Career Problems: Are you creating them before they even exist?

By amandaalexander | Career

Over many years of being tuned into the female psyche whilst coaching my client base of mainly women, I have noticed that we tend to leap ahead of ourselves, especially with our careers. We create career problems that don’t exist. And this can stop a budding new career in its tracks before it has even started

How we create career problems that don’t exist yet

Women are BRILLIANT at getting ahead of ourselves. We are masters at over-complicating things, over-analysing and imagining every possible outcome of a scenario at lightning speed. In short, we are pretty good at creating problems that don’t yet exist!

But when we anticipate career problems before we’ve even got the job, it leads to hesitation, self-doubt and ultimately, it holds us back. I believe that women create their own barriers to success with this kind of “fantasy problem creation”.

Any of this sound familiar?

1. You spot a job opening for a role that sounds almost as if it was made for you. You get really excited about it.

2. You they realise that there’s something about the job that might make it a deal-breaker or mean a serious compromise. It might be that you don’t want to work full time and the job is advertised as such. It might be that the job involves a lot of travel away from home and you have young children and that’s not going to work. Or, you might look at the skills and experience requirements of the job and realise that you don’t quite have ALL of the “must have” requirements.

3. If you have focused on the not quite perfect aspects of the job, you mentally leap forward in time to the point at which you have got the job and you are unhappy because you ARE making that serious compromise.

In a few short steps, you have gone from being fired up and motivated to apply for the job, to feeling unhappy, defeated and worried about it. **

Or maybe you have honed in on the 20% of the job requirements you don’t quite meet, so you become disheartened and worried. Not only that you might not get an interview, but also that you will NEVER find a perfect job where you actually meet the role requirements.

1. This fast-forward thinking then leads to these types of outcomes:

a. Your brain churns over how you are going to solve this, as yet, non-existent problem and you spend far too much precious energy and time worrying about it, trying to imagine a solution.

b. You come to the conclusion that the not-quite-perfect aspects of the job are going to cause you problems, that it’s not going to work for you.Almost as soon as your mind had started seeing the exciting possibilities of this new job, you dismiss it as unfeasible.

c. You decide that there’s absolutely no point in applying for this job because you’re never going to get it. You don’t meet all the requirements and so the recruiter won’t even give your application a second glance.

If any of this sounds familiar, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! In fact, today’s post was prompted by a message from one of my lovely, talented clients who was doing just this. And I’ve seen it so many times. Ye Gods, I’ve done it myself!

7 Steps to STOP Creating Career Problems That Don’t Exist Yet

Take a step back, suspend disbelief and STOP getting ahead of yourself.You need to STOP doing this because it WILL lead to self-defeating thoughts and behaviours. It will lead to analysis paralysis, giving up or simply putting the wrong energy out there even if you go ahead and do something.

All you need to do are follow these simple steps:

1. Tune into your what you WANT. Get excited. Imagine the BEST possible outcome.

2. Ask yourself, “What’s the first tiny little step here?”

3. Take that first tiny, weeny baby step

4. Once you’ve taken that step, ask yourself, what’s the next tiny step I can take?

5. And so on!

6. Keep up the excitement of what you want – keep visualising your best possible outcome. Have fun with your imagination!

7. Let go of the outcome. Don’t get attached to it. Yes – be excited. Yes – imagine yourself there. But NO – do not let it be your “be all and end all” Get rid of words like “I need to do this” or “I’ve GOT to do this”. You will be just fine whether the thing happens or does not happen.

Don’t Lean Back in Your Career

In my “Inspiring Women” podcast with Kristen Pressner of Roche Diagnostics, we talked about this habit of women “leaning back”.

This is what Kristen said:

“..women are making decisions to lean back or not fully be all-in in career or education in anticipation of a life balance issue that doesn’t exist yet”

She admitted it that she had been guilty of “leaning back” herself:

“When I was offered my current role, my job is a big part of the world and I have 50+% travel and I have four children and I have an hour and a half commute to the office each day.. Originally when I was offered the job thought, “Yeah, I’m not going to take … there’s no way. How does that work?” I almost turned it down until I really got real with myself about why, because I was telling myself, “Well, you’re going to have to turn it down because it isn’t a good fit for your family,” but deep down really I knew I probably could find a way to sort it.”

And clearly, Kristen DID find a way to sort it!

If you haven’t listened to this podcast yet, I recommend you do so. We have had so many rave reviews about this interview – Kristen is a true inspirational role model and you’ll feel as if you’re listening in to a conversation between 2 friends.

It’s very easy (and free) to subscribe to my “Inspiring Women Interviews” podcast and download via iTunesSticher. Or you can listen and download the interview directly from my website.

You don’t have to “make it work” or find a way to “sort it” like Kristen, but please don’t hold yourself back by creating career problems that don’t even exist yet!

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  • Fiona

    Hi Amanda
    Fab post and made me aware of how I’ve fallen into a trap of trying to fix/develop/sort things out before I’m ready for the next step instead of just making a move…

    Fi