Is Fear Getting In The Way of Your Career Success?


Feeling stuck in your position or career? Struggling to move forward? Making a transition to a new position, to management, or even to a new company is hard work, especially when we already have a lot going on and the demands of making a job change seem overwhelming.

Have you ever thought you just weren’t capable of taking on more challenges or responsibilities? Or perhaps you feel stuck in your job and aren’t skilled enough to do something different? Maybe you feel managing others is something you would be good at, but you’re afraid to put yourself out there. These very self-imposed thoughts often keep people from achieving their dream job and/or their true potential.

As a leadership and career coach, I work with many clients in transition that are looking for new challenges, promotions, or even something different to do, but their own fears get in the way of their success. They feel safe in their current role, become frozen in their path to change, or even stop believing in their ability to do something new altogether. In some cases I observe people sabotaging their opportunities just to avoid what they really want. Is this you?

The key to creating a positive turnaround if you or your self-imposed negative thoughts are getting in the way of your success, is to learn how to "flip your perspective" on fear-based thoughts and embrace the possibility of success instead. Yes, envision and embrace success!

Flipping your perspective on fear-based thinking means, first identifying the self-doubt or the fear-based beliefs that are surfacing and challenging you. Once you've identified these, you can practice reframing them into something positive that will propel your life and/or career forward.

How to flip your perspective on fear based thoughts…

Identify your negative thoughts or those “gremlins” that are creating self-doubt, and then reframe them into helpful and aspiring affirmations to help you overcome your obstacles and achieve greater success. See examples below:

Fearful thought: "My colleagues are having greater career success than I am. I won’t ever be considered for a promotion.”

Aspiring affirmation: "Opportunities for growth and success are being presented on a regular basis. I just need to recognize them and go for it! "

Fearful thought: "I feel stuck. I don't know where to go from here."

Aspiring affirmation: "I have many options and transferable skills. I will be open-minded to explore and choose opportunities that will best contribute to my success."

Fearful thought: “I am living paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford to make a change.”

Aspiring affirmation:  “My bank account is growing every day, my spending is under control, and a change may present opportunities for continued financial growth."

Fearful thought: "Taking on more responsibility is too risky. I might fail."

Aspiring affirmation: “I can achieve anything I set my mind on doing, and with every failure comes the opportunity to learn and grow."

Put the affirmations you come up with into written form and place them somewhere you can see them every day; then read them throughout the day so they are absorbed on both a conscious and unconscious level.

By doing this exercise, you'll be helping yourself to remove self-imposed barriers to success, and you will be making room for more greatness and opportunity to enter into your life. Others will begin to see you in a more positive light too.

A simple truth is that life often mirrors back to us the kind of energy we put out. The more you focus on limiting beliefs, the more limited your reality will be. This holds true for the thoughts and feelings we carry around inside, day in and day out, not just the words and actions we show to others. So shift your perspective and start living through your aspirational beliefs.

This is not to say that every negative thought we have will throw a setback into our day or our lives. It's more about what we focus on ---the positive vs. negative. It's not realistic to expect ourselves not to have negative thoughts sometimes. Although, when they do come up, return to the exercise above and replace the negative thought pattern with a positive affirmation.

At this point, you may be wondering, does this really work? The answer is: absolutely! In working with many professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs, I know that fear, whether recognized or not, is a reality in business. Sometimes fear is the very driver that motivates people to challenge themselves. The key is recognizing and learning to manage your fear and to develop coping skills. Then, once you acknowledge and face your fears, your confidence will rise, and the fear will dissolve, no longer getting in the way of your success.

Try flipping your perspective on your thoughts for a few weeks. See for yourself how it feels in practice. If self-doubt, fear, or negative thinking is limiting you or getting in the way of your success, reframing your thoughts into positive ones will naturally begin to shift you out of a negative mindset and toward an awareness of the opportunities all around you. Others will begin to recognize your potential and believe in you too!

As times goes on, you'll realize that what previously seemed so overwhelming is much easier to navigate than you imagined. You will develop a new sense of strength and self-confidence and your fears will no longer paralyze you from realizing the success you've always dreamed of.

About the author; Theresa Strickland, CPC, ACC is a Certified Leadership Coach, Mentor, and HR Advisor to executive leaders and startups seeking to develop their talent and build great operational people practices. www.stricklandhradvisory.com

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