I often come across promising professionals failing to make their career work, they’re holding themselves back and feel they’re not taking the right steps forward. It’s showing up in them through the likes of fear, stress, anxiety, doubt and a lack of self-confidence. Any of the following scenarios sound familiar?
Feeling uneasy on Sunday nights (and probably Mondays and Tuesdays too)
Feeling anxious before an upcoming networking event
The fear of being judged for being silent in meetings with seniors present
The uncomfortable anticipation of being asked a follow-up question if you did speak up
Rumination or beating yourself up for not being assertive with your view
It’s a dangerous place to be if left for too long, I’ve been there and in my case, I compensated with bad habits which eventually got the better of me to a point I had to change. What I realised looking back over my own experience as well as coaching others, is the importance to take a step back and reflect on these 3 points.
#1: You've lost touch with what you want from your career.
From an early age we get told what to do and how we should be, whether it’s by teachers, parents, peers, older siblings, priests, TV etc, so we start living according to others’ expectations and pressures. Not many stop to question this and check to explore whether our choices align with who we are, our vision and what’s important to us. We tend to continue going through life on these external drivers. That’s not our fault, it's also not the fault of those close to us growing up as they weren't taught either. Rarely does a wise soul proactively sit us down to work this out. The fact you’re reading this shows you’re now questioning or are already finding your answers.
I remember not even being able to respond to the question of ‘what do you want?’ at 25 when my VP asked me. I got back from an overseas work trip coaching and teaching new teams, the positive feedback received led my VP to take me aside and ask that question. I couldn't answer. I didn't know. Meeting over. Peers suggested I apply for a role in another newly created internal team. I did, was accepted and enjoyed the new challenge. To me, it was just the next thing to do by default. Only in later years did I work on my own self-awareness.
In this process of working on your own self-awareness, you also need to break down what’s not true:
What beliefs about yourself are not true
What beliefs are holding you back
What beliefs are driving unwanted behaviours
I frequently hear the ‘I’m not good enough’ belief which has been on repeat unconsciously for years. It’s so subtly powerful in its control of their behaviour, holding them back from putting their hand up for an exciting and challenging opportunity. The belief made a home for itself with its hand on the control stick for years. It needs to be broken down and replaced by the actual truth.
Client 1 Example
Networking was like a boulder in the way of him taking that next step into leadership. Over 2 sessions he discovered he was able to call out that it was his fear of judgement from others keeping that boulder there. He had believed for a long time that he was dull, boring and had nothing interesting to say in a group. Walking around with that thought for years of course was going to show up in his energy, presence and confidence around others. It needed to be unpacked and explored deeper to find how much truth was actually in that thought. Proving there wasn’t any truth he was able to move forward to the next stage.
You also need to discover your skills and strengths, ones you enjoy and want to use regularly in the world to add your value. From here you will start to genuinely believe you can change, you can do something which may have seemed impossible before. Imagine life without your biggest limiting belief, how would life look?
#2: You feel fearful to step into the unknown
The faulty belief system about yourself poisons action and you end up going nowhere. You are blocked by the likes of fear from building your plan. It doesn’t need to be like that. By developing new self-awareness, insights and beliefs you can start to build your courageous action plan. Through this, you’ll start seeing life through a different lens, and you’ll begin showing up with confidence to be you in situations. You’ll find yourself naturally speaking up more in meetings, networking events, the boss’s office, the boss’s boss’s office, you name it. It’s coming from a place of knowing and being comfortable with who you are, knowing the path you’re on and knowing the value you have to offer is worth sharing. You’ll start to inspire those around you whether it’s peers, junior staff and even friends and family.
Client 2 Example
I recently worked with a client that when I think back and write this I get goosebumps. I discovered a couple of sessions into the program that she hadn’t spoken to her family in over 6 months due to a falling out. It was impacting her sleep, anxiety levels and self-esteem. It was also having an impact on her business without it being obvious. She longed for her relationship with family members to go back to how it was before with smiles, laughs and affection. She discovered new perspectives. She was able to break through the roadblocks inhibiting her from making the first move to reconnect. She made the first move by working out a courageous action plan and following it one step at a time. They are now reunited but also her energy has completely transformed. It’s manifesting itself in positive ways both personally and professionally. Her business is doing better and she has found an inner calm and confidence to continue on her path.
#3: You feel your value is hidden from others
Without building self-awareness and a courageous action plan, you won’t be recognised by others but most importantly, by yourself. You will stay stuck in the mud waiting for something to happen. Waiting for something or someone to come along and award you with the opportunity you secretly know you deserve.
Instead, work through #1 and #2 and you’ll start being recognised more. You’ll start attracting new opportunities and relationships that you want. Opportunities you’ll know whether are right because you know your truth. You’ll have the power to start choosing options aligned with what you want. Life, career and relationships will feel comfortable and begin filling you with energy instead of draining.
Client 3 Example
A client recently was offered for the first time to lead a project which also included leading staff. When I first met this client, I learned they had previously been through a period of burnout from working too hard. His approach had been to work hard to prove himself to peers and bosses but also himself. A perfectionist mixed with placing a high value on others’ expectations of him wasn’t a healthy cocktail. Through his work in building self-awareness and taking steps in line with that things began to change. He began to care less about devoting all his energy to proving his worth. He increased his energy on working in a space of more self-awareness, which ultimately lead to his boss presenting this leadership opportunity. After all, nobody likes working for a leader that appears to be highly stressed.
And best of all, after working through all of the above and integrating it into your life, you will build belief in yourself that you can do it, that you can make the right decisions that positively impact your life, career and relationships. You’ll know the path you’re on and can move forward with your newfound insights and confidence.
So if you feel like something doesn’t feel right or isn’t where you want it to be today, book a free discovery call so we can dig a little more into that and put you on your path.