What if You're the Only Thing Holding You Back From an Amazing Career?

Struggling to find a career that makes you happy? Must be because:

A. No one’s hiring.
B. Your resume needs work..
C. You don’t have enough experience.

Actually, the answer is D.: None of the above.

Having worked with over 1000 super-smart job seekers, I know that the biggest barrier between you and your next career opportunity is not external (the economy, the lack of connections, your resume). It’s you.

Or, more specifically, it’s your mindset.

Here’s what I see day after day: talented, motivated professionals standing in their own way because they’ve already dismissed the idea that their “ideal” career is possible. They’ve bought into false assumptions about pay, requirements, needed experience, and more, and so they remain in unfulfilled roles, perpetually looking for the wrong opportunity. This is settling.

No wonder you can’t find a fulfilling career that excites you.

When I work with clients, I start with getting them to unshackle their minds. I want them to see the full picture of what’s possible.

The next step is to create a plan to move toward this new, bigger reality—whether that’s moving into a new industry (without taking a pay cut), creating a dream job at the current employer, or scoring that one-in-a-million opportunity with an admirable mentor.

Here’s How:

1. Identify Your Own Limiting Beliefs

They may be keeping you from taking huge leaps forward. It can be tough to identify your limitations, because it calls for a new level of self-awareness. But listen to yourself talk.

Pay specific attention to phrases like, “Well I know that I can’t have it all,” or “I know that it’s going to be really difficult to find something that has lots of flexibility, and that pays me well, and allows me to do the type of research that I love to do,” or “I know there aren’t very many jobs out there where I could [fill in the blank what you really want to do].”

If Chris Massad, featured in this inspirational story had continued to limit himself, he’d never have made the move from working in a bureaucracy to brewing beer full-time.

The language you use to describe your situation is a huge red flag that’s revealing one thing: You’ve dialed back your dreams and are selling yourself short. Make a list, writing down your own restricting statements. Be aware of what you believe, so you can meet those false assumptions head-on and counter them.

2. Replace Your Assumptions

They may be keeping you from seeing what would better serve you. Once you identify where you’re cutting off possibilities, you need to challenge them. Here’s what this looks like:

You Say: “Well, I know that I can’t have it all.”
Now You Say: “Why not? Who says? What is “Having it all? Do I know anyone who has what I want?”

You Say: “I know that it’s going be really difficult…”
Now You Say: “Just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I’ve done tough things before.”

You Say: “I know there aren’t very many positions out there where I could…”
Now You Say: “Even if there aren’t very many doesn’t mean that I can’t have one. It’s not like I need 72 jobs. I only need one.”

The concept here is that each time you find yourself unnecessarily limiting your perceptions, you come back with an answer that re-opens those doors, if only a crack. Even if you can’t yet see the clear path forward, you’ll already have mastered the first step: acceptance that it might be possible to obtain your dream job.