When your career isn’t going the way you want it to, it’s easy to start to blame yourself. The resulting self-doubt can end up keeping you stuck. Today we’ll look at what’s behind that experience and what you can do about it. By tackling self-doubt head-on, you set the stage to create an even better future for yourself.
Today we’re looking at what you can do to get over disappointments in your career. This topic came from a call I had with someone last week. I spoke to a gentleman on a breakthrough call who had unfortunately lost his job back in May. Now it’s January. In that time I was only the fourth or fifth person that he had told about being laid off. His wife knew, of course, and a couple of family members. Beyond that, he wasn’t telling anybody – not even his close friends. He was keeping it to himself because he didn’t want them to worry and because he was worried about what people would think about him.
I want you to just imagine that for a minute. From May, until January, he was holding onto something that big practically by himself. Imagine the loneliness of that – of holding all of that in and managing it alone. Imagine the self-doubt he was experiencing, the amount of disappointment in his career. I could feel it in our conversation. I could also feel what a relief it was for him to have somebody to talk to about it.
That conversation really got me thinking about self-doubt and all of the ways that it can be triggered in someone’s career. In this person’s experience it was a lay-off. For someone else, it’s being passed over by a promotion. For yet another person, it’s feeling like you’re in a job where you’re in over your head. Or that your career simply isn’t going the way you want it to.
It’s really easy in any of those situations to turn that back in on yourself and to start to feel self-doubt, disappointment, and even shame about it. The problem is that those feelings can then set up a vicious cycle. The self-doubt can lead to endlessly questioning yourself and your situation – wondering if you’re in the right role, if you have what it takes. The disappointment leads to low energy, which can then get in the way of proactively taking steps that could move you forward. The shame can keep you from reaching out to people who could help.
The negative feelings take over and become like really loud background noise that gets in the way of everything you’re trying to do.
If you’ve ever tried to work in an environment where there’s a lot of background noise, like someone jackhammering on the street outside, you know how distracting that can be. That’s exactly what’s going on inside us when we’re in a place where we’re full of worry and self-doubt and frustration for not being where we want to be. It’s like the noise takes over part of our brain. It gets in the way of our productivity because we’re spending so much of our mental space on it. It gets in the way of being able to reach out and find new opportunities. It gets in the way of looking for what’s next. It’s so completely energy sucking that the idea of making phone calls or networking, or managing up can just feel too overwhelming.
Even if you do manage to reach out, that background noise can also get in the way of being able to make a genuine connection. It creates self-consciousness that interrupts your ability to build rapport, and to be really present with people, and connect with them. Since those connections are one of the best ways to land a new job, or earn a promotion, that background noise can really hold people back. I’ve seen this over and over again, not only with the person I talked to last week, but with other callers and clients as well. When you’ve got this loud background noise of self-doubt or insecurity, it really prevents forward motion in your career.
What can you do about it? How can you get out of the noise and get back into motion in your career? There are three critical steps: clear out, face forward, and take action. They sound simple, but they’re not always easy.
One of the most important skills you can build in your career (and in your life) is the ability to move through and clear out the feelings that are pulling you down. There are specific techniques for doing this — you may know of some already. The specifics will depend on the situation. Sometimes what someone really needs is a chance to mourn or grieve the lost job or the missed opportunity. Other times self-targeting is a way to avoid feeling angry or frustrated with someone else. Letting yourself move through that anger can be a way to clear it. Whatever it is, having a solid method for moving through it is one of the first and most important steps that you can take to bring your energy to discovering what’s next. This is one of the things I help my clients with – both clearing out their current experience, and also building the skills to do this for themselves going forward.
The next piece is to get a clear picture of what you want. If you let go of the self-doubt and you’re not hemmed in by those worries, what is it that you really want for your career? Where do you want to go? What’s the contribution you want to make? Having a proven process for exploring and discovering that can go a long way toward finding your energy for what’s next. Without a clear sense of purpose, looking for the next job can feel like a “have to.” It becomes a slog – something you have to fight yourself to do. When you’re clear about your purpose, on the other hand, you can get fired up. The energy comes from knowing where you’re headed, and what you’re moving toward – not just what you’re moving away from.
The third piece is to have some really clear, specific, intelligent actions that will move you toward that next role or next promotion, so you’re on your way to your dream career. Here it helps to have a proven strategy that will help you find that next role efficiently and effectively. With the right approach you can make the most of your time, so you’re not spinning your wheels.
It takes all three of these pieces to set aside the disappointments that you’ve had in your career up to this point and step into what’s possible: clearing out the feelings and noise from what’s happened in the past getting clear about what you really want so that you’re headed in a forward direction and then having a coherent strategy of specific, intelligent actions that will land that next role.
Most importantly, you do not have to take these steps on your own. All three of these pieces are things that a qualified career coach can help with. These are exactly the steps I help my clients take. It can be so helpful to have someone guiding you, someone who’s got a map for how to move through each of those pieces so that you can take your career forward.
Look, life is short. There’s no reason to stay stuck any longer than you have to.
If you’re in a situation where your job isn’t going the way you want…
If you’ve been laid off, or you’re not getting the promotions you want…
If you feel stuck and stalled and fully of worried or self-doubt or frustration…
… Then let’s talk. You can book a call with me at https://zmcoach.net/call/.
We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes, and we’ll talk about where you are in your career, and where you want to go. If I’m the right fit to help you get from here to there, I’ll tell you that, and we can talk about what that could look like. If I’m not the right fit, I’ll happily point you to someone who is. Either way, it’s going to be a really valuable hour to spend on your career – getting clear about where you want to go and what’s in the way, so that you can start to move forward. So book a call today and let’s get your career back on track.