Career management takes work, and it’s not always easy. Sometimes you’ll make decisions or choose a course of action that those around you – even including family and friends – won’t fully support or understand. But if you’re owning your career, doing the work, focusing on learning and improving every day, and living your values, you’re putting yourself in the best position you can to achieve your career goals. It’s still possible that all of the pieces won’t fall into place exactly the way you want. Even superstar athletes don’t always get to play on championship caliber teams, and they themselves may have poor games or even “down” seasons. There is an up-and-down nature to every career and an element of luck involved in every success story (no matter what those successful people might have you believe). One of the greatest assets you have in your career journey is the power of believing in yourself.
It will undoubtedly be hard at times; it is for everyone. You’ll have self-doubt – we all do – but don’t lose faith. Don’t let yourself go to that dark place where a nagging doubt sparks a downward spiral. To avoid that risk, try one of these tips for maintaining your optimism and your resilience:
- Practice a daily self-affirmation, which according to mindset coach Catherine Beard, encourages you to think positively about the important things in your life. It’s also important to focus your self-affirmations on things you actually believe about yourself – it’s not helpful (and potentially harmful) to tell yourself things you don’t really believe to be true. You can say your affirmations out loud or write them in a journal. You can also share them with family or trusted friends when you need a “reflection” back.
- Reflect each week on what you accomplished and what went well. Career coach Beth Benatti Kennedy suggests putting a standing block of time – 5, 10, or 15 minutes – in your calendar each week for this purpose. Choose a day and time that works for you, one you’re usually able to keep and one that allows you to be in a frame of mind to step back and reflect. Fridays work for many people, but it could also be over the weekend, or any other day and time that suits.
- Celebrate your successes, even the small ones. Share them with someone close to you. Explain why the achievement is important and what led to it. Thank those that contributed to the success. Expressing gratitude is a powerful way to boost your own mindset
- Don’t fall into the comparison trap. Inevitably some of your family, friends, schoolmates, or other people in your life are going to achieve a greater level of success relative to some measure, be it wealth, seniority, fame or whatever. But if you spend too much time comparing yourself to others, you’ll just make yourself crazy. And as the expression goes, “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.” Remember that even the most “successful” people face struggles and hardships. You just don’t necessarily see them.
- Focus on what you control. You can’t control everything around you. Things happen – both good and bad – so focus on maintaining a positive mindset and on executing your plan.
- Hire a coach to keep you focused. Just as in sports, it’s helpful to have someone with you along the way, to provide an outside-in lens on the situations you’re facing and your performance. Good career coaches can make a huge difference in helping you with what you’re aiming to achieve.
No matter which of these approach(es) you choose, they’ll help you keep the faith, particularly when you encounter obstacles, face difficult decisions, or encounter other challenges along the way. No matter what, keep believing in yourself and you will invariably put yourself in a better position to accomplish your career goals.
Sources and recommended further reading:
- Beard, Catherine. https://theblissfulmind.com/positive-affirmations-list/
- Cairns, Julie Ann. https://theabundancecode.com/blog/dont-compare-back-stage/
- Kennedy, Beth Benatti. Career Re-Charge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout. Capucia Publishing, 2018.