In my time as a career coach, I’ve noticed a pattern with my job seeking community. I’ve found that many job seekers have big dreams and goals for their careers, but become too paralyzed by fear to do anything about it. They dismiss their dreams and instead, continue on a path that doesn’t truly fulfill them. To prevent this from happening, tackling your mindset blocks is crucial. In this article, I’m going to break down 3 mindset blocks that hold job seekers back from pursuing what they really want as well as how to shift into action instead. You can continue to read along, or watch the video below instead.
3 Mindset Blocks Holding You Back In Your Career
Mindset Block #1: The Sunk Cost Fallacy
When we invest time, resources, money and energy into things, it can become very difficult to move on from them. Walking away from opportunities that took time to earn can feel like a sunk cost. For example, I’ve talked to attorneys who invested three years getting their JD (Juris Doctor degree) and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars on tuition, only to realize they no longer want to be an attorney. In this situation, many people would fear that by leaving, they would have wasted or even lost those years spent working.
However, that’s simply not true – hence the term sunk cost fallacy. What’s true is that in time, education and experience will serve its purpose. You can leverage all you have previously obtained and accomplished towards a new opportunity. In doing so, it’s important to frame things positively. Below are some clarifying questions you should ask yourself when in this type of situation:
How did the experience serve me in the past?
How will the experience help me in the future?
What did I walk away with?
Getting clarity on these outcomes can ease up a lot of limitations that we’ve imposed on ourselves when we’re afraid of losing something because, in fact, we’ve already gained from it. Remember that all of your past experiences are what have formed you into the unique person you are today.
Mindset Block #2: Future Worrying
Those who struggle with this mindset block constantly think about hypothetical situations that haven’t even happened. They constantly think about failure, rejection, regret, worst-case-scenarios, and making the wrong decision, just to name a few. All of these questions come up when we experience something we haven’t anticipated. Anxiety and worry just fuel themselves into an even more powerful mindset block. The worst thing about this is that you’ll end up holding yourself back over something you have zero evidence of happening.
One of the most powerful questions that you can ask yourself to combat these fears is, “What is the best thing that can happen?” Ask yourself what you would feel like if you continued on the same path for the next year, without ever changing anything. With these empowering and clairfying questions, you can move into a more positive, best-case scenario way of thinking. After all, most of our anxieties never pan out anyways.
If there are real-life events that you have valid concerns about, my suggestion is to come up with what you need as a safety net. For instance, you’re a pharmacist that no longer wants to be a pharmacist, but instead, you want to go and start your own brand. You may be worried about failing and not bringing in any income to support yourself. Those could be legitimate concerns. Now would be the time to determine what your safety net would be so that you can comfortably and confidently step into what you really want to do. With that safety net in place, you start to differentiate between what is actually true and what is just fear. You can start to come up with better solutions to your problems rather than staying stagnant and paralyzed.
Mindset Block #3: Scarcity Mindset
This mindset block is a very common one. The scarcity mindset operates from a very binary place of yes or no, black or white thinking. There’s no in-between for other possibilities or outcomes to exist in. In contrast, an abundance mindset is focused on everything and anything in between. It recognizes that there are so many opportunities in front of us if we make ourselves available to them.
When trying to find something new, I often hear people saying things like, “As a previous nonprofit employee, I’m really worried that no corporation will hire me as a project manager because I don’t have any for-profit experience.” If you find yourself thinking like that, I would start to tap into the possibilities and start seeking out the evidence of someone who has made a similar transition in the past. You can do this through research, connecting with your friends and family, or networking on LinkedIn. The goal is to find evidence for you to realize that if other people can make this type of transition, you can too.
I always look at the possibilities and try to find evidence to seek out what I would like to believe because everything is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you truly believe something is impossible, it likely will be impossible for you. That’s why we have to make every effort to lean into beliefs that support our future goals. Look for inspiration through other people and stories so that you can open your view up to the infinite amounts of opportunities out there.
Let me know which one of these three mindset blocks have come up for you. And most importantly, what are you going to do to start shifting out of that?