4 Beliefs that Sabotage Your Career and How to Stop Them

possibleWithin everyone is an energy that is prolific and on the flip-side there is an energy that is destructive.

This concept is known to the Chinese as yin and yang or the interplay of opposites such as negative and positive energies. The idea is that when you are able to detect a negative energy, you can counteract it.

If you have found your life purpose or calling, most likely your self-sabotage will be the opposite of whatever it is.

For example, my life purpose to is to help others connect with themselves and others in a transformational capacity. My self-sabotage is to disconnect or tell myself I’m not good enough.

Here are 4 common underlying beliefs that can sabotage your career:

1. I’m not good enough: A belief that you are not deserving or good enough. Therefore, you never go for what you really want such as interviewing for a promotion or asking for that raise. This can also result in the judgement of others because of a false sense of confidence.

2. I can’t do something: A belief that you cannot do something because of a fear of an outcome (whether positive or negative). Perhaps you don’t take risks or try new things because of a story you’ve told yourself. I notice this is common for clients who are only willing to do tasks and activities they’ve only tried before even if they don’t like them.

3. I’m alone: A belief that you are alone, not a part of a team or no one has been in your shoes. This often results in isolation and lack of connectivity with your clients or colleagues.

4. Something bad is going to happen: This is that “what if” scenario where everything bad is going to happen. It takes a lot of energy and to be worried and results in a lot of precocious activity and also results in not taking risks.

How to overcome these beliefs:

Everyone has negative beliefs and they probably will never go away in their entirety. They will just keep manifesting in different forms at different times in our lives.

Step 1: Face it: Running away from the issue will only make it worse and stronger. I personally like taking a chunk of time to face an issue and doing activities such as meditating, walking, hiking or journaling to process it. Give yourself permission to be with the feeling even if you don’t like it. Facing it will make it smaller. Moreover, it can take an incident that can be all-consuming and turn it into something constructive.

When an issue or feeling comes up during an inopportune moment like a meeting with a client, even the slightest acknowledgement of it and saying, “I will talk with you later” helps remove the power of it.

Step 2: Focus on the opposite or the positive: As I mentioned above, my calling is to help others connect to themselves and others in a transformational capacity. When I go into my negative belief of “I’m not good enough”, it helps to refocus, say an affirmation like, “I’m good enough” and think about all the times I’ve helped myself and others connect and transform.

I also like to take a physical action when I’m in my negative belief and surround myself with friends and loved ones in order to feel connected.

Step 3: Get help: Go to a therapist, coach or consultant; take a yoga or meditation class; or talk to friend. Get the support you need.

Step 4: Don’t beat yourself up: We are human beings and we all have moments where we self-sabotage. Be gentle with yourself and know that it’s going to happen. If you look at it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and grow, it’s not that bad when it happens.

How to Use Your Intuition to Guide Career Decisions

Danielle MenditchThink about a time where you made a decision completely guided by your thoughts. Now… think about a time where you reacted using your gut. Perhaps these decisions served in your favor or not.

So what makes decision making so difficult and why is it we get so stuck in the process? Let’s think about it for a moment. Growing up we are taught to use our intellect to succeed in school. And then we transition to the work environment where we are consider successful by how much we get accomplished or by our actions.

Very few educational and professional environments foster the development of intuition, which I describe as an inner knowing that is felt between the heart and the abdomen.

Intuition is different than a gut reaction because sometimes a gut reaction is almost impulsive response to a strong emotion.

As a career counselor helping my clients making major life decisions, I believe it’s important to slow down and connect with your intuition. I was taught a meditation practice called “Intuitive Inquiry” by my clinical supervisor, Chris Kelman, and it has changed my life.

Intuitive Inquiry does not require a lot of time and it’s really effective at guiding decisions.

Here’s how to do it:

 

Step 1: Think about a decision and all the facts or data that need to be taken into consideration.

Step 2: Close your eyes. Take two deep breaths and focus the energy that is in your head and drop it between your heart and abdomen.

Step 3: Draw your energy and focus it to your heart space and follow with several long breaths. Whatever decision you have at hand, focus that energy into your heart/abdomen. It’s almost like whatever thoughts would be spinning around your head, take all that energy and drop it down.

Step 4: Start asking the situation yes or no questions. Sometimes I will follow up with an open ended question and often I will receive a one or two word response. When you try this out, I think you will be surprised by how fast the answers come with such certainty.

Before I begin my work day, I will often use Intuitive Inquiry to prioritize my tasks and activities. I’ve also used it for more major life decisions and occasions where something didn’t feel right. It’s amazing how much it has positively changed my life- no longer negatively impacted by overthinking or overreacting.

Once I started having my clients slow down and use Intuitive Inquiry to make career decisions, they would get unstuck, take action and be satisfied with their outcomes.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Everyone needs a cheerleader, especially when searching for a new job.

CheerleaderAs many of my readers know, I struggled with horrible bullying as a young child. What you may not know is that as I transitioned into a teenager, I became a rebel at my public school, carrying an anti-popular attitude, pushing away anyone who could reject me before I could be rejected. I had several verbal and one physical altercation in school and I knew I needed out (I’m not proud of this).

I decided I needed a clean slate and transfer high schools- moving from a large public school to a small, art-focused, private school. This was one of the best decisions of my life because not only did it give me a new start, I was at a school with like-minded students who were artistic and creative. I also found a faculty and staff that were like a second family who could provide love and encouragement.

