stressed professional woman

Career Sabotage: 9 Reasons You Fail In Your Career

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Henry Ford said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

The quote is very educational and accepting of mistakes but can we say the same applies to our current society? Online or in person we are bombarded with success stories which are expected from an image driven society such as our own. It is easier to talk about success than it is failure for fear of discomfort and side glances from those around us. The lessons made to educate us on how to avoid failure are lost as those who have failed do not speak of it.

Career advancement and success is a gray area fueled by office politics, cliques and many more hidden norms. Your performance alone does not guarantee anything which is why in workplaces there are many hard workers who haven’t advanced in the company chain. Some may speak of luck but I believe you create your own luck through persistence, growth, mentorship and observation to become the best version of ourselves.

In order not to fall down the spiral of continuous career failure despite your love for it there are certain improvements you can make in yourself. Self-improvement means picking yourself up from failure by learning from it; learning and building yourself and skill set to make you a remarkable person. They will increase your value so if you are forgotten where you are you can move to better.

 Ways you sabotage your life and career

Terrible work life balance
work life balance
Image: fauxels

 One of the most common social conversations we are privy to is work and there is always the person [s] who brag about how much they work.  Statements like

‘I barely get any sleep from all the work I do’

‘I never spend holidays with my family because work must be done,’

They miss important milestones in their and their loved ones life for the sake of eating, breathing and sleeping work. To them it is a badge of honor but is the cost worth it?

The incessant need or compulsion to keep working affects your mental health leading to maladaptive ways of coping. Your causes to do this may be motivational, cognitive, emotional or behavioral either way facing them head on is better than burying yourself in work.

We as humans aren’t supposed to live to work instead work to live he desired life we want. Having firm boundaries between your work life and personal life is the best way to maintain a healthy relationship with both without experiencing burn out. If you want to work hard, absolutely do it but make sure to put yourself first both mentally and physically. Do not let yourself be so out of the loop of what is going on around you by sacrificing one for the other.so if you like going for walks then take time to go on a hike or run a marathon if it is your cup of tea.

When the clock chimes marking the end of the workday, put your pen down, turn off your computer to shut your mind off from work mode. That means it is time to relax and indulge in your personal life and relationships. Continuously nurture yourself by spending time with your loved ones and yourself. If you can afford it and have time travel far and near so you can enjoy the beauty the world has to offer.

Don’t take any risks

Why try something new what you are doing works?

Taking risks sounds easy on paper but not so much in action. The act of taking a risk is accompanied by a consequence for each action done and could be either good or bad. Your reluctance is understandable when you want to take on a new venture for fear of losing everything you have invested in it; monetary, emotionally and mentally. Pessimism is an admirable quality in a human but don’t let it cloud your optimism instead let them complement each other.

The chance you are reluctant to take may be the big change that plays a massive role in your success story. It could be leaving your current place of employment for one that offers better opportunities. The new opportunity may involve becoming an expat working far from home, friends and family. You will miss a lot, sacrifice a lot but you will also gain a lot as you grow as a person and familiarize yourself with the new place. Build new relationships and friendships where you are hat may last a lifetime by letting the new into your bubble but be cautious.

Risk taking is not about blindly jumping to the next best thing but it is a process where you research and asses if the opportunity presented is the right one for you at this time. You need to protect yourself but not shield yourself from the new and unknown.

You know it all

Believing in yourself is an admirable quality to have however you have to realize your shortcomings. There will always be someone who knows more than you do and can teach you to be better. These people are important for as they can influence your success which is why you should not hesitate when it comes to networking.

Mentors will guide you, give advice, help you see things from different perspectives and shield you from falling into traps they have been in. Their experience is a learning opportunity so you can start at a great place with more figured out than making mistakes that might affect you for decades. At the same time a mentor can only get you so far so you have to bear the remaining weight in the direction you see fits. You can never substitute hard work, put in the time and effort needed to succeed.

All you need is passion
notes on board
Image: Polina Zimmerman

Being passionate about what you do fuels you but it is not enough. You could be the most passionate person about your business or career then fail to put in all the hard work and dedication needed leading to failure. Doing what you love gives you joy so you need the added effort to achieve the desired result.

Before you decide to get into the field of work you are passionate about you have to look at it logically. Do you love it as a consumer or a creator? Many turn their hobbies into businesses, get overwhelmed and hate what they once loved. In that case as they enjoyed it as consumers while creators enjoy the hobby turned business despite the struggles that come with it. They find fulfillment it the work they do. You need to address this question first before you invest into it.

Hard work and passion on their own are limited but together they push you further than you imagined reaching.

