5 Ways You Could Be Holding Yourself Back in Your Professional Life
Do you ever feel as though you're not progressing as well as you should be in your professional life? Do you ever ponder over why your career doesn't seem to have evolved as much as some of your peers? Do you feel as though you're 'stuck' somehow; that you've stopped moving forwards and yet you're not sure why? Or maybe you even feel as though your career never quite got off the ground in the way you'd planned in the first place?
If you identify with any of the above scenarios, this article is for you. Read the following tips on why you could be holding yourself back in your professional life - and then turn it around:
1. You Constantly Procrastinate
It might seem obvious, but if you constantly put off doing things, you won't achieve as much as you otherwise could. Procrastinating can mean missed opportunities, being less prepared and not being viewed as snappy, sharp and proactive.
Take this example: I once missed a fantastic opportunity to set up a website to showcase my portfolio of similar work at a time when one piece was getting a lot of attention due to being included in someone else's project. It was the ultimate moment to gain a foot in the door for similar future projects, but a self-imposed lack of haste saw that moment gradually evaporate. Who knows what might have come of it if I had got my act together at the right time? I knew from the word 'go' that the opportunity was there, and might not come along again, yet I put it off and put it off (mainly because I don't enjoy the technical side of working) until eventually the moment was over.
I should have forced myself to get the website up and running when that single piece of work first started gaining interest on an international level. There is no doubt in my mind that being too slow to get it off the ground was detrimental to possible future success in that field.
On another occasion, I signed up for a new endeavour and then took a long time to complete the necessary paperwork - so long, in fact, that I was twice reminded about it. How did that make me appear? Certain words immediately spring to mind, such as "unenthusiastic", "undynamic" and even "unreliable".
People who get it together and don't constantly procrastinate may be viewed as keener, more reliable and more ambitious. What's more, they make sure they don't miss great opportunities or the chance to be noticed because they get things done.
2. You Lack Confidence
Sometimes, thinking about doing something and actually taking the bull by the horns are two different situations entirely - and that might not be due to a dose of laziness, but rather a disabling lack of confidence. But all plan and no action does not make for success - so ask yourself why you are holding back from really making your mark. Are you afraid to put yourself out there; to promote your own strengths? Are you too nervous to contact those people that might, just might, make all the difference - because they're 'too senior', or because you're sure they'll just deem you 'silly', or because deep down you think everyone else is 'better' than you?
Have the confidence to put yourself forwards when it matters, and the courage to reach for new heights. You never know - it might just change your life! And remember - if you don't take any risks you'll never know what the outcome might have been. Some of the most successful people in the world have suffered the most rejection - that's because they're not afraid to take a chance.
3. It's Not What You Really Want
Being 'successful' professionally should ultimately make you happy. Be honest - will stepping up that ladder really fulfil you - on have you moved on? Not everyone still harbours the same goals they had when they were fresh out of uni or new to the field. If you've lost that 'zing' and you're just doing it because you think you should, perhaps it's not what you really want. If that's the case, work out what you do want and go after that instead - otherwise, your lack of enthusiasm will eventually be apparent.
I know someone whose ultimate career goal was to become a 'professor' in her field. She had been working towards it for more than two decades - and yet, when it came to it, she realised that in the end it didn't mean as much to her as she'd thought. In fact, she found she was happy and content where she already was. When she really considered it, she didn't want the added pressure, and she wasn't bothered about the prestige.
Sometimes our thoughts and plans become our habits - what we once wanted has become such a part of who we are in our professional life that we're not being true to ourselves when, in actual fact, we've actually changed and we're simply not passionate about it anymore.
There's nothing wrong with taking a new direction, or even standing still if you're happy. Be brave and listen to your heart - not what you (or someone else) once decided you should do in the past.
4. You're Too Disorganised
Some people hamper their professional success because they're simply too disorganised. Perhaps you wanted to apply for that great opportunity but left it too late to give your application the attention it deserved? (No doubt, someone else exercised that dedication instead.)
Are you always making lists and plans, yet you approach your working day with the type of chaos that sees you working in a mess (both mentally and physically) and never getting everything done? Are you constantly distracted by your phone; that article you came across while researching something else; that message on social media about someone's birthday/wedding in 3 weeks time? If that sounds like you, be strict and apply yourself. All that other stuff can wait - you'll never be at your most productive if your mind is all over the place. A bit more self-discipline can take you a long way in the world of work.
But sometimes disorganisation isn't just about not focusing properly on work - it's about focusing too much on lots of different tasks, ending up with lots of loose ends that don't really tie up or never get your complete attention. It's about how you approach your working day - are you an ambitious person with lots of ideas, yet never see them through to fruition because your energy is split in too many different directions? It's good to be innovative, but if you're not organised as well you'll just come across as someone who doesn't see things through - and that means not being thought of as someone who can be relied upon for top jobs.
Focus on the task and make sure you complete it. Prioritise in order of importance, and don't allow yourself to become distracted by external affairs. It will help you to come across not only as organised, but competent as well.
5. You Don't Believe in Yourself
You should always believe in yourself - if you don't do it, no one else will either! Putting out positive vibes really can make all the difference - if you doubt yourself too much, you will plant a seed of doubt in the minds of those around you, too. After all, it's a risk to gamble on someone who seems unsure of their own abilities - and there's a big difference between arrogance (which is also off-putting) and self-belief.
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses - that's human nature. But highlighting your own weak points will only divert attention from everything that is great about you.
Believing in yourself is often the key that spurs you on to greatness. If you don't believe that you can do it, you may be holding back (consciously or subconsciously) from even going for it in the first place. Sometimes, you have to stand tall and force yourself to reach for the heights - tell yourself you can do it, you will do it, you are worth it. And then sell your strengths and go for it.
© 2018 Eleanor's Words