When it comes to our careers, self-sabotage can be very real. While we no doubt all want success, there are some toxic behaviors that we may not even be aware of that are holding us back from reaching our full potential in our career paths. Whether you're running your own business or looking to climb the professional ladder, there are always career moves and decisions that need to be made if we hope to advance.
Most of the time, we actually know what it is we need to do. However, we don't always take the good advice that we know will bring us the success we desire. So why do we ignore good advice? Why don't we listen to our own knowledge and know-how, the wisdom of mentors, or follow the path that is plain as day?
I have a few theories. And once you recognize what is holding you back from making the right career moves, you will better be able to take action and find success in job and career.
4 Things Holding You Back From Advancing Your Career
1) You're not truly thinking about the future.
I get the sense that a lot of us say we're planning for the future, but we don't actually do all that much to plan for it. We might give it a fleeting thought, a few bullet points to map out what we want for ourselves, but as far as actually planning and investing in our future selves and ambitions, we fall short.
I must make this distinction: thinking about and planning for the future is not the same as worrying about it. We must also live in the present even as we prepare, lest we run the risk of missing out on the here and now.
That said, human nature is very good about dealing with immediate problems and not so good at tackling things that seem far-off. Remember school projects? Most of us put projects aside, even when given months to work on them, until the proverbial eleventh hour. We just fail to feel an urgency when the future feels far off.
However, investing in the future and valuing it as much as we do the present helps you make the decisions and career moves that you really can't afford to put off.
2) You're actually really comfortable.
Comfort is the enemy of progress. Really, this can be any progress in any area of your life. When we get comfortable, we get complacent. We're okay with where we are. Comfort not only drives us to shy away from uprooting ourselves with big life-decisions, but it can stop us from our self-improvement efforts.
As a professional, I urge you: don't get too comfortable. Comfort makes us feel safe and secure, but it prevents us from "level-jumping" in the ways that we must in order to advance. You won't take risks if you're comfortable. You won't improve yourself if you're happy with where you are.
So don't be afraid of discomfort or stress: often, it is a sign that you are growing.
3) You're afraid of botching it.
Risk is inherent in every major career decision. We can wonder if we're doing the right thing or making the right moves, even when we know that we're on the right track. Even with the best opportunities before us, there can be voices making us doubt and fear that we will ruin the chances that we have.
Here's the thing: you're going to make mistakes. This should never be your reason not to step out and try to move forward. We all take on tasks we don't quite know how to do, jobs we don't feel qualified for, and take leaps of faith. There's rarely a single mistake you could make to ruin it all, and learning is part of it. Don't let fear stop you from moving forward.
4) You're feeling overwhelmed.
What else stops us from career advancement? I believe many of us can suffer from worrying about the end result before we take the first step. It's being anxious about point B before we get to point A. When we're overwhelmed by our career trajectory, even when we know where we need to go and know how we're supposed to get there, it can paralyze our progress.
When the plan is so big and so daunting, you can feel as if you'll never get there. It can be discouraging. Instead, take it all one step at a time. Remember that any movement towards your career goals is progress. Don't fret about not making it all in one fell swoop. Instead, plan for the future, but take the present one step at a time.
In your past, what has stopped you from making a big career move? Tell me what helped you overcome in the comments.