How to Identify what’s holding you back in your career

young woman writing in a diary

Career progression is a complex thing – it has so many variables, many of which are not in our control. 

However, if you feel that your career is stalling, or that you are not moving on as quickly or as much as you would like, it can be really useful to look at the things that are in your gift to change and check that you are not holding yourself back.  Here are three things to focus on:

Look at your mindset. 

Sometimes it can be our inner confidence that holds us back – do you believe that you are good enough? Are you clear about your gifts and talents? What is your mindset about yourself? Our mindset is the framework of our thinking –the basis of what we believe about the world and our place in it.  Our underlying inner beliefs shape who we are, what we do and what we allow ourselves to be capable of.  Which is why it’s so important.

So often, many of us default to a scarcity mindset.  This is a sense that we lack something, and it’s from here that we get lured into believing that we can’t stop.  This mindset is fear based and fuels a sense of inadequacy that somehow we lack what it takes to be successful, or have to prove ourselves in order to convince others that we are good enough.  This is where imposter syndrome lurks, accompanied by its toxic friend perfectionism.   If we are able to catch ourselves coming from this place – notice our thinking, reactions and assumptions are scarcity based, then we can start to make a choice to replace it with what I call an ‘enough mindset’ where we focus on what we have, not what we lack.  An enough mindset is based on the belief that we are loveable exactly as we are – with all our flaws and talents.  Of course, we can change and grow, but as a starting point, we are simply who we are and that is enough, in and of itself.  For many of us, this is the work – to spend time learning to accept ourselves exactly as we are.  The move from fear to acceptance is useful because, we can replace a critical voice with an appreciative one.   Check in that you have a mindset of ‘enough’.

Focus on your presence.

“People will forget what you said, they’ll forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou.  How you show up day in day out really matters – especially in key moments of pressure.  So become aware, not just about what you say and do, but how you ARE.  How would people describe your presence – how you make others feel?  Are you presenting someone who is comfortable in your own skin?

Managing how you are in each moment and becoming aware of your physiology is really powerful.  This can be as simple as focusing on your breathing to make sure that you calm your nervous system regularly.  Build your awareness of how you feel moment by moment, and it will help you to regulate when you need to. It will help you to create a state of ease and flow, which in turn gives you more control over how you are showing up.

Align your purpose and values with your career.

Authenticity is so important for us in our careers.  People can tell if we’re acting out of alignment, and it can really hold us back.  So check in with yourself – is your career aligned to what you believe is most important?  When was the last time you thought about your values?  The things that really matter to you – your beliefs about how you want to show up in the world and what’s most important to you.  It can be so powerful to re-connect to our values from time to time.  They act as a kind of internal compass – a ‘true north’ for us to guide what we want and how we want to live.  Selecting 3 – 5 values can be a good check in, and can direct you to your purpose – which is how you can bring your values to life.  Aligning your ambition with what matter most to you, is a great re-boot and links what you are doing day to day, with a sense of making a difference.  And when you have clarity about yourself, it gives confidence to others.

Becky-HallAbout the author

Becky Hall is an accredited life coach, leadership consultant and is the author of The Art of Enough

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