Who do You Think You Are?

I am finding that one of my biggest challenges in life has been my own frame of mind.

I am independent; I can be stubborn and I'm not easily influenced, especially once I've made up my mind. Where I am today in my career is the sum of the decisions I've made in the workplace. I haven't always known what to do, but when I've made mistakes, I've owned them and tried to learn from them. In my mind, I always thought I was doing the right things, making the best decisions and really didn't need the help of those around me.

But often, I was a prisoner in my mind—and the danger is I didn't even know it. My individual success was hindered due to the false realities I'd created in my mind. There were instances in my career where I may have had more leadership experience than the person I reported to. Naturally, I felt superior though I was serving in a subordinate position. This thinking kept me from unleashing my potential in that position. In realizing this sad truth, I had to change my thinking habits.

First, I had to acknowledge the importance of realistic thinking. Regardless of how experienced you are, you will always need the help of others. In no way shape or form is it ever acceptable to place yourself on a pedestal. It's totally acceptable to have confidence, but when you really are great, exceptional and extraordinary, your reputation will precede you without your pride. In my career, I’d established unrealistic goals and perceptions I could neither meet nor live up to. In the end, I had to revisit that which I'd made up in my mind. This time, I had to be honest with myself and face the harsh reality that perhaps I wasn't as great as I thought I was.

Next, I had to release the power of strategic thinking. Strategic thinking means you always consider the future course. I didn't always know what I wanted to be when I grew up—but I could easily identify what I didn't want to be. When I began to think strategically, I had to examine my thoughts and decide which ones to eliminate, which ones to revise and which ones to keep. Ridding yourself of ineffective thoughts allows you to craft your vision and plan for a successful career.

Finally, I had to question popular thinking. Going along with everyone else should only be OK if you sincerely agree with the group. When a group says yes, there are times I say no. Recently, a couple of colleagues made a decision that seemed to be the best solution, and when asked if I agreed, I stated that I didn't. I also respectfully shared why I wasn't in agreement. It was a tough call, but in the end, my leader confirmed my suggestion, even though I had to stand alone when I initially shared my thoughts.

When you change your thinking, you can change your life. Taking an inventory of your thoughts and evaluating your mindset might just be the next step on your path to a successful career.

Ericka Spradley is a career coach, columnist and owner of My Next Level who prepares clients for interviews. In her spare time, she writes career articles and takes career questions on her blog, The E Spot.

6 Comments

84,032

pdncoach commented…

As a personal and business coach, I am glad to see this article, which gets at the heart of why each of us can benefit from coaching. We know from experience that even our highly refined ability to see what is needed is limited by our assumptions and beliefs. So doesn't it make sense to work with someone who is skilled in helping you test your assumptions and take action on your dreams - what you want to have, to do, and to BECOME?

I'm not sure what "realistic thinking" is, though. I know some people who try to be "realistic" and merely allow perceived obstacles to keep them from dreaming or doing anything, so they live merely safe lives, or worse, tolerant lives instead of living out Jeremiah 29:11.

Would you agree that no matter what your dream or goal, there will be obstacles (and one of them may be FEAR)? Then doesn't it make better sense to allow yourself to really consider your heart's desires first, weigh those desires against each other, turning the "winner(s)" into goals, then consider the obstacles that might keep you from succeeding in achieving your goal(s)? Develop solutions to each obstacle and convert these into action and you'll have a plan for the live you want to live, and I believe that God wants for you.

Otherwise, aren't you allowing your mood of the moment to dictate the intention of your life?

84,032

Mynxtlvl commented…

I agree Justin. Sometimes we want to tell others how great we are, but what we do speaks volumes in comparison to what we say. Confidence is awesome when it is kept in perspective and when it's coupled with humbleness, you have a powerful combination.

Thank you for taking the time to comment and be blessed:)
Ericka

84,032

Mynxtlvl commented…

Great post and thank you for responding:) I agree that fear is a major obstacle in our lives as well as our careers. I'd written an article some time ago about the 5 Setbacks to Career Success and fear was the first setback listed! Here is a link to the article if you are interested:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/...

In terms of realistic thinking, I would suggest that when an objective is set, an individual should be both willing and able to work towards accomplishing that goal. Your objectives and goals should stretch you or you may find yourself facing self-imposed limits and/or complacency.

Be blessed and take care,
Ericka

84,032

simpleword123 commented…

Thanks for the great info.Also please visit this site www.airclassicrepair.com, thanks.

84,032

Stephanie Howard commented…

I more or less need to read this every week as I head into work on Monday morning. Thank you. :) You have a peaceful, realistic, and powerful message here.

Log In

Please log in or register to comment

Advertisement