5 ways you might be sabotaging your own success and how to avoid them

Are you fed up of feeling like you are swimming around in the same goldfish-bowl without ever really getting anywhere?

Looking back at your year are you feeling frustrated about your lack of progress within your career?

It may surprise you to learn that in many cases you are your own worst enemy when it comes to achieving your career goals.

A high proportion of professionals make career orientated ‘resolutions’ at the start of each New Year, which may be in the form of goals or an overarching development strategy. Yet by March many of these goals and plans will be forgotten or pushed aside, as the day to day grind of working life takes over.

It is easy at the end of the year to blame any lack of results on your employer, ‘the market’ or any other number factors. The reality is that the only person who can make things happen is you.

Goldfish jumping out of its bowl

Common mistakes
Here are our thoughts on the most common ways that people sabotage their own success:

1. Talking yourself down
You need to believe in yourself before anyone else can. When you set yourself goals you need to really believe that you can achieve them.

It’s easy at the start of a New Year to think about all the ‘stuff’ that you haven’t yet achieved, and in the process become somewhat despondent. Practice talking yourself up and focusing on the things that you have already achieved.

It might help to make a list of your all of your good qualities and skills. This will create and reinforce a more positive mind-set, and in turn give you more confidence to aim high in the coming months.

2. Thinking too short term
One of the most common reasons for not achieving goals (career or otherwise) is to expect things to change overnight. If you review your progress in the 3rd week of February and can’t see results it can be disheartening. The key is not to think too short term.

‘A goal without a plan is just a wish’

It’s OK to set yourself ‘Big Picture’ goals and stretch targets, in fact we would encourage anyone to do so. But you then need to also work out how you will get from A to B. It’s important to breakdown the long-term target into smaller ‘bite-size’ tasks or mini-goals in order to move you forward step by step.

What to do: Look at your goals and write down any current barriers to you achieving them. Then for each and every barrier or ‘hurdle’ to you achieving your end goal write down the practical steps required to overcome them.

By doing this it makes it easier to turn a goal into a specific action plan with a sensible and tangible timeline.

3. Comparing yourself to others
It is a common mistake to compare your own position to that of others, but in the long run it’s really not productive, and in fact can become very disheartening.

Your background, training, experience and everything about your career is individual to you. Your rate of progress therefore will also be unique to you.

Instead of comparing your progress to that of your peers, make comparisons month on month and year on year. If you have written yourself a time-bound plan then that’s the measure of your success.

4. Wasting energy on things outside of your control
It is easy to choose to focus all our attention on the areas of our career which are out of our control, wasting valuable time trying to impact on things which we cannot change. Not only does this mean exerting energy without result, but it causes frustration and despondency.

By instead focusing on those aspects of our career which we can exert some influence or control we can be more proactive and find much greater return. And ‘influence’ does not mean direct ‘control’; we can influence things in an indirect way, for example in our own daily behaviour and habits.

”In this way, the energy we expend is powerful; and each little victory motivates us to find new ways of exerting influence. We don’t waste energy on things we can do nothing about, but direct it towards what we can change. With each step, we feel stronger and more creative. And so, our circle of influence expands.”

5. Not holding yourself accountable
If you are serious about making progress with your career goals it is important to plan regular reviews and to hold yourself properly accountable. In all other work-related projects, you will have someone hold you responsible for delivery outcomes – why should this be any different?

Schedule regular reviews formally in your phone or diary. We would suggest either monthly or quarterly. If you are behind the deadlines you had set how are you going to amend your plan? What can you do to push forward and get back on track?

If your goals for 2017 include looking for a fresh challenge or a change of firm we are well-placed to help you. Our consultants are ready to discuss your career path and offer expert advice in the strictest confidence. With more than a decade of experience recruiting within Accountancy Practice we have the knowledge and experience to help you achieve.

​Contact us today for more advice via info@publicpracticerecruitment.co.uk or call 0333 577 7787 to speak to one of our dedicated consultants.


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