6 Behaviors Sabotaging Your Career Climb

Are you sabotaging your career without realizing it? I think that in many ways, we don’t totally realize just how much our thoughts and unconscious behaviors really matter when it comes to our success. We often believe that success comes down to our actions—without considering just how much those actions are influenced by the thoughts and subtle behaviors that lead us there.

If you want to change the way you behave and think to transform into a more successful person, it starts with recognizing where you might be sabotaging yourself!

Here are six behaviors you want to avoid if you want a successful career.


6 Damaging Behaviors to Avoid for Career Success

1) You avoid pain at all costs.

Pain is inevitable. Whether it’s a professional loss, a firing, a disappointing outcome, an embarrassment, or simply the pain of dealing with a frustrating situation, it can be overwhelming at times. Even when you achieve success, you may find yourself feeling unhappy, even pained, if you feel as though you are not getting the recognition for your efforts you deserve or that you have not been rewarded for your hard work.

The professional world is nuanced and it can take a toll on us mentally, emotionally, and psychologically.

This can bring out issues that we didn’t even know we were dealing with—things that we didn’t realize were a problem. It can lead to irrational decision-making, acting on emotional impulse, and being unable to evaluate decisions and circumstances objectively.

We have to be sure that we’re dealing with pain and tackling these sore spots head-on so that they don’t fester into resentment or deep-set problems that will hinder our ability to move forward.

2) You mistake dreaming big for making moves.

Ambition is a beautiful thing. Professionals who want to climb the ladder, strike out on their own, and achieve something bigger are great. However, we don’t need to falsely believe that our ambitions are the same thing as making progress. Dreaming big isn’t the same thing as actually making progress. You have to actually take action! Don’t let your intent trick you into a standstill.

3) You don’t value or invest in yourself.

A problem that many professionals run into is a lack of value and investment in themselves. This can manifest in a lot of different ways, but one of the most dangerous is very subtle. It happens when they always put other people before themselves. They never feel comfortable asserting their own needs and desires, and as a result, they never have time to enrich their professional lives. These kinds of people often suffer from burnout and feel as though others are passing them by.

That's because they are.

An unwillingness to invest in yourself and assert yourself—your worth and your place—will mean you will be passed over. Take the time, effort, and expense it takes to enrich your professional life. Help yourself first sometimes. Take your needs into account. Sometimes, that’s what you have to do to succeed.

4) You aren’t working on your communication skills.

Every business is, at its core, a people business. Because of this, communication is absolutely integral to success. For you, you may be struggling at work because you just aren’t a great communicator. This isn’t something you can’t change, either. You can work on it and grow.

This is true in every industry—you can be wildly successful, skilled, and accomplished, but if your communication is poor, tone-deaf, or a turn-off, you will sabotage your success. Start learning how to communicate with different people, how to understand communication needs, and what it takes to engage and inspire others. This will take your career a long, long way.

5) You’re predisposed to fail.

Can someone really be predisposed to fail? What I mean by this is that you have already made your mind up about the outcome before you’ve even really begun. Professionals who have a mindset of negativity greatly impact the trajectory of their work without even knowing it. If you go into something with a negative attitude, whether it’s believing things will go wrong or that it will fail, it’s more likely to happen.

Why is this? If you feel unhappy, resentful, or generally negative, that colors your perception of things. If this is how you feel on a subconscious level, and you have convinced yourself that this is how things are, it most certainly taints your results. You expect the worst. You then focus on the bad, what could go wrong, what is going wrong, and everything terrible. You set yourself up for failure because of bad expectations from the start. You don’t really want to succeed, because subconsciously, you want your bias reinforced.

This is why a positive attitude is so important. Even if the positive outcome happens regardless of a negative attitude, all it will gain you is extra stress!

6) You believe you deserve success.

Lastly, a final sabotaging behavior is a sense of entitlement. If you believe that your success is deserved from the get-go, you are already starting from a bad place. Why?

Entitlement comes from a place of superiority. You have to believe that you are better or more deserving of something than the people around you. Not only can this attitude damage your working relationships, but it can be catastrophic to you relationally and emotionally when you do not get what you want.

Ego is the downfall of many professionals. It turns many away and leads to bad decisions all the time. Rather than thinking about what you deserve, think about what you can contribute.

What behaviors have you had to change in order to succeed? Share your story of growth and success in the comments.