Making changes to your career sounds so easy, doesn’t it? You want more from your career, but making it happen and getting what you want isn’t as simple as it seems. That’s because it’s not just the practicalities getting in the way. More often, it’s you holding yourself back that’s the biggest frustration.
Thoughts like these don’t help: you want to take your career to the next level but you’re worried you’re not up to it. You’d love to change your career but what if it all goes wrong? You’d love to work in a different part of your industry but you’re not sure what you’ve got to offer. You hate your job and know you’ve got to get away but you’ve lost your confidence and you can’t seem to make the first move.
No matter how much you want change, you always come up against resistance. It’s like an invisible internal block and you just can’t move past it.
The truth is that you’re making some simple mistakes in your approach that are feeding your resistance rather than challenging it. Below are three key mistakes that will keep you stuck – if you let them!
Your resistance to change is an emotional cul-de-sac – it’s also a safe space because while you’re stuck, you don’t have to face your fears. Resistance is a form of negativity. You’re so busy backing away and saying “No!” you forget to look forward and plan what to do instead.
The first step to overcoming resistance is to switch your focus away from what you don’t like and focus on what you want. Your vision of your future might motivate you, but you’re not giving it the attention it needs. That means your ideas get lost or quashed before they’ve had time to breathe and you ignore any feelings of excitement or motivation because they don’t fit with your bleak outlook.
In the movies, there’s a pivotal moment when the hero makes a big decision and everything changes in a single moment. In real life, that rarely happens. Change is made up of a series of much smaller, more subtle events and decisions. It’s a journey, not a single event. That journey includes noticing your thoughts and feelings, deciding to change your perspective and taking small but meaningful actions. Looking back, you might see this period as a single event spread over a several weeks or months, but it’s actually a journey.
If you continue to make these mistakes, nothing will change for the good. To shape your future, recognise the mistakes in your approach so you can make small adjustments to your behaviour. This will take you on an upward spiral of renewed confidence and give fresh perspective on your situation. Resistance will fall away as you become energised and uplifted by a new belief that change is possible and that you can have what you want.
These 7 tips will help you make the transition from resistance to action so you can finally get what you want from your career.
Just like resistance, struggle can also become a habit. You get so used to work and life being hard that you accept it.
But once you notice that you’ve accepted struggle as the norm, you can’t carry on living that way. You simply have to change! Because if you don’t, you’ll be giving in to self-pity and defeatism. You’re not someone who likes to sit around feeling sorry for themselves, right? You want more and you’re going to get it!
The first step to leaving the struggle behind is to start looking for evidence that there’s more and better and that it’s available to you. Once you recognise you’ve set your sights too low, change will be inevitable.
You’ll no longer be able to hide behind the excuse that ‘Life is hard’ or ‘I’ll never get anywhere!’ That kind of miserable thinking will become impossible to give into any more. It’s time for change. You can have a more fulfilling career, a job you love and more enjoyment from your work.
When you leave the struggle behind, you’ll be taking the first step to having more, simply because you’ve recognised your own negativity.
Knowing you’re miserable isn’t enough to push you into making changes. You need something to pull you forward as well.
If you don’t have a positive vision, you’ll always fall back into the familiarity of struggle. That’s because as soon as you stop feeling quite so miserable, you’ll no longer have any impetus to keep changing.
It’s a bit like running to get away from a lion that’s chasing you. When you’re far enough away and you’re no longer in danger, you stop running. But then the lion catches up with you, so you run again. Eventually, you realise that running away will only alleviate the immediate problem, it won’t make it go away completely.
To get away from the lion, you need to get to a better place – one where the threat will be removed. When you know where that place is, then you can run with more purpose. Now you’re running toward what you want, not just away from what you don’t like.
Of course, your job isn’t a lion! But having an inspiring and motivating vision of what you want will drive you forward and allow you to make a sustained effort towards getting what you want. You’re no longer running away from a problem, you’re moving towards something far better.
That’s a gamechanger!
You may think you don’t have dreams, wishes and desires, but you do. So go and build that vision until you’re so completely focused on it you can’t help but make it a reality.