Although the transfer was a fantastic choice, I took old wounds with me and there was a vulnerability that lingered  Moreover, my sister who was popular throughout her school years began to struggle in her later teens and needed a lot of support from my parents which meant in many ways I needed to find emotional support elsewhere.

I was thrilled because my sister eventually decided to transfer to my school where she could get the attention and support to flourish as well.

As much as I loved my sister coming to my school, it changed the attention I was receiving by my teachers and peers that made me feel exceptional and unique. My sister has one of the most engaging personalities of anyone I’ve ever known and people want her to like them and to be her friend. This meant that my teachers and peers were paying attention to her and not as much to me.

My school that became my haven and safe place was still that place, but not mine alone anymore. I had to share it.

There was one person I didn’t have to share, my good friend Sherill. She was one of the biggest cheerleaders of my life. Whether she knew it or not, I relied on her for so much emotional support. She would be the person I would ask advice about friends, boys, clothes… anything a teenager could need advice about

I think my favorite part was that she liked me more than my sister and I needed to have someone favor me.

So you might be thinking, what does this story have to do with my career search? My point is, I understand how important a cheerleader is during important times in our lives such as a career change. I even have cheerleaders now as I grow my business as a career counselor. I know that the career search process can be frustrating and painful and there is no better time to have someone cheering you along the way.

It is common for my clients to have a well-intended family member to place pressure on them to put more effort into the process.  As much as that family member means well, it can add more pressure to the person who is already under stress in the first place.

More than anything, as a career seeker, you need to have someone be on your side. To love, accept and support you unconditionally; perhaps to hold you accountable and to provide a listening ear.

As you go through the job search, reach out to your cheerleaders and ask them to support you because it’s challenging to do on your own. And if you need to find a cheerleader, I highly suggest you join a job search support group because you can find a buddy to mutually support each other through the process. You can usually find job search support groups in your area through Meetup.com.

And if it helps even just a little, just know that I put a prayer out there for those who are in transition asking to provide guidance and direction. You’re not alone.

Make a Change: Do What You Love in Your Job!

What is your favorite part of your job? Do you like to manage others? Fix a specific problem again and again?  It’s common for career changers to like one aspect of their job and feel like they are not doing enough of it.

The purpose of this article is to help you identify your favorite aspects of your past positions in order to make your next career move.

I recently met with a recruiter, Lindsay Hay, from Lakeshore Staffing. I was asking her how she got into recruiting and she explained that she was in the retail industry for six years in various management positions. Her favorite part of her previous job was hiring, interviewing and training new employees. When she was looking to make a career change, she decided she wanted to emphasize and build upon this skill set and human resources seemed to be an obvious career transition.

Lindsay ended up networking with a friend who knew of a recruiting position that was going to become available and ended up applying. She emphasized all her transferable skills on her resume and cover letter in order to share how she was qualified to fulfill the needs of the position. And several weeks later, she was hired. Click here to watch my interview with her.

If you are looking to make a career change, below are several steps to help you identify your favorite aspects of your past positions in order to make your next career move.

Step 1. Make a list of your favorite tasks and activities from your previous jobs.

Step 2. Did you discover any patterns among your favorite tasks and activities? For example, perhaps you enjoy organizing, problem solving, creating, talking to people, brainstorming, or managing people or projects. Were there any tasks and activities you were so engaged with that you lost all sense of time?

Step 3: Research careers where you can emphasize the tasks and activities you like the most on CollegeInColorado.org (there is a great assessment on transferable skills on this site).

Once my clients have completed this exercise, I usually see them go in one of two directions: 1)They stay in their industry but they look for new jobs that emphasize the skills they want to build upon.; 2) They switch careers entirely knowing that they may have to have a couple of job positions to help them gain the experience they need in order to obtain their dream job.

If you’re feeling stuck, take some time to evaluate your past experiences. If you can get a job that emphasizes the tasks and uses your skills that you enjoy, you will most likely be happier in your next career move.

Why We Shouldn’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

For six years I struggled with my weight.  If I would show you pictures from high school and college, I weighed 35 pounds more than I do now. It shocks people when I share this because I’m petite and I haven’t had any major weight gain in years.

I remember year after year, making a New Year’s resolution that I would shed the weight. I think about the numerous hours planning out my perfect diet and workout schedule. I had a mix of overwhelm thinking about it, boredom trying to stick to it, and frustration when I would sabotage it.

I find that many job seekers make a resolution to try and find a new job. It makes me shudder when I hear this resolution because it sounds daunting.  Think about the numerous hours sitting on Career Builder filling out applications. It sounds awful! Why would anyone want to torture themselves like that?

My “aha” moment about my weight came when I realized that it was a moment-to-moment effort. Was I hungry? If so, I should eat and stop when I’m full. Instead of sticking to a regimented diet, I started listening to my hunger signals and enjoying the foods I would eat. Exercise became about being outside, instead of weight loss.

Seeking a job is similar. You have to take it day-by-day. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work to accomplish tasks or goals.  It’s just breaking them down so they aren’t as off-putting.

For example, instead of saying “I’m going to get a new job”, what if you spend 2-3 hours doing career research because it’s interesting to discover what other opportunities are out there? What if you rewrote your resume because it’s awesome to reflect on your past accomplishments and tell your story?

Instead of tackling the issue of finding a job all at once, break it down one step at a time. Try to enjoy it because you’re an amazing person and have so much to contribute.

Happy New Year!