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How Not To Derail Our Own Best Career Plans

July 21, 2015

Clients often find they are blocked in their search.  

Sometimes it is their own thoughts that are blocking them without them ever being aware of it!

We tend to automatically believe what our mind is telling us says, Rob Archer, a psychologist in London, England, who specializes in helping people with career transitions

Lets take the example of Ron French. After graduating from university, Ron loved his work as a Communications Coordinator, which he did for for two years, for a small non-profit organization, in Calgary.  His position was funded by a grant which did not get renewed and Ron is out of a job.

He is now at a cross roads. He not sure what to do next. He has applied to several similar positions, without being invited to even one interview. Right now, he is saying that “all” jobs in his field are going to people who have decades of experience and not to new graduates. He thinks he has to go back to school for something else or he will never get a job.

Is this the literal truth?

Ron automatically believes that there are no jobs for new graduates but if Ron was to analyze new hires for all recent communication positions, would they “all” be veterans in the field?

In reality, there could be many reasons why Ron is not getting interviews. Two common reasons are faults with the search strategy or the cover letter or resume.

What is the real function of this thinking?

Ron could listen for those negative voices, we often have in our mind, such as “I am not skilled enough” or “I don’t measure up to others in my field. These kinds of fearful thoughts often filter our view of the situation and drive our decision making.

Listening to these thoughts will lead one away from their values to a place of perceived safety.

In our example it may seem safer and easier for Ron to go back to school but this would derail his best career plans.

If Ron really wants to go after what he is good at; what he values and what he loves doing, then it may take fierce courage to keep moving forward in that direction.

What is the solution when you are faced with this kind of career blockage? Ask these questions:

  1. Are the reasons I think I am stuck the literal truth?
  2. What is the real function of this thought (the reasons for being stuck)? Is it to reduce my feelings of uncertainty and to comfort myself; or to describe the literal truth?
  3. Do I really want what I am  good at; what I value and what I love doing?
  4. Is following this path worth the negative feelings that it will cause me?
  5. Instead of moving in a direction of what feels safe, what actions can I take action to move in the direction of my values?
  6. Who can I ask in my field help me to understand other reasons that may explain why I am stuck?

Archer points out that thoughts and feelings tend to trail behind actions and this is why taking steps forward in the face of difficult feelings is so important.

Along the way keep noticing your direction, don’t be surprised if you have to continually correct your course towards your values.

Interested in these ideas? Explore:

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