How to stop sabotaging your career

by | Mar 9, 2017

Are you sabotaging your career?

sabotaging your career

Could you be sabotaging your career?

What’s holding you back in your work path? Do you want to make a change, apply for a new job or go for a promotion but you find you keep sabotaging your career by talking yourself out of it?

Well, you’re not alone. Many people stay in jobs they hate or stay stuck and unfulfilled because they feel scared and keep imagining all the things that could possibly go wrong.

[Tweet "Fear is paralysing and exhausting."] Talking yourself out of doing things you know you really want to do perpetuates a negative mind-set and can damage your self-image. You can begin to see yourself as smaller somehow, or as someone who doesn’t take risks or challenges.

Read: Why women self-deselect from career opportunities

What are you scared of?

You're stalled yet scared - change it

Research I conducted in 2014 with potential career changers showed that fear of change, of failure, of making the wrong decision and of what others thought were major obstacles in moving forward. Fear and the resulting procrastination is the enemy of opportunity and can lead to you perpetually sabotaging your career.

Read: Why Challenging Yourself Can Be The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Career

Why are you scared?

Change Management

Believe in your choices

  • Firstly, your belief about yourself, based on messages you have heard in your lives that you have taken to heart and then nourished and fed. When you were younger what messages did you receive from your parents, from school and from society about what was possible? Did they expand or contract your dreams? Did they leave you thinking ‘Am I good enough?’ ‘Am I worth it?’

If you doubt yourself then making a change of any kind in your career can be very challenging.

  • Then, there are your circumstances – if you are the main bread-winner, live alone or have a family that will be impacted by any changes you make, then fear of getting it wrong and [Tweet "affecting your financial security or your family’s situation can hold you back."]
  • And thirdly, other people can have a huge impact. Friends, family, colleagues and peers’ views or perceived views can get in the way of you moving forward. Imagining what they may say or how they might judge you is really unhelpful, particularly if you’re also still trying to ‘please’ them or live up to their perceived expectations of you.

Read: The danger of not speaking up

So what can you do to reduce and manage the fears and the blocks?

  • Visualise the future

When we are fearful of something it can be like a bad movie playing constantly in our heads where we imagine all the things that could go wrong with our career if we make a change or step out of our comfort zone. However, you are the Director of the movie and you can rewrite the script at any time. Imagine a positive future where your change or promotion goes well, where it leads to exciting opportunities, meeting new people, feeling fulfilled. Play this new movie in your head daily, tweaking and refining it. If you’re tempted to play the ‘bad’ movie don’t give in, focus on the positive one with the happy ending!

  • Break it down

pitch for a promotion

Break it down into steps

Now you know the story and how it ends you can work out the steps along the way. You can then translate this into a plan with goals and this is very helpful to avoid procrastination. For example, if your goal is to get promotion, then your actions may include talking to your boss about what you need to focus on to be seen as ready for the next level, getting experience in some key areas through volunteering for projects, attending a training course in a specific area or doing some self-study, making connections through networking internally or externally, working on self-promotion and talking about yourself positively. While some of these may still feel scary by breaking them down you can focus on one area at a time so it is less overwhelming, and you can ask for support and help when you need it.

  • Look for positive people

Heart Based Career Decision

Reach out to positive people

It’s official positivity is contagious! If you hang out with positive people you are more likely to, not only feel positive but, also emulate their actions and behaviours. If you are surrounded by people who have a growth mind set, who believe you are capable of anything you choose to do it is liberating and energising. Of course, the converse is also true and if you find yourself associating with the crowd who moan and criticise then this can be contagious too so choose carefully which friends and colleagues you spend time with.

Need help with your career path? Contact 3Plus now!


Originally posted by Sarah Archer on LinkedIn Pulse 

Sarah Archer Contributor
Author of Developing your Inner Coach, Fellow C.I.P.D.with an MSC in Career Coaching, Sarah specialises in career change coaching. A regular media contributor delivering expert Q&A webinars, specifically around interviews, CVs, and career change. Sarah is a regular contributor to The Guardian Careers expert Q&A webinars, specifically around interviews, CVs, and career change. She is also a regular contributor for WomenInTradeUk magazine, and a guest blogger on careers for LondonMums Magazine and the CareerBuilder site. She recently completed an MSc in Career Coaching (Distinction) and is a Fellow of the CIPD.
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23rd April 2019 at 1800 Podcast with Virgina Franco Executive Storyteller, Resume & LinkedIn Writer

25th April 2019 at 1800 EVE Programme, an initiative of Danone. Twitter Chat “Harnessing Positive Psychology for a Smarter Leadership"


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