On one hand, a promotion would be a huge level up in your career. It would come with more direct reports, open new doors, give you greater opportunities, and expose you to senior management.
On the other hand, can you handle it? Would the stress be too much? Can you stomach the pressure, fire drills, and politics? Would you really want the responsibility that come along with leading a bigger team?
Here are a few exercises that can help nudge you towards clarity for whatever decision you might be facing.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited do you get when you think about Option A ( 1 being none, 10 being impossible – 5 is not an option!). Then, on a scale of 1-10, how rewarding do you think it would be? Do the same for Option B. What do your responses tell you?
Think about your future self
When you look back on this in a year, what will you regret not doing? Let’s also say there’s a version of you in the future who is already successful and happy? What would that version of yourself advise you to do?
Fall back on your values
Your core values represent what’s most important to you. Examples of core values include freedom, diversity, stability, family, or calmness. Think about your number one core value. Which action or decisions is more aligned with or brings you closer to that core value?
For one day, act as if you’ve chosen Option A. Observe how you think and feel – relieved, a knot in your stomach, excitement, dread? Then, for another day, try on Option B. Take stock of your reactions.
Make a snap judgment
On a piece of paper, write down this decision as a yes/no answer (“Will taking the promotion make me happy?”). Write “yes/no” below the question, and leave a pen nearby. After a few hours, come back to the paper and immediately circle your answer.
Walkthrough the worst-case scenario
For each option, ask yourself, what is the WORST that could happen? How likely is it to happen? How would you handle it if the worst did happen?
Making a big career decision is a balance between head and heart. Spreadsheets and pro/con lists are great, but sometimes there’s no replacement for making space to hear yourself. That’s exactly why these exercises focus on getting you to mine your emotional responses for data.
After all, at the end of the day, only you know what your best next step is.