I’m not saying you’re doing it consciously. Most often it’s totally unconscious.
We don’t mean to hold ourselves back. We don’t set out to undermine our own success. We don’t deliberately undersell our brilliance or let the best opportunities pass us bye… but I’ve seen it happen. And I’ve experienced it myself more than once.
So how does it happen? Some call it self-sabotage.
It’s when we unconsciously hold beliefs about ourselves or about the environment that we operate in that are at odds with our goals and ambitions. We make automatic assumptions that prevent us from following the path we really want to take.
I see many smart, super talented, ultra experienced professional women get stuck languishing in middle management roles, unable to unlock the code to taking the next step in their career. Some of the work we do is to introduce tactics and strategies to overcome the very real challenges that stand in their way.
But the thing that makes the biggest difference is working on the inner game; the limitations and obstacles we place in our own way.
Here are some of the assumptions and beliefs that limit success and make the work of following your career aspirations that much harder.
Are you ruling yourself out with one of these 5 beliefs?
1. I’m not ready yet. This one has been a personal favourite. For many years I told myself (and others) that I wasn’t ready. I held myself back from potential opportunities and promotions – even when I was being encouraged to apply by senior leaders. I believed I needed to know more and to have more experience which in hindsight was based purely in fear not in reality.
In reality, very often we are ready. Research shows that women tend to grossly underestimate their abilities and rule themselves out of more senior roles even when they are more qualified or experienced than the eventual winning candidate.
And speaking from experience… there is nothing more frustrating when this happens.
2. There are limited opportunities. When we tell ourselves this … we make it true. It’s like a dead end. A full stop. You’re telling yourself you may as well not even look because there isn’t anything for me.
When we make this assumption our energy is one of lack. Now this may be getting a little “Woo Woo” for some, but I believe we either attract or repel opportunities and people to us based on our energy.
So let’s maximise our opportunities by upping our energy and open up to the unexpected opportunities that will only come to you when you are open and surrounding yourself with an energy and attitude of possibility.
3. I’m too busy. The epidemic of busy continues to zap our time and our energy but to what end? If you were to do a quick 60 second audit of what has kept you busy today – has your busyness contributed to your health, happiness, fulfilment or personal or professional growth?
Are you busy doing what is most important to you?
Are you busy doing what will bring you joy, fulfillment and meaning?
Are you busy doing work that will contribute to your career progression?
Or have you become stuck in the busyness of life and checking off your to do list?
The assumption of “I’m too busy” is an easy one to come to because we all live it every day. Being consciously aware of what keeps us busy is an important first step.
And if you know that the difference between a good career and an exceptional career is where you focus your time, energy and resources… how would you allocate your time, energy and resources differently?
4. I might fail. Yes you might! There is a risk of this anytime we step outside our comfort zone and do something we haven’t done before. But you might also excel! Imagine that!
And even if you do stumble, you are way more resilient than you might at first think.
We have a choice of settling for where we are or to take a chance on ourselves. I have done both and I can say the pain and discomfort of playing small is way more unpleasant than the pain and discomfort of stepping out, taking a chance and being seen.
If the fear of failure comes up for you – ask yourself “If I did, could I handle it?” Undoubtedly the answer is almost always YES.
5. I can’t afford it. This one is big. I can’t afford to attend the conference I really want to go to. I can’t afford to take that holiday that would really help me to pause, reflect and decompress. I can’t afford to invest in a development program or mentoring that would really help me to up level.
When we say we cant – we make it true and we immediately shut off the opportunity.
Imagine instead asking the question; “How might I?” This one simple shift opens up possibility, creative solution finding and choice. In my experience, when we want something badly enough, there is always a way…. (maybe sell off some of the items cluttering up the shed or spare room to get you started!)
Which of these beliefs ring true for you? Could they be slowing your progress or standing in your way of what you really want?
Ladies, creating a career we love and leading our way is tough enough in the current day corporate environment… let’s not make it any harder on ourselves. These simple beliefs and assumptions too often stand in our way and rule us out of the game, even before the game gets started.