If your career looks anything like mine, you’ve spent more than your fair share of time watching other people around you get promoted while you stay put. It can feel sometimes like you’re stuck in career quicksand. And, If you’re like me, I’m willing to bet that you occasionally (often?) look around the table during company meetings and scratch your head at some of the people that seem to be rising up the corporate ladder ahead of you. Related: 7 Reasons Why You Lost That Promotion It hurts, I know. For smart, ambitious managers and aspiring executives, there is very little that's more painful than watching your peers jump ahead of you – especially when you’re sure they’re less talented than you are. To make matters worse, major promotions seem to be increasingly scarce these days as our organizational structures get flatter and flatter, which means you have fewer opportunities than ever to make big advances in your career. As managers, we too often fool ourselves into thinking the company will eventually recognize and reward our hard work and reliability, and as a result we adopt overly passive career strategies. We mistakenly assume that people are paying attention to our dependable work and value it enough to promote us. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality of the environment we work in. To actually get ahead in a company these days you need to actively differentiate yourself from your peers. You have to find creative ways to separate yourself from the pack that go well beyond the fundamentals of working hard and being reliable - you have to outplay them to win. Here are three of the most effective strategies for differentiating yourself at work. They aren’t predicated on intelligence or talent or hard work to be successful either. You don’t need a special degree to learn these tactics. You can implement them tomorrow. They worked for me, and I think they can work for you, too.