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The 5 Thoughts That Are Holding You Back in Your Career – and How to Handle Them

The right time is when you decide it is.

Image Courtesy of Unsplash

We’ve all been there – whether you’re wondering if you should go full-time with your side hustle or contemplating if you should apply for that dream job across the country, the idea of these opportunities come flooding in as quickly as the reasons for why you shouldn’t take them. But who can blame you? It’s difficult to leap into the unknown when we live in a world that’s grounded on everything but instability.

Although security tends to be a cause for our career-based decisions, it’s also the culprit for why we hesitate when we consider leaving our comfort zones. As professionals, we wish to better ourselves. Yet as humans, we tend to listen to the fear-driven excuses that deny us the chance. In order to stop falling victim to your doubts and start fighting for your milestones, here are 5 thoughts that are holding you back – and how to handle them.

1. I’ll do it when the time is right.

If you’re someone who relies on timing to do something, you’ll probably be waiting a while. Why do we assume this? From not having enough resources to go back to school to not having enough time to attend a new skills workshop, your schedule is filled with responsibilities and your hope is that you’ll one day be less busy – so that you can pursue what you really want to do.

The issue with depending on timing is that there will always be something on your to-do list. A recent 2017 Forbes article also stated that waiting for a better time is a common mistake for people who are looking for their next career move. The key to overcoming this potential dormancy? Prioritize. Find better ways to control your spending if finances are the issue and stick to a schedule if time is your concern. In the end, this is your life and it’s happening right now as you wait for the right moment.

2. I don’t want to fail.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Sure, the chance of failure is scary – but the constant pondering of whether you would’ve failed in the first place is terrifying. Instead of defining failure as anything that doesn’t work out (the way you imagined), remind yourself that you meet obstacles for the sole reason to move past them. While discussing how successful people aren’t discouraged by failure, a Business Insider article declared that, “They use failure as a tool to learn what they did wrong.”

Before you set out to reach your goals, consider where else your fear stems from. Do you not want to let your loved ones down? Does your partner seem unsupportive? By better understanding why you’re afraid, you’ll have a greater solution on how to approach the issue. Take a deep breath and go forward in the direction you want – some of your greatest breakthroughs may be waiting for you.

3. I’m not qualified enough.

In a world where our colleague’s successful job landings and quick promotions are available at a swipe of a finger (and then acknowledged by a double tap), it’s hard to not participate in the comparison game – and inevitably end up dwelling on how the new hire has more years of graphic design experience than you.

Whereas it’s smart to be aware of what credentials you need to excel in your field, it’s a recipe for disaster if you’re using this as proof of your shortcomings. Keep in mind that it’s not possible to acquire every skill – and the set you have is what makes you unique.

The right company will recognize your talents and appreciate you for them. As the co-founder of FourSquare stated, “…It really comes down to the fact that brilliant people want to work alongside other brilliant people.” Along with continuing to strengthen your skills, remember to be confident in what you bring to the table and know that your character matters just as much as your credentials.

4. I don’t know what my passion is.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain

Although not knowing what you’re passionate about is acceptable, using it as a reason to stay unchallenged is not. Sometimes it’s difficult to discover what you truly care about when society has set the standard on what you should do and loved ones agree on why you should do it.

Passion is something you’re born with – your mom didn’t teach you how to do it and your years of education didn’t help you master it. In order to figure out what yours may be, keep your mind open and involve yourself in different activities. Try that yoga class, learn photography, read a piece of poetry, and don’t try to deny what interests you. This journey will be hard – it’ll challenge everything you believe about yourself and you’ll only know it’s worth it when it scares you.

5. I’m too old to do anything else.

We know – you were supposed to be done with school by 22, move to a different city by 25, and get married by 28. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with planning your life, but there’s also nothing right about limiting what you do based on your idea of when you should do it.

You’re never too old – to change your job, to start a company, to switch your career, etc. As supported by this list created by Inc. Magazine, many famous people didn’t have their breakthroughs until later in life. Regardless if you find your niche at 26 or 40, your age shouldn’t be a determining factor. In reality, life is never as simple as the timeline we create for it. There’s a freedom that comes with letting go of your expectations of where you should be (according to your age) and it’s your choice if you want to take it.

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