28 Aug Could you be Sabotaging your Career without knowing it?
I recently came across an article of mine that was published in the Globe and Mail newspaper some years ago, about the ways in which we sabotage our Careers, sometimes without even knowing it.
As I read it, I thought to myself how relevant it still is today. Perhaps that’s because as human beings we still have many similar qualities as we did then! Procrastination, apathy, staying in the shadows etc. Do any of those sound familiar?? If so, you’re not alone.
The encouraging news is that we can definitely take steps to change this. We know so much more now about how the brain works, motivation and how to move through fear.
The Scourge of Self-Sabotage/The Globe and Mail – Kristina Jansz
You’ve recently seen a posting for a job you’d love to have. It offers so many of the things you’re looking for: greater responsibility, bigger challenges, a higher salary, more prestige, room for growth and yet, you don’t put your name forward.
You tell yourself that maybe you’ll do it tomorrow or that other people would be better suited for it, so there’s no point in applying. The job goes to someone else and now you’ll never know whether it could have been yours.
What you have just done is sabotage yourself. Self-sabotaging behaviour occurs when your thoughts, feelings and actions work against your own self-interests. It usually takes place at an unconscious level, after all, nobody would deliberately hold him/herself back from a successful and rewarding career.
However, no matter how unconscious it may be, there’s nothing uncertain about the devastating effects that self-sabotaging behaviour can have on your career path, aspirations, performance and advancement.
Self-sabotaging behaviour shows up in many ways
Procrastination: You use all sorts of excuses to delay making a career-enhancing move. You tell yourself that you don’t have time right now, that you’re tired, you have other things to do first and it can wait until tomorrow. You keep delaying until it’s too late.
Isolation: You keep yourself in the shadows of your workplace, withdraw from all opportunities, never speak up and never let anyone take notice of you or your work. Do this and you’re guaranteed to keep yourself off of your employer’s radar when they are looking for people to fill positions.
Apathy: You show up for work, put in your time and go home. You do as little as you must to get by and have no problem letting others pick up the slack. This corrosive attitude ensures that you will never be considered an eager contributor, team player or leadership material.
Blame: It’s always someone else’s fault; your co-workers, boss, company policy even the economy as to why you haven’t moved ahead. Keep seeing yourself as a victim and use blame as an excuse for not having to take responsibility yourself, and you can be sure your circumstances won’t change.
Over-commitment: You take on more work than you know you’re capable of handling, double-book appointments to meet everyone’s needs and race from one project to the next. With neither the mental or physical fortitude to be able to give proper attention to any of the tasks you’ve undertaken, you’ll not only operate with persistent anxiety but you’ll also make sure that your work isn’t up to par. Spinning your wheels will take you nowhere fast and there are often significant health issues related with this type of behaviour.
There are many reasons why people engage in self-sabotaging behaviour for example, a fear of success, feelings of unworthiness and not believing in their own abilities. Peel back all the layers of excuses and rationalizations and you’re likely to find a lack of self-esteem and self-confidence at the centre of why many people hold themselves back and subvert opportunities to reach their goals.
You can change this!
Now for the good news! You absolutely can learn to overcome self-sabotaging behaviour. Here are some steps to take:
Call it what it is. Change can be unsettling, even frightening. To successfully transform any pattern of behaviour, you must have the courage to see things as they really are and have a willingness to change. Begin by identifying and naming the self-sabotaging behaviour you are engaging in.
Have clear goals. Know what you’re after and what it will take to get there. If your objective is to be promoted, be clear about the job you want, the responsibilities of the position, the salary you’d like and the qualifications you need.
Establish a time line. This gives you something to work toward. Without it, there is a tendency to drift. A timeline will help you stay focused, offer a workable timetable and a way to measure your progress.
Take small steps. Determine a series of realistic steps leading from where you are to where you want to be. Breaking it down into small manageable pieces makes the overall process less daunting. Small steps might include taking a course or adding a new responsibility in your current job.
Act in keeping with your goal. Modify your behaviour so that it is consistent with what you’re after. If your goal is to be in a position of greater responsibility, conduct yourself in all ways that are considered responsible and do so even when there’s no one around to notice.
Stay focused. It’s easy to get discouraged. If you keep yourself focused, there’s less of a chance that you’ll become overwhelmed. Keep clearly stating your goal, even write it down and look at it throughout the day.
Establish strong support systems. Personal and professional buddies can help provide you with direction and encouragement but don’t make the mistake of expecting others to know what you need. Tell them. For instance, ask a supervisor to assist you in becoming a strong candidate for a position.
Monitor your progress. Take inventory on a regular basis. If you find you are not measuring up to the standards you’ve set for yourself, figure out why and do something about it, immediately.
Celebrate your successes. Consider each small step taken an achievement worthy of acknowledgment.
Consistency is key to closing this trapdoor
To change any pattern of behaviour, you have to do something consistently and repeatedly over time. As you begin to register achievement as a normal part of your days, weeks and months, you’ll start to feel a shift take place within you. Who you are as a person and how you see yourself, both personally and professionally, will transform and you will have a much greater sense of self-worth.
Undo self-sabotaging behaviour and no longer will your life be a long list of excuses and resentments about why you could have, but didn’t, achieve your goals.
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Thank you for taking time to read this post! The right information at the right time is a most powerful catalyst for change. For Coaching, Workshops or an Inspiring Talk on this valuable topic, contact me!
(c) Titans International Inc. Kristina Jansz 2019, 2020-2050