The way beliefs drive behavior is quite amazing — especially when you realize that beliefs are often nothing more than thoughts we have so frequently that their status becomes elevated. Beliefs are not necessarily more true than other thoughts we have, but as they become ingrained, they start to influence us. Soon we stop questioning these thoughts and act on them without much further consideration. A lot of personal development boils down to noticing how you act on the beliefs you have established and your ability for honest self-awareness. When you develop these two components, you then create the power to fuel personal change.
However, over the years I’ve noticed thought patterns in some of my clients that are not conducive to personal growth, especially in an unsure time of transition. If you want to embark on a new career or business, here are five common thoughts that raise red flags and how to combat them before they turn into beliefs.
1. “I need to wait until I am ready.”
What does “being ready” really mean? I’ve found that we are ready to make a transition when we decide that we are — it is more a state of mind than a physical state of being. If you find yourself longing to do something other than what you currently are, you are most likely ready for action, even if it means only beginning to explore future change. Although you may not be able to change your circumstances immediately, you can get yourself to a position where you are poised for change, allowing yourself the ability to jump in as soon as you deem yourself ready.
2. “I need to wait to see what is being offered.”
You need to decide who is in charge of your life. I’ve noticed that often people are vague in their job resumes, or broad in their description of what type of employment they are looking for, to make it more likely that employers or clients will offer them a role. However, this means that instead of asking for exactly what you want, you are putting yourself in a position of hoping something you like will be offered. This takes away your own control from the situation. Asking for what you want will not preclude employers from offering you something if they see it as an appropriate fit. Being specific, in fact, can only help you get something closer to what you do want.
3. “I will not seem worthwhile because of my age.”
Age is what it is. There are all sorts of notions about how one’s age will impact one’s perceived value — and it may, to a certain degree. However, the fact of the matter is that age is immovable. All you can do is go after what you want and not let your age stop you. Every age comes with certain advantages, so know what they are and play up the positives, such as firsthand experience or a large range of skills accrued over time.
4. “There are so many negative people out there.”
Yes, sometimes it can seem quite dark out there in the working world, especially if you talk to the wrong people. You will hear all sorts of opinions on the difficulties of a career change, and it is, in fact, a longer and more complicated process than it used to be. Yet, if you feel stuck in your current position and you yearn for something new, transitioning might be worth the difficulties to get there. Statistics show that professional transition is now a way of life for many people. Learning how to job search effectively is a critical skill. The better you get at understanding this new terrain, the quicker you will find your new path.
5. “I don’t want to come off as too arrogant.”
Are you hiding your brilliance? Trying to appear humble in your resume or biography doesn’t shine a light on how unique you are. Use expressive language and strategic placement of your strengths to get noticed. If you have a noteworthy experience, skill, or talent, bring it to the forefront in your sales pitch. Of course, going too far with telling everyone how great you are is not advisable either, but is typically a much less common problem, especially in women.
If you are trying to transition to a new career, be aware of these five sabotaging thoughts before they turn into ingrained beliefs. Make sure they don’t slow you down on the journey to your next adventure.