When life isn’t going well, it’s easy to get caught up in a loop of negative predictions. Your job is boring, your boss is a nightmare, your commute is exhausting… but rather than thinking about how you can improve your situation, you start predicting even worse events.
Your job is boring but if you do a job you love, you predict that you probably won’t earn very much. Knowing your luck, you’ll get made redundant then where will you be?
Your boss is a nightmare, but you could get a new boss who’s even worse. Better hope your rubbish boss hangs around then.
Your commute is exhausting, but it could be worse, there could be strikes and engineering works. Best be grateful you can get to work in just two hours, after all, it could be three!
Of course, all these negative predictions are just your fears coming to the fore. The problem with fear is that although it keeps you safe, it also keeps you stuck. By constantly predicting disaster, you stop yourself from making a change.
To give your fears less power, stop predicting the future and filling it with disasters. It’s one thing to be aware of what might go wrong but it’s another to believe it will go wrong. Ditch the negative anticipation and replace it with positive optimism.
It’s hard to make changes when you’re trying to please others. Maybe your partner expects you to keep climbing the corporate ladder or your parents are proud of you because of your impressive job title. You want to make them happy, so you keep your own dreams under wraps and keep doing what they want you to do.
But there are two huge pitfalls to pleasing others.
The first is that you might be mis-reading what they want in the first place. They could be responding to what they think you want. Maybe you always sounded proud of your job title or you told your partner you wanted to get to the top. How are they to know you’ve changed your mind? Unless you tell those around you what you want, you’ll never know what they really think. How can they support you if you don’t explain how you feel?
The second pitfall to pleasing others is that you’ll end up being unhappy and if you’re unhappy, you’re going to be horrible to be around. You could even get ill, either physically or mentally. You could also turn to drugs, drink or some other self-destructive crutch to blot out your misery. Who’s that going to help?
It’s all very well meeting other people’s expectations but it’s important that you’re happy too. Others may want something different for you, but that’s their lookout. By all means listen and discuss your goals. But don’t let others talk you out of them just because it’s what they want. Do everyone a favour: honour your wishes and go for what you want.
Your intuition is alive and well, so tune into it and start listening to what it’s telling you. When you listen to your gut, you’ll hear it tell you what’s right for you
So, when you hear a voice in your head screaming ‘No!’, make sure you stop and listen. And when your gut is yelling ‘Yes, yes, yes!’, you need to listen to it, even if it seems illogical or counter-intuitive.
Be aware of when you hear a voice telling you what you ‘should’ or ‘ought’ to do. this is a sign that you’re pleasing others and ignoring your own needs. In fact, any time you feel anxious or miserable, your gut is telling you that something is wrong, so take notice of it.
When you learn to trust your intuition and make decisions from a place of inner knowing, you’ll feel calmer and more confident about your choices. And if you do go in a direction that isn’t right, don’t berate yourself. Learn from it and move on. There’s nothing to be gained by self-incrimination.
Change isn’t a journey you go on alone. You need supporters to help you through the sticky moments. You want them to be there to celebrate with you too. That’s because success is much sweeter when you share it with others.
While you’re making this change, you need to take care of yourself by eating well, exercising, resting and getting lots of sleep. Change is tiring. You’re going to be facing down your fears and taking on new challenges, so do everything possible to support yourself.
That’s why it’s important to invest in your learning and development too. Getting a coach is a great way of ensuring you have someone who can hold you accountable whilst also holding the space for your vision and goals. Only a good career coach can do that for you and having one by your side will speed up your progress and help you achieve more than you ever dreamed possible.
Looking after yourself isn’t only about rest and recuperation, you need to enjoy yourself too. Pleasure boosts your energy, raises your mood and makes you feel good. Days out with friends, reading a book, watching a movie and listening to music can all feed your soul and energise you. If you have people around you who put you down and destroy your self-belief by laying waste to your goals and plans, avoid them or let them go.
Change doesn’t happen by accident.
You need to make a decision that you’re going to change because only then can you start doing things differently. Be aware of the mistakes you’re making and start changing your thinking and behaviour so you can get more of what you want from your career.
Remember, a happy you will be better for everyone, so getting what you want will give others more of what they want too.
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