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It doesn’t much matter where you are in your career at the moment. You can be a well-established pro who knows his income ought to be higher. Or you can be a beginner coming out of the gate and trying to make your way…as long as you have your thinking straight and are serious about your career, you can hit the multiple 6-figure income mark, and shoot toward the 7-figure mark.

I’ve spent 13 years in the career field, and before that, I was a hiring manager for 18 years. I’ve been doing this a long time. The longer I’m in this field, working with the top executives, I have discovered that there are three “uncomfortable truths” about why most executives never will reach their full earning potential.

Truth #1: The highest income people tend to get paid more for who they are than what they do.

You are not entitled to a high income. Just because you have your law degree…your doctorate degree…your certification in whatever… and 20 years of experience…etc. This does not mean you will automatically get paid more.

Think about athletes. Derrick Rose, who plays for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA, is one of the highest paid athletes—even though he has been cursed with injuries most of his career. Tim Tebow, whose career in the NFL never put him in the same category of the best athletes, made millions in endorsements. Why? Simply for being “Tim Tebow.”

So building up who you are is vastly more important than what you do or your competency level. It seems to be more about building up what many call a “thought leadership” reputation.

Truth #2: The path to higher income and more opportunity is NOT in working to become a better “doer of your thing.” It’s in working on your CAREER.

In other words if you are focused on becoming better and better at being a Regional Sales Manager, a Director of Operations, a CFO, a you-name-it…thinking that this will lead you to better income and a better life, well you are self-sabotaging yourself from joining the ranks of “wealthy” status.

There is no such automatic link or entitlement. It’s just not how business works. Nor is there a threshold that can be met and crossed before you are entitled to great money.

So the first quantum breakthrough in status and income is making the mental, emotional and actual shift from “doer of thing” to “marketer of self.” Now I know, you’re not comfortable with tooting your own horn – most great leaders are very humble – but the ones that make the most money understand that they must get known to get paid.

The second quantum shift is moving from “doing work for money” to designing, developing and building a high-profile career. By high-profile I mean, a process for monetizing your skill sets, managing your customer/client relationships (both internal and external!), and developing assets.

But the most important point to grasp here is that technical excellence does not automatically bring excellent income.

Power is what brings it. That is having customers/clients/company owners seeking you out and paying your full compensation without resistance. Power also brings status, top income, and wealth.

Power is rarely give in recognition of skill. It is taken by application of business principles. Executives who refuse to learn these principles, who turn their back on them in favor of working on becoming a better “doer of their thing,” who will not control and use them, are doomed forever to always be seeking (“work”) and rightly worrying that the big payday may never come.

Truth #3: An old one: The definition of INSANITY is: doing the same things the same way over and over again while hoping for different results.

You need to be willing to look for and accept a different approach—even a different concept of yourself and the way you do business. That different approach may include a fundamental change in the way you think of yourself, your role, your career, and the way you present yourself to your current employer and potential employers.

Some of it might feel uncomfortable. It certainly will be different from what you see others in your same profession/business/category doing.

At the risk of being obvious, one way you fundamentally increase your income is by increasing your value to those who pay you money – your employer. But most executives invest all their energy in only one means of increasing their value: doing “their thing” better.

This is akin to trying to lose weight, keep it off, and be healthier only by reducing the quantity of calories, carbs and fat you eat—with no changes in physical movement, exercise, food choices, nutrition, nutritional supplementation and mental attitude management.  Yes, you can lose some weight by doing just one thing to further and further extremes, but as any dieter will attest, you hit a wall when no more pounds can be lost even if you eat nothing but a leaf of lettuce with a squirt of lemon for dinner every night.

Sorry, but getting better and better and better at your “thing” will slam you into an income barrier and will NEVER lift you over that wall.

You need to increase your value to your employer in a multitude of ways in order to multiply your income and demand for your talent.

If you want to leap-frog to a much higher income, then you must master marketing of yourself, use a more sophisticated approach to your career and your work with your internal/external customers (interpret as “everyone you work with and for”) and focus on learning the strategies that are proven to catapult wealth.

Land your next six figure job in weeks, not months.

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