Reasons You Aren’t Reaching Your Career Goals

By John Yurkschatt, IT Director, DCA

Have you been passed up for a promotion lately? Are you not where you thought you would be in career by now? You’re smart, hard-working, and creative. So what’s the problem?

There are a number of very real reasons that could be holding you back from reaching your potential including fears you may have or false-thinking patterns. No matter what the reason, once you recognize the issue, you have the power to change it.

From my experience and vantage point, here are the 10 biggest reasons why you’re not where you should be in your career:

Fear of Success. Many people feel they don’t deserve success in life or fear their own greatness. Just as the fear of achieving a personal worst can motivate personal growth, the fear of achieving a personal best can also hinder achievement. You need to believe in yourself and that you deserve to succeed. Have you heard of “Fake it till you make it?” It means if you don’t feel confident, pretend you are until you gain the confidence needed.

Fear of Failure. Fearing failure can damage everything at work and in life. It ruins your productivity, destroys your dreams, and keeps you from building the professional success you’re trying to build. Don’t fear failure but expect it. Your mistakes will teach you and show you a better way to get what you want and remember there’s no reward without risk.

Thinking Way Too Small. You may be looking at the future one day at a time or even one week at a time. You don’t have vision for the long-term. You see the trees and not the forest. Transformational leaders have one thing in common…their vision is bigger than average. Just like them, you need to open up your mind’s eye to continually seek new opportunities.

Lack of Soft Skills to do the Job. Your hard skills might have landed you the job but the lack of the right soft skills will hold you back from moving forward within the organization. According to Careerealism, the critical soft skills employers most desire in their employees today are honesty and integrity, strong work ethic, emotional intelligence, self-motivation, high energy, and being a team player. The good news is that soft skills can be learned. Take the initiative and get trained on those you need.

Preoccupied with Social Media. If you waste valuable work hours and productivity time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media platforms (unless your job is in social media), you’re not going to get anywhere. Employers will see you working on “not working.” Your chance for a promotion is gone and soon you’ll be gone.

Feeling Entitled. Entitled, comfortable and security are words that you should never utter or experience. These are words that justify complacency, certain privileges, and low performance on the job. Being “entitled” to be treated differently than you are being treated can absolutely ruin your career. The reality is that coworkers don’t appreciate others leaving more work for them and bosses don’t reward bare minimum performance.

Paralysis by Analysis. Wiki defines Paralysis by Analysis as the state of over-thinking a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. There’s a great cost to an organization if the decision making process overwhelms you and therefore prevents you from making any decision at all.

Negative Thinking. Negative workplace attitudes have an effect on every person in the organization and negative attitudes effects employee morale, productivity, and team building abilities. It also has an effect on the overall workplace environment or culture. Get rid of your toxic thinking and beliefs before they send you into a downward spiral and ruin your career altogether.

Lack of Goals. If you don’t plan anything, play it by ear, and just hope things will fall into place, you are not being realistic. What you need is a clear understanding of the company mission and create a number of professional and personal goals that relate to the company’s mission and success. Put your goals in writing. This makes them more real. By not setting goals, you look lazy and management will perceive you as having a lack of ambition or initiative.

Thinking Like an Employee and Not a Leader. Today, companies are in dire need of future leaders. If you’re giving them the impression you’re only showing up for a paycheck, it’s not likely that you’ll be high on their list of those ready for a promotion or leadership position. Therefore, to get ahead, it’s a good idea to demonstrate that you have leading edge ideas and the ability to implement them for the continued success of the company.

Is there something that’s keeping you back from reaching success in your career? If so, please share your story or comment below.