell the idea to yourself

You need to convince yourself that you are worthy or deserving of this promotion. Wishing to get it is one thing; you also have to convince yourself that you want it enough to pursue it.

Mentally preparing for the promotion and speaking aloud are two different strategies and if both are employed, they can be a powerful weapon to accelerate your promotion goal.

In the first action, you begin to talk to yourself about being promoted to the role of, for example, senior vice-president, and imagine how happy you will be.

You feel the excitement of taking on a bigger role and see yourself proudly sharing the news with colleagues and loved ones.

The best time to practise this mental preparation is first thing in the morning and before retiring for bed.

Please note that practising this throughout the day is not necessary. Thinking clearly about the end in mind is far more effective.

The second action you must take is positive affirmation or speaking aloud to yourself.

This will help to reinforce the belief that your goal is attainable. If possible, stand in front of the mirror and say the words (for example, “I shall become senior vice-president”) out loud.

Your doubts and insecurities may surface, recalling some of your failures, to convince you that you should not get this promotion.

 Let your positive self-talk come to the rescue by telling yourself that you have learned from past mistakes and have become a stronger, wiser person who contributes significantly to the organisation.

Counter the negative thoughts by recalling all your successes.

Practise positive affirmation daily until it becomes a habit and, over time, blocks out your inner critics.


Live in the future

In trying to reach your goal, you may think of many reasons why it is not possible to achieve it — for example, a lack of time and resources, stiff competition, the state of the economy, and so on.

Do not let the external world influence your ability to achieve your goal. Instead, think from the perspective of success.

That means, if you were promoted or if you got the 20 per cent raise you wanted, how would you be feeling now?

Would you be more confident, happier, excited, feeling more competent, relieved, and so on? Borrow those vivid feelings from the future to motivate you in the present.


Observe, do not interfere

The laws of nature work wonderfully; they do not require human reminders or any form of intervention to speed up the process.

Before the butterfly can flap its wings, it has to move from egg to caterpillar to pupa. The whole process takes about four weeks.

Any natural or human disruptions will cause the transforming creature within to perish. 

Similarly, the goal of wanting a promotion has its own incubation period and you have to be patient and wait for the results to come at the right time.

Making attempts to “hard sell” your qualities or to try to influence key people in the organisation may backfire on you and affect the outcome you want.

Your best bet is to deliver a sterling performance and network in the right way over a period of time.


Article by Desmond Chua, associate lecturer, entrepreneur and relationship coach. He is the founder of EIMI Group (www. and can be contacted at