• shane@countryexec.com
  • Seguin, Texas
Awesome Professional Growth Strategy That Will Guide You Through Rejection

Awesome Professional Growth Strategy That Will Guide You Through Rejection

Navigating the day to day hurdles in the average adult life can be exhausting. Throw in kids, spouses, bosses, responsibilities, a pandemic, and it can be downright brutal. If you’re striving for professional growth that can mean additional taskings on top of everyday work taking actions to help you stand out among peers. Or maybe it’s the classes you’re pursuing to earn that degree or certification in helping you arrive at your next professional milestone. My version of adulthood is finding that balance in trying to juggle the everyday responsibilities in life. As they say adulting is hard. 

What if you are doing everything you believe is possible to get ahead professionally and there is someone that controls your future within your organization standing in your way? That very scenario happened to me in 2014. It was truly a fork in the road moment for my career. Take the red pill or the blue pill situation. Do I continue with an organization that has chosen to keep me in a box? Or do I refuse to allow someone or something to dictate who I am as a professional? If you’ve read any of my previous posts then you probably know how this played out.  

Professional growth strategy

Words Hold Power

“You are what you signed for.” That was a sentence that changed my life from the moment I first heard my manager say those words to me back in 2014. I figure there are two options when your boss says this to you, either you accept it, or you don’t. Possessing the privilege of being born Texan I am not certain it was ever a choice. Of course this was something I was not capable of accepting. From that moment moving forward I was going to show him how wrong he was. More importantly I was going to show myself.

Let me set the stage. I previously wrote about the “project that changed my life,” but I’ll provide a quick synopsis. I had recently completed a large-scale real estate/construction project for my employer (I work in IT). The effort resulted in millions of dollars saved for a purpose built IT operational facility. The initiative was on time, under budget, and all those great things you want to happen when you are a project manager.  

Know Your Value

As I wrote in that post, leading that project to success made me realize I was capable of more than I gave myself credit for. I had a bachelor’s degree at that point. Was working on a master’s. I had some experience to lean on. And I was the youngest and one of only a handful of site leads in my organization. I consider myself a bit of a late bloomer professionally, but I pretty much had it together by this point in my career. Certainly, I was bursting with confidence when I made my way through that life altering project in 2013-14. For the first time in my career I believed in what I had to offer professionally.

That professional momentum all came to a disappointing halt after I asked for a bump in pay. I had gone out and obtained a much higher paying offer. Even with the offer in hand my then employer did not sway. I didn’t wind up taking that opportunity because it was tentative on a government contract that was eventually awarded to another organization. 

Have A Chip

Upon hearing that I was what I signed for I was freed from any mental obligation I had previously and wrongly felt after ten years of employment with that organization. It didn’t make me mad, it motivated me. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder when it came to my career ever since. I believe it’s there because it is seemingly always a fight for upward mobility. Either that or I am not a patient enough man to wait on external forces to decide when and where I am ready for professional growth.

I think that mindset stems from my rural upbringing. Whatever that is inside of country folks that leads us to believe there is a constant obstacle keeping us from reaching an end goal. I suspect that may just be normal human emotion regardless of how one grows up, but I feel like I have seen more of it outside of city life. It’s a fundamental reason as to why I created this blog with a rural theme. I wanted to share with those that may come from a similar background that you can achieve although the principles apply across the board. Make no mistake I am country in my heart.

Life Lessons

I am grateful to the manager that freed me from my self applied professional prison. He’s the same person that took a chance on me as a younger man and put me in a position of authority in my then organization. The professional I am today can be directly attributed to that opportunity. He taught me an invaluable life lesson that I have never forgotten. I am loyal by nature. It took those words to wake me up and realize if I wanted something professionally, I was going to have to go out and make it happen.

If you’ve read this far down in the post, you may be wondering if I’m just going to tease that awesome professional growth strategy or if I’m actually going to state it. I wouldn’t do that to you. I want to share that life lesson so maybe it will be that much easier for you when you find yourself in a similar situation. The answer in a word is perseverance, and it manifests in many ways.  


