Career Problems that are Mindset Problems

Your career is part of you. It is not separate from you, it is not someone else’s decision or responsibility. You have the opportunity and responsibility every day to take charge and decide how it’s going to make you feel and how successful you are going to be.


I know this is a tough pill to swallow. There are a lot of outside factors that get in the way of us taking responsibility for our careers. I know this because I used to think this way too. I used to think it was on my manager, or the company I work for, or because the market was so competitive and challenging right now, and oh yes, I saw something in the Metro that said the stock exchange was turbulent, again. 


Now don’t get me wrong, I have this disclaimer in too many of my blogs, but yes there are some serious systemic issues and injustices going on in the workplace. This is in our way, it has been and will be for some time. However, I am talking about what we can do in spite of this. Yes I identify as a woman, yes I believe that the landscape is slowly shifting and yes there are still too many outdated approaches to business, management, hiring, promoting, and firing that maintain this gap. But I also believe it is our responsibility and opportunity to take it upon ourselves to at least make sure that we do not get in our own way. 


Let me show you how….


When I look back on my career overall I absolutely loved the experiences I had, but it wasn’t always sunshine and roses. I experienced burnout at the same time as one of my big promotions. I felt stagnant, frustrated, underpaid, and lost at the same time as I was achieving top biller and supporting the build of a team. It was a paradox, and overall I had this feeling like my career was happening to me and not because of me.


Then one day something shifted. I realised this mindset was actually really unhelpful. The way I was perceiving everything was in fact creating obstacles. These obstacles were impacting my contentment, and happiness at work and stopping me from enjoying or appreciating my success and the people who helped me get there.


I realised my feelings were feedback, but that I didn’t need to stay in these feelings. That as soon as the feedback was heard it was then up to me to take action. 


I shifted my mindset from I can’t take this anymore, into this doesn’t have to be forever, but let’s enjoy the ride. 


Here are some common negative, scarcity or fixed mindsets I see and how you can change them. 



  • “I can’t stand my manager, we’ve outgrown each other.”



Try this: “I don’t have to like them but I can respect, or at least tolerate and learn from them.”

If you work for a manager that you don’t like, then this can really impact the way you feel about work. The phrase ‘people leave their manager not a job’ is unfortunately true. The challenge with people is that they can drain your energy and trigger the hell out of you, especially if that person is your manager. However, it’s important to see that they are also just a person, with their own triggers, challenges and pressures coming from their boss. I have learnt the hard way that confiding, complaining and venting doesn’t provide a long term solution, just temporary relief. They will still keep being there and still keep triggering you.


A powerful shift in thinking is to acknowledge what they are triggering within you. How do they make you feel and what value or injustice is that highlighting in you? If they didn’t have their title how would their actions make you feel and how would you deal with them? How would someone you admire and respect deal with them? How can you emulate that approach in your work to make it easier for you? Finally, if you still need further resolution, can you change your situation, ask for a transfer, change teams or projects and remove yourself from them?


  • “No where else will pay me as well.”



Try this: “Since this company recognizes my value, so will others.”


So you’re thinking about moving on but the idea of looking, going through the whole search process and then getting paid your value feels pretty overwhelming huh? I totally understand. Those golden handcuffs can become bitter-sweet after a while. You see, the money isn’t the bind, it’s the way it’s making you feel. What this really means is I don’t think I can get as well paid because I’m not sure how to communicate my value, I know this place like the back of my hand and I really don’t want to have to start all over. 


Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and it’s okay to be comfortable, the moment you realise it that comfort blanket starts to feel like a stray jacket. Am I right or am I right? It’s literally like being trapped in a blanket during movie night and you suddenly went from not moving for 2 hours to being completely claustrophobic. Do something about it before it gets too bad! Why? Because if you wait until you are desperate you risk so much. 


So why aren’t you doing something about it yet? Because the risk doesn’t outweigh the reward. Yet. Shift your mindset and get proactive. A move out of desperation will keep you there. 



  • “No one has mentioned the internal role to me so it probably means they already have someone lined up.” 



Try this: “I miss a 100% of the opportunities I do not apply for.”


Sure they may have someone else lined up. Sure they maybe haven’t got around to telling you. Probably, they hadn’t even thought of you. YET. 


It’s on YOU to demonstrate your willingness for opportunities. Yup I said it. It’s all on you. Yes there will be the superstars who are just naturally gifted at their craft. Amazing. Good for them. But so what, they will be making up for a small percentage of the task force and management would be short-sighted to rely on that for succession planning. Why should that means you get overlooked, or you don’t get a chance to demonstrate your interest, value, and willingness?


Too often do I hear about people missing out on opportunities because someone else is more ‘in’ with the management team. That’s okay if it’s not your style, but getting higher up the ranks does involve being at least noticed by the right people. This is not about people-pleasing, becoming a yes man, or neglecting your peers. It is about using your voice, communicating your wins, success, and becoming a valuable member of the team - hint you already are, but you have to believe it. This means showing your presence and energy, helping others and communicating your expertise. Let the powers that be KNOW that you are ready and interested.


If you are that person who is naturally gifted in your craft, then watch out, someone else who WANTS it more could still get it before you.


It’s not the cards you get dealt, it’s always about how you play them. 


If you liked what you read but struggle with your confidence, ability to let yourself be seen, and feel like an imposter then career and life coaching could be for you. Schedule a free chemistry call with me here to discuss.

Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

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