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We all like to think we have our own best interests at heart when it comes to advancing our careers. But actually, there are a whole lot of unconscious traits you could be succumbbing to that make a big difference to how far you can go. It's true we can sometimes be our own worst enemies - without even realizing how much we’re sabotaging our chances of success. So check this list to see if you can identify any of these career-halting traits in yourself - I know I had to take a hard look in the mirror!
Wanting Instant Results
In today’s 24-7, "insta" culture, the pace of life has accelerated. We have instant access to anything we can dream of, so naturally, when it comes to achieving big results in your career, it can be hard to accept that they take time. If you’ve ever begun a major venture or a new job with buckets of enthusiasm, only to find that you rapidly lose interest and motivation if it isnt an instant success, it could be time to re-evaluate. Nothing worth having ever came easy, and developing determination, the ability to brush off rejection and the self-insight to take each mistake as a lesson is definitely something that sets successful people apart from the rest. This reminds me of a great Buffet quote " “Successful Investing takes time, discipline and patience. No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time: You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” You have to invest. It's over the long haul that you create a work ethic and a good reputation. So, be persistent, and make sure that your short-term goals are realistic to avoid this pitfall.
Waiting for the right time
If you’re one of life’s planners, you may become fixated on finding the ‘right time’ to pursue a career goal. Well, here is the secret - there is never a perfect time other than right now! While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being prepared, doing your research or learning the new skills you may need, if you have all of those tools at your disposal and you’re still worrying about when to hit the green light? You need to take a deep breath and go for it. I will tell you that when I started my blog and this whole social media journey I started in the back of a cab in New York City (See my first ever insta post). I had never been on any form of social media. I didn't even have a Facebook page (until the middle of 2017!!) The result, I figured it out, and you will too! Don’t turn careful planning into procrastination by waiting for all the stars to align. Jump in, and use any failures as a valuable part of your learning process. Whatever your area of focus you can find the information you need to get started in your chosen career with resources like Style Collective for bloggers, findlaw.com for legal jobs, engineerjobs.com for engineering jobs or government jobs in this blog post. Pick your career and leap! You will find the resources you need to help you soar!.
Compare yourself to others
Have you ever heard “comparison is the thief of joy”? That quote has never been truer in this social media age, where the outward appearance of everyone doing well and having the time of their lives in the process can distort reality and make us feel isolated. In your career especially, you may be comparing yourself to individuals who are much further down the line than you - but they didn’t get there overnight. Don’t let this make you feel discouraged. Take some time to refocus on where you are right now and how you can take steps to keep you on the track you want to be on. Also recognize that your path is not the same as others and that is a blessing because only you can walk your path. I will tell you that I never would have thought a 41 year old lawyer would have a place online or in social media but there is a place for each of us and each of our unique stories! Plus this time that you may see as "wasted" I promise it is preparing you for what God has for your in the future. Nothing is ever wasted if you continue to learn through tough times.
You try to go it alone
Wanting to be independent and forge your own success is an admiable trait, and one that drives many stellar careers. But take a look at your role models and you’ll realize that many of them did not get to where they are without accepting some form of help. Learning and collaborating with others is a key strength. Asking questions and seeking information and support will only make you stronger, so don’t try to be an island. I knew when I started this blogging journey I would need help. I found an amazing tribe of women through Style Collective that made this process so much more fun and worthwhile because they not only were amazing women but they came alongside and helped me every step of the way. You can probably do it alone, but isn't it always better with friends?
I would love to hear your best tips to avoid career self-sabotage in the comments!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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