Dictionary.com defines perseverance as a steady persistence in a course of action. A purpose or a state especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. In country terms we call this being hardheaded, and in Texas we call this a birthright. In professional terms it means to keep pushing forward. Stay the course, and do the things you feel you need to do to get to your end goal. Do not allow someone or something to derail you. Power through until you attain what it is you seek. Nobody will own your professional growth more than you.

If the boss says he or she is not going to give you that raise or promotion, ask for feedback, and use that information to your advantage. If it’s something they say you need to work on, then work on it and become an indispensable employee. And if they tell you that you are what you signed for, thank them for the opportunity to engage on the topic and continue being the best employee you can possibly be while seeking out the next challenge. You don’t have to do so hastily. If you decide to move on make sure it’s for the right reasons relevant to you and your situation. At the end of the day this leads to career ownership, where you dictate the terms of your professional existence.

Own It

Six years have passed since my former boss mentally set me free as a professional. My life has changed exponentially for the better since then. Career wise, financially, and I am fortunate I get to live the life I want in all aspects of my day. I haven’t kept in contact with him since I put in my notice to resign shortly after learning I was only going to be what I was going to be in 2014. Please know I do respect and appreciate the man for what I can only assume was an inadvertent alteration to the course of my career.

Looking back, the only way I know how to get ahead is to take control of the situation. I believe most everyone will agree if you sit back and wait for that career altering growth opportunity to fall in your lap it’s not likely that it will. Certainly not on your timetable, that’s just not how life works. If you truly want life altering professional growth seize the bull by the horns and make it happen. Own it. Dictate the terms of your career and your life, don’t allow others to do it for you. Don’t be what you signed for, be significantly more than that. Until next time thank you for reading, and please take care of yourselves and the ones you love.

The Country Executive professional growth strategy

6 thoughts on “Awesome Professional Growth Strategy That Will Guide You Through Rejection

    • Author gravatar

      This is a great post! I was motivated by loyalty to my immediate managers to stay possibly longer than I should have at a company but it was also my dedication that allowed me to be part of a group that demanded a pay review for our department (and got one) and then I decided I was going to move back to my home town (country life!) so moving on became about a much bigger move that was supported by management. I am so grateful for the support and experience I gained in that role and I now have so much more confidence going forward with my current job search! Thanks for sharing!

      • Author gravatar

        Loyalty is a funny thing, certainly there are pluses and minuses. I am loyal by nature, it is counterintuitive for me to think otherwise but I have clearly benefited from putting my career first. I believe you can have both by being a fully dedicated employee when you work for an organization, and when it’s time for the next opportunity you take those experiences moving forward while never burning bridges. Leave them wanting more. Thank you so much for the comment, and welcome back to country life!

    • Author gravatar

      Hi, real post, many of us have troubles in a leadership journey. My first difficult confrontation was with managers, when wanted to simply go home on time and she replied “that’s not a tesco job, you go when you finish”. She was right but the way she approached me was nasty. I assisted surgeons during operations, I’m aware I couldn’t disappear just like that at 5pm, however leader should make sure shifts are covered and not put extra pressure on already stressed staff. Confronting people is hard but if you can not don’t go for leadership role.

      • Author gravatar

        Hi Catherine, good leaders know how to communicate on multiple levels. Some employees require more motivation than others but I have always believed it was the responsibility of the manager to determine how to get the most out of people and proceed accordingly. Making use of words such as please and thank you when engaging in a professional context holds significant value. If nothing else the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated should always be applied, treating everyone with respect and dignity goes a long way. Thank you so much for your comment!

    • Author gravatar

      I feel like we should make rejection feel a bit more normal. In reality, we can’t always win. We have to take an L here and there. It sucks to be rejected, but that is not the end of things. You can still reach your goals in other ways, or maybe modify your goals! These are great things that you have shared! Totally agree with them!

      Nancy ✨ exquisitely.me

      • Author gravatar

        Beautifully said Nancy, I agree completely. Relatively speaking I am not certain one could know true success without failure. If we did not know otherwise success would just be “the way.” I believe failure leads to grit, gratitude, and ultimately appreciation. If we do not fail in life, have we actually tried? There’s something to be said for being knocked down in life, those that rise to the top are the ones that keep getting up and pushing forward. Thank you so much for your reply!

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