I’m continually amazed at the number of people who have a track record of preventing their own success. Professionals may get in their own way as they try to move up the career ladder. What do they do to block their own success? Here are some examples:
- Waiting too long to move out of the wrong job – Sometimes you have to accept a job you don’t want. Recent graduates may do this in order to enter the work world, but it’s in a different industry or function for which they’re prepared. The problem is to stay too long, then have great difficulty transitioning to a new career direction.
- After working 5 or 10 years in a function or industry, then getting an advanced degree, certification or training in a totally unrelated field and expect to enter at a higher level. This person has great working credentials in a function or industry they no longer want, and now have no experience in the field for which they now have an education. To make matters worse, a brand-new graduate just out of college has the advantage of being lower paid.
- Not taking the calculated risk for success – Some individuals are so risk-adverse that they don’t take on new assignments or potential promotion because they are afraid of failure. This is especially true when a new opportunity presents itself and entails a relocation. What isn’t considered is that staying in the same job, doing the same function, in the same way over time is a risk in itself as change overwhelms those who remain static.
So, what do you do to avoid blocking your own career success? Some thoughts:
- Avoid using someone else’s progress or achievements as a benchmark for you. We all march to our own drummer. You can only set your own goals and benchmarks based on your assessment of what’s possible for you.
- Avoid underestimating your brightness or self-worth. Be careful about using social media as any kind of measurement of your own confidence in what you’re able to achieve. Some people think that by putting you down, somehow pushes them up.
- Avoid the negative attitude that pulls you down in the eyes of others, like bosses, peers and subordinates. Negativity is catching and people usually don’t want to be near or around negative individuals.
- Avoid diminishing yourself – Modesty is to commended, to a point. Dismissing your achievements or minimizing your contributions within an organization is self-defeating. There’s a balance between being boastful and sharing the limelight of a job well done.
- Avoiding risk to the extent of not trying new ideas or experiences. The world will continue to move on, whether with you or not. The more you procrastinate or avoid the necessary decisions of progressive career steps, the further behind you get.
There will always be someone smarter or better than you in your field of expertise. But you are smarter and better than most others in what you do.
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