Six Steps to Confidently Move Towards Your Desired Future
Are you your own worst critic? If you are like many individuals, your answer to this question is a resounding, “yes.” This can be especially true when it comes to career growth.
I get it. There were times when I was growing my human resources career that I didn’t pursue an attractive job opportunity because I – not the hiring manager – determined my experience didn’t match the desired qualifications for the position. I kicked myself when I learned the job went to someone with less experience and fewer credentials than me. As the saying goes, “You must be present to win.”
Conversely, there were other times when I confidently applied and was not offered a position because another candidate was viewed a better fit, with experience and education that more closely matched the job description. These ego-bruising experiences fed my self-doubt.
What I discovered along the way is that self-doubt can sabotage career growth. To succeed, I had to stop listening to my saboteur and focus instead on turning negative experiences into positive ones.
Now, as an executive coach, I work with clients to silence their inner critics and amplify their inner champions so they can be prepared to go after their dream careers. Six steps I find particularly useful in helping my clients achieve what’s next are:
- Learn from failure. Being open to learn from missteps is critical to moving forward. Are you undervaluing your credentials and eliminating yourself from contention for a career growth opportunity? If so, what can you do differently the next time an attractive position becomes available? Are you stinging from being rejected for a job that you thought was a perfect fit for you? If so, what skills can you develop or refine so that the next time a similar opportunity is out there you are the chosen candidate?
- Define what you really want. Delineating what you want to do in your career from what you don’t want is really the first step on a growth path. Consider what you have learned from failures, both on the job and on the job hunt. Think about your present job and what aspects of it make you feel like you are in your sweet spot. Which aspects challenge you in the most positive ways? Which responsibilities are consistently stashed in your bottom drawer? These honest self-evaluations often lead to aha moments that define a person’s career.
- Seek other perspectives. A one-way conversation about the direction of your career can lead to a dead-end. But when you seek conversation with leaders in the space you wish to grow, enlist mentors and engage coaches, you put yourself on the highway for success. Leaders have traveled the road and, thus, can provide candid assessments on what it takes to succeed now as well as offer perspectives on how the criteria for success have changed or are changing based on current and future market trends. Mentors can give advice or insight to help you maneuver through the specifics of a situation based on their own experiences. Finally, coaches can guide you through a process that helps you identify your values and align them with your goals. Coaches also will encourage or challenge perspectives to enable greater choice on the direction, actions and commitments you want to make and, then, help hold you accountable.
- Take action. It’s not about planning and talking, it’s about acting on what you want that makes the difference: “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.” –Tony Robbins
- Share your intentions. Let your advocates know what your career goals are. For instance, if you desire growth within your current company, let your manager and HR partner know your aspirations and seek their insights, feedback and recommendations to help you achieve your goal. Likewise, if you want to leave your current employer and move to a new organization, network with professional acquaintances within that business space with the potential to pull you into discussions when opportunities arise in their workplaces.
- Be willing to leave your comfort zone. Don’t let fear of change overcome desire for change. I’ve witnessed people turn down their dream job because they listened to their inner critic rather than their inner champion. They focused on the self-doubting question that asks, “What if I fail?” rather than the self-affirming question that asks, “What if I succeed?” Succeeding in an environment that challenges you to learn new skill sets and innovate makes people take notice. It’s in this space – often outside your comfort zone – where a reputation is made that allows career goals to be achieved.
How can coaching help you achieve what’s next?
Lance Hazzard, CPCC, ACC, is a certified Intelligent Leadership Executive Coach helping people and organizations successfully achieve what’s next. He is Executive Coach and President at Oppnå® Executive & Achievement Coaching. Find out more about Lance and Oppnå® Coaching at oppnacoaching.com