The Inner Game of Succeeding as a Business Analyst

Succeeding as a business analyst takes more than just knowing all the right questions and techniques. It also requires getting your mindset right – this is what is called the inner game.

I also share how certifications really can help you with your inner game, when you approach them with the right mindset.


For those who like to read instead of watch, here’s the full text of the video:

This is Laura Brandenburg, the creator of Bridging the Gap.  Today, I wanted to talk about inner game stuff.  I’m going to read from “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles. The book was given to me by my mentor, Amira Alvarez. There was a piece in here when I read this book, I was like, my community – we need to hear this!  I felt I would be doing you a disservice if I did not immediately take that and get that out to you.  So, here we go.

 “The man who is certain to advance is the one who is too big for his place and who has a clear concept of what he wants to be, who knows that he can become what he wants to be, and who is determined to be what he wants to be. Do not try to fill more than your present place with a view to pleasing your employer. Do it with the idea of advancing yourself.

Hold it in such a way that every person who comes into contact with you, whether foreman, fellow workmen, or social acquaintance, will feel the power of purpose radiating from you so that everyone will get the sense of advancement and increase from you. People will be attracted to you and if there is no possibility for advancement in your present job, you will very soon see an opportunity to take another job.”

At Bridging the Gap, we help people get started in business analysis careers. This getting started, this advancing in a career role, this going from where you are now to doing business analysis in a bigger and better way, or doing it for the first time, this is about what that first part was of advancing, of being too big for your current place.

If you’re feeling frustrated by some of the work that you’re doing today, what you’re really feeling is too big for your current place.

This is a sign that it’s time for you to grow.

It’s a time for you to grow. How do you do that?

A lot of times we wait for an organization to come to us and say, “Can you do something else? Can you do this special thing?” What is important from what’s in here is that we hold it in such a way that every person who comes in contact with you will feel that purpose radiating from you.

This is why, if you want to get started as a business analyst, learn all the techniques. Absorb that learning.

See yourself as a business analyst right now.

Start to radiate that from the inside out. Then people will start to see that and will start to see you as a business analyst as well.

That last part is really important. Some of you are in organizations where it kind of feels like the cards are stacked against you. There’s not a lot of growth, not a lot of opportunity, or it’s just an icky environment for whatever reason.

And, so, trusting that if there’s not a possibility or an opportunity that unfolds in your current role, that same work, that same way of filling more than your space and radiating out that sense of purpose is going to help you find an opportunity in another organization.

Some of the practical ways we see people do that is by volunteering and taking extra responsibilities above and beyond their current job role by not working within the profession and meeting other business analysts. The kind of things that put you in contact with people, that, because you’re radiating that new sense of purpose, have that opportunity to see that in you and help you take that next step, and create those tentacles and things that will create that new reality for you on the outside, like you see yourself on the inside.

I just wanted to share that with you. I think it’s an important part of our inner game. As we think about how do we move forward in our careers? How do we always be taking that next step and advancing our careers and, of course, getting the salary, and the responsibilities, and the authority, and the reputation, and all the good stuff that comes with that.

How Certifications Support Your Inner Game

In our profession, we see a lot of people go for certifications to get this external view of, “That person’s really credentialed,” or “That person must know what they’re doing. They’ve got their CBAP®. They’ve got their PBA. They’ve got their PMP.” Whatever that is.

I have my CBAP®. I’m not against certifications, but I don’t think they have that effect that we really want them to have. So, they can have this false sense of, “Oh, now I have my CBAP®, now what?” People aren’t magically knocking on my door offering me tons of business analyst opportunities.

The interesting thing is the people who take that application process to the CBAP® super seriously, like super seriously, and allow it to not just be an academic process, but to be a process of, “Look at all this stuff that I’ve done in business analysis.”

If you’re not familiar with the application process, you go through this entire book for the CBAP®, the BABOK® Guide version 3. It’s quite thick – a few hundred pages. You need to, as part of the application, show how your experience lines up with what’s in that book.

When you do that, and not just an academic, “Somebody said I could kind of fudge it this way,” but an actual appreciation of your business analyst skills. That gives you that presence of, “look at how awesome I am.”

It feels like my current place and my present place.

It gives you that sense of purpose that allows you to radiate out that energy and that confidence because now you’re like, “I’ve actually done a lot of what’s in that book. Ha, look at that.” And, so, the confidence comes as a result of that. The confidence comes as a result of realizing the value of your skills and believing it on the inside.

Then, the CBAP®, once you take the exam and finish your application and prepare for it, the preparation process also feeds into that. Now, you’re learning it on a completely nuanced level and applying what you’ve learned.

The best way that I’ve seen people apply for the CBAP®, and what I did, was take every little piece in that book (I did version 2), and how does that relate to my own personal experience, and how can I internalize what that book is telling me about business analysis through the filter of my own experience so that it locks stuff in. What I’m doing when I do that is appreciating the value of my own skills and my own experience and cementing, for myself, how much I know about business analysis.

Then you go through all that, and then you get the letters behind your name, but then you can own them too, because it means something to you and you’ve experienced that transformation along the way, that confidence that it comes from just knowing your skills.

Inner game work is super important in career advancement. We teach a lot of the outer game stuff in our training. How do you do business analysis? What do these terms mean? How do you put together requirements models? All of that is important, but the inner game stuff is what allows you to take that learning and make sure it creates new career opportunities for you in your work environment.

Just wanted to share this message with you. Thank you for being part of Bridging the Gap. Have a great week. We help you start your business analysis career, inner and outer game.

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