Forget bad bosses, noisy office workers, and glass ceilings. You yourself might be self-sabotaging your career. But to understand if this is what you are doing, you have to take a hard look at your actions.
“You can always tell when you are harming your career by simply evaluating your enthusiasm. In my office, I call it the Enthusiasm Meter; how much do you love your business today? Do you need to take a deep breath before you start the day or are you focused on a positive outcome before the day gets started,” says Success Coach Carol Sankar.
Besides examining yourself, take a look around. How are your co-workers doing in their own careers? “You can tell when you are hurting your career by watching your peers and those who used to work levels below you start to not only surpass you but excel at a rapid pace by doing those career-changing things that you refused to do. Whether due to pride and ego or just being lazy or complacent that hat is when you will realize you’ve hurt your career,” says lifestyle coach and career mentor June Archer.
One way to protect yourself from self-sabotage is to have trusted career advisors around you. “I believe you must have successful mentors and advisors around you at all times. They are essential to keeping you accountable and can give you strategies to elevate your career that you did not consider,” notes Sankar.
Then, take a look at your circle. If you don’t have mentors, get some. If you have negative friends, remove them from your inner circle. “The strategic way to rid yourself of self-inflicted obstacles is to rid yourself of negative people. Make your circle of friends smaller. Be in the company and environment of those like-minded individuals who are looking to become great,” says Archer.
Never lie to yourself–or others. “Always be honest. Very honest. With your friends, your family, your kids, and, most importantly, yourself. You know when you could be doing more. Work harder. Slack less. If you want to get out of your own way, just ask yourself this: ‘What more could I be doing?’ And then do it,” advises Elijah White, president at Bold Marketing.
Work on yourself. Make time to improve yourself; it’ll be worth it. “Some of the best ways to get rid of self-inflicted obstacles are to invest in sharpening your knowledge and aligning yourself with people who are smarter than you, which will force you to get out of your comfort zone,” says Sankar.
There are many ways professionals create self-inflected obstacles. One way, says Sankar, is by “aligning themselves with people who think small.” You should connect with people who dream big, but are realistic in their goals as well.
Another is ego, adds White. “You don’t need the nicest clothes, flashiest office, and fastest car to accomplish your goals,” he points out. “Trying to replicate the symptoms of success is only holding you back from actually achieving it.”
Being too much of a loner in the office is also bad for your career. Be a team player, says Archer, who adds that another self-inflicted obstacle is “getting in your own way by carrying negativity and baggage into work.” Be present at work; don’t bring outside conflicts into the office that can mentally distract you.
Also, always try to learn new things, says Sankar. “Failure to feed the mind new things and invest in elevating yourself to attract new opportunities” are major self-sabotage offenses.
And most importantly, stop being afraid of succeeding. Some people, says Archer, “block their own blessings because of the fear of success.”