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The Unspoken Law of Career Leverage

If you were given the choice, what would you prefer:

Would you opt for 60-hour workweeks over 7 years, barely making progress, or work strategically for 6 months and earn a promotion?

While the latter seems the clear choice, many of us find ourselves stuck in the former.

We fall victim to the belief that hard work is the only solution, there are no shortcuts, and we should pay our dues.

But the reality is we are rewarded for the results we produce, not the effort and time we put in.

And that means that while work ethic is important, there is a much better strategy for rapid career growth and overall success.

It’s called career leverage.

What is Leverage?

The word leverage gets tossed around often, but do you actually know what it is?

Leverage is a force multiplier. It means you can invest the same amount of time or effort, but get better returns.

To quote Alex Hormozi:

If you want to get more out, you either have to put more effort in, or find a way to multiply your efforts. The catch is that a human can only use so much effort. But there are unlimited opportunities to create leverage.

You can create leverage by investing in yourself, networking with people who have leverage, or spending money to learn faster.

For example, working with a coach is a form of leverage. You learn faster, avoid pitfalls, and get the results you want sooner. I hired a business coach in my second year in business, and that lever helped me double my revenue much faster than expected.

The 3 Types of Career Leverage

So how does leverage show up in your career?

Career leverage is the ability to maximize the impact of your efforts and resources to advance in your career.

It involves strategically identifying opportunities, skills, and relationships that can propel your career forward while minimizing wasted time and energy on tasks that don't contribute to your goals.

Career leverage means working smarter, not just harder, by focusing on activities that generate the most value and impact for your career trajectory. It includes things like prioritization, effective networking, strategic thinking, streamlining processes, and amplifying your influence.

There are 3 types of career leverage:

1. Resource Leverage:

  • Skills and Expertise

  • Time Management

  • Technology and Automation

  • Education and Continuous Learning

Resource leverage is all about optimizing and maximizing your personal resources and skills to grow your career.

Skill development on its own, provides very little leverage. It’s a table-stakes requirement for leveling up. However, developing skills that position you as an authority, make you more efficient, and allow you to learn and adapt faster, is how you’ll get outsized returns (a.k.a leverage).

How do you develop the right skills?

It’s a combination of having clarity about what you are trying to achieve (and who you want to become) and understanding business needs. You can develop the first by putting together a career growth strategy, and the latter, by connecting with the right stakeholders.

2. Relationship Leverage:

  • Network and Relationships

  • Personal Branding

Relationship leverage involves building and nurturing a strong network of professional connections and leveraging these relationships to get access to unique opportunities, grow fast, and increase your earning potential.

I got my job at Microsoft thanks to my relationship with one of the team members. My interview process was shorter than normal, and when I negotiated an extra $25k, I got it. This opportunity shortened my time horizon for becoming a VP by 3-5 years and helped me create even more strategic relationships as part of my job.

To quote the book “Who Not How” by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy:

The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the people you have in it.

Your career is no different. You’ve heard the statistics before; 70-80% of job opportunities are filled through networking, referrals, and direct contacts rather than through formal job postings.

Building and leveraging relationships gives you access to rare opportunities, saves you time, and grows your earning potential.

You only need to do three things to tap into the power of relationships:

1) Identify the right people

2) Build an influential relationship

3) Seize opportunities

3. Strategic Leverage:

  • Value Creation

  • Leadership and Influence

  • Strategic Decision-Making

  • Adaptability and Resilience

Strategic leverage focuses on making informed decisions and taking calculated actions to create a significant impact. It’s how you demonstrate the kind of thinking that will get you to the executive suite.

Essentially, strategic leverage is learning how to create leverage for your employer (very meta, I know).

Initiatives that grow revenue, reduce costs, and increase efficiency are usually the ones that will reward you with meaningful promotions.

It is hard to create this kind of leverage without a 360-degree view. If you are not standing at the top of the mountain yet (you are not part of the leadership team), you need to gain access to this information, so you can make informed decisions.

(And guess what? You do it by building relationship leverage)

Your next steps

Imagine you spent the past year dedicating yourself to your work, putting in long hours, and doing everything you were asked to do.

As the performance review season approaches, you dream about the promotion. Surely you’ve earned it.

But despite your hard work and dedication, your colleague secures the coveted promotion.

While you were doing your job (very well), they were building a network, actively seeking out high-impact projects, and making bold decisions that drove impact.

Your colleague spent the same amount of time as you did “working”, but their actions created leverage. Every hour your colleague put into work, generated better returns and set them apart in the eyes of decision-makers.

If you want to grow your career faster, start creating leverage for yourself.

Build career moats that will set you apart, allow you to earn more, and future-proof your career.

Leverage = Same amount of effort, better results. It means you learn how to work smarter, not harder.

I believe in you and I’m rooting for you.

Maya ❤️


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