Why do some people walk on in their careers while others stop?
From any given cohort of young professionals, some will have ‘more’ career than others. ‘More’ in this context is simply put in hierarchy levels including corresponding increase of responsibilities and impact. Did you ever wonder what made some walk on where others stopped?
For sure, there are a lot of external factors – and many of them are luck-related. But aside from them, there are internal factors, too. The good news about internal success factors is: you have control over them and you can train them. Therefore, you can influence a lot of your professional life at any stage of your career – if you choose to do so.
Let’s think about some success factors that you can actively manage. You will see them in action in people in higher hierarchical positions.
Attribution of failure
What you believe, becomes your reality. Hence, important moments to look at are moments of failure in your (professional) life. Where do you attribute your failure to?
If you look at successful people around you, they do not go into a self-pity cave mourning about their inadequacy towards their job. They rather attribute a failure to an external factors, … and move on.
So what happens to your self-talk when you experience failure? I heard from a lot of people that they switch from ‘this was a failure’ to ‘I am a failure’. And this is when it gets dangerous. All of a sudden, a situation in the workplace affects your identity and questions who you are and what you can do. If you continue to play with those thoughts, you will not try a similar business situation again. And this is how you probably will decide not to move on in your career.
Proper reflection and learning from failure is for sure a good thing. But overthinking will stop you from moving forward. And there is no beauty nor pride in examine a messy career moment to the bone.
Moving on in your career will lead to bigger ‘stress’. Stress meaning that there will never be enough time, there will always be too many tasks and there will always be pressure. This is a given.
The question is how you handle yourself in this environment. Look at successful people around you – and precisely look at those who have been for years in management positions – they have found a way to deal with this stress. Sport, hobbies and a social life apart from work are for sure components for handling stress. In addition, there is an inwardly component that you need to deal with.
Look at your self-talk if you want to improve in this area. What are you afraid of? What is the worst thing that could happen in any given stress situation? Find and face your fears. Define answers to those questions. Position yourself inwardly.
If you want to make a long-lasting and high-aiming career, you need to make sure that you can sleep well at night. And this can be trained early on in your career. In this area, coaching, journaling or techniques like NLP can help.
Comparing yourself with others costs you energy without payback. Most likely, you will only compare yourself towards people who are better, smarter, more successful etc. than you are. And in this game, you will always loose.
I am certain that successful people seldomly compare themselves with others. They are focussing on their business. And this is how the business grows and success increases. Greed and envy are bad consultants for a happy and healthy career life.
If you are struggling in this area, dedicate an active choice towards your self-talk. Did you ever wonder what comparison, greed and envy brought you so far? Would you like to continue thinking and speaking that way? It is your choice. A tough one. But one that changes the path of your career.