By Sunny Simon

     Think your big break is never going to occur? Listen up. Stop the negativity and get prepared! You never know when fate is going to tap you on the shoulder to take your place on stage.  Whether it’s waiting in the wings for your major acting role, or sitting in the dugout hoping that coach calls your name, ready yourself to step up.

     Recently a fellow named Scott Foster was waiting on the bench. On Thursday March 29th, Scott, a CPA in his day job and part of the recreational goaltenders who staff home games for the Chicago Blackhawks, got the call. Due to injuries on the team, Scott was put in the game for an amazing 14 minutes as an emergency goalie. During that time he blocked all seven attempts on goal and a crowd of over 20,000 chanted his name.

     How did our hockey hero position himself for this opportunity? He laid the groundwork. Are you positioned  for your next big move? Perhaps you’re vying for your first leadership role. Worried you’ll be passed over when an opening occurs? Well you won’t be if, like Scott, you suit up and take a place on the bench. 


     Moving into a leadership position begins with honing your people skills. If managing a staff does not feel natural at this point, no worries. Leadership is a skill that can be learned and developed. Springboard into position by exhibiting passion for the work you produce. Enthusiasm is contagious and people will notice and respect your diligence.

     Learn from other leaders. Look around your organization and identify the best of the best, then study those role models. What qualities does Manager X possess that makes others want to support and follow? Make a list of those attributes and emulate X’s behavior. Remember leadership is indentified in words and attitudes.

     To be considered for a promotion, you also need to have some wins under your belt. Have you successfully managed some projects, contributed on a cross-functional team or stepped in while your manager was on vacation? Be on the lookout for opportunities to position yourself as a leader.

     Rate your communication skills. If you’re not scoring a ten out of ten, work on your listening and verbal skills. Leaders direct with clarity. Make sure you articulate your vision clearly. And as I mentioned earlier, suit up. That means identifying with the mission and being a solid member of the team.

     Keep fine-tuning your skills, get in the ready position and one day you’ll be called off the bench to perform. Good luck! Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at