You react instead of reflecting

Pitching an idea or business often has rejection tied to it leaving you frustrated and depressed. After all it is a creation you have grown from infancy and nurtured it to where it is only for you to be shut down. Sad as it may be there is a lesson to be learned from the rejection you just need to reflect to see why.

If you choose to react to the rejection you will take it personally and ignored the advice given in the email that made your idea get shut down. You will feel like everyone is out to get you or wallow in misery and reject your own creation yourself. Any idea good or bad, you have to embrace it, acknowledge it and grow from it.

Choosing to reflect means listening and understanding what the rejection means. You go through the feedback received to see what the weaknesses pointed out in your proposal failed and make necessary changes. Your idea then begins to take the best shape it’s ever been and clearer. Instead of driving yourself on a downward spiral to despondence you achieved growth.  Learn to listen. You learn more listening than speaking.

“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.”

Robert Baden-Powell
You have it all planned out
Career woman
Image: Pavel Danilyuk

Confucius once said, “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.”

Planning ahead is one of the tips on how to win in your career and life but what if your plan doesn’t work for you and when did it fail? Let’s talk about it.

You work on organizing your day according to your schedule but there are times when something happens and throws a wrench into your plans for an entire day. It could be an unexpected medical emergency, getting fired or someone else’s failure causing you to stop what you are doing to fix it. At this point you have to adapt to the situation to make everything work out which only happens if your plan has room for it. Creating a rigid plan does not help you instead becomes a source of stress and anxiety.

Life happens and things can change in an instant. The beauty of life lies in its unpredictability. Having your life planned out in an ironclad document will not turn out as you want. The tight schedule will leave you overwhelmed so create plans that allow room for growth and change. While you know what you want others don’t follow the same script. You hardly know what kind of person you will be in a few months let alone years so take a step back and have relaxed plans. A great plan is one that serves you and your needs well, not restrict your freedom to explore the unknown.

Be a control freak

Do you like someone breathing down your neck and almost bite your head off with every mistake you make?

The search for stability in life is what mankind has sought after for millennia. We aren’t always lucky enough to find it so you find yourself trying to exert control over your life and those around you. you have to realize there are certain things that you can have an impact on and those that have to be accepted as they are.

Being quick to anger in volatile situations will leave you unhappy, frustrated and very unpleasant to be around. Whether it is a prestigious award you did not get or a flight unable to depart due to bad weather, accept that they are out of your control. Learn to move on and not let the negatives tie you down. Spending your life frustrated and irritable whenever you cannot exert your control over everything brews bitterness in you.

You know someone like this. They are often older people who get themselves worked up over minute details breaking into senseless rants. When you see them you roll your eyes and wonder what is wrong with them and what made them so bitter? You have your answer.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, it takes years and an accumulation of negative emotions festering until they control you making you lose sight of the beautiful person you are. Accept that which cannot be changed, try not to control everything just to trap yourself in a cloud of bitterness. You deserve better than that.

Get any job

People often make short term decisions that impact their long term goals. One of them is job hopping to get a bit more money. You might see them and think they are a picture of what success looks like but behind the curtain are drowning and miserable. Instead of following peer pressure learn what it is you want from your career and what direction you want to take. This is important as it saves you years of wasted time working where you are unsatisfied and miserable.

If you get a job you find fulfilling, stay and grow in both the industry skill set and personally by investing your time to learning as much as you can. Build and expand your skills to greater value so when you move to another place of work the monetary and career reward is much higher. Do not just get any job; get the right job for yourself.

You don’t read
woman sitting and reading book wearing black
Image: Christina Morillo

There are many benefits to reading hat you should not miss out on. Reading exercises your brain by improving your brain connectivity, memory and your ability to focus. This is because as your reading matures your brain networks grow stronger and sophisticated especially in your somatosensory cortex.

The books you read build your emotional response. Your ability to understand and empathize with others grows as you engage with the characters in your book. Issues that would have been a passing thought become capturing as you immerse yourself into the characters. Researchers named this the theory of mind where long time fiction readers have a better developed theory of mind.

Reading is one of the best ways to be well informed. The cultures, practices and experiences others have undergone are taught. You grasp a deeper understanding of your field of interest and those outside it. Your vocabulary, comprehension and communication skills grow alongside your education.

These are few of the numerous benefits reading adds to your life which is why you should build a reading habit. Once it becomes an activity you enjoy you don’t have to struggle when you have to read other documents at work.

Bottom Line

The growth and failure of your career lies in your hands and decision making abilities. What seems to be a lighthearted choice to make may have severe consequences and derail your career in a negative or positive way. Awareness is the crucial, be self-aware enough to know when you need help and when you need to take a step back.

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