Deep in the archives of our minds we all have images of arriving at our first jobs with our hearts full of hope, our faces shining, and no doubt nursing dreams in our hearts, of days when we would finally walk the talk and become CEO. For most people, finding the correct vocation and starting on a career path is something that we approach in our younger years with a lot more enthusiasm and vigor than at any other stage of our careers.
Somewhere along the line the dream may have faded. We trade in the ‘new recruit’ buzz of getting to work with a spring in our step. Instead we become best buddies with our alarm clock snooze buttons. Hands up if that tingling sense of anticipation and eagerness to please got replaced by a really tall mocha java to get you going in the morning instead?
The truth is we would all like to perform to the best of our abilities in all spheres of life, but perhaps nowhere more so than in our jobs and careers. But somehow, that initial sparkle fades and we get caught up in a daily grind from nine to five and end up feeling like another cog in the wheel. Rather than throw your hands up in the air in frustration and reaching for yet another cup of coffee to get you through the day, perhaps it is time to reflect on these top 10 excuses that could be keeping you from becoming great.
1. Negative self talk
Contrary to our best efforts we all seem to have those moments where a little voice of doubt creeps into our heads. Most of the conversations we have with ourselves inside our own heads are detrimental to our health. Think about it, how many times a day do you beat yourself up about things and circumstances that are beyond your control?
How to move forward from this?
It is time to stop being your own worst enemy. There really is no time like the present to nip those pesky thoughts in the bud. Not simply by replacing your negative self talk with affirmations and positivity, but also by being able to walk the talk. Don’t simply think. What you do can be just as important, if not more useful, than what you say to yourself about yourself.
CHANGE YOUR MIND SCRIPT – Make a conscious decision to move negative thoughts into positive, more grateful space.
I feel so fat and lethargic.
Nobody at work acknowledges my effort
I feel inadequate and under qualified.
I am grateful for this body and I am willing to do the work in order to change my circumstances
I am working hard at doing my best, striving for personal excellence.
I commit to opening my mind to learning about new and exciting things
2. Investing too much of energy in trivial matters
Being bombarded with all types of media and the number of tasks and pressures modern day living places on us, it is easy to lose attention and focus. Having the attention span of an ant is not desirable at a work place or in any other sphere of life. Take stock of the distractions that grab your attention in your working day.
You may need to find ways to streamline your focus. You might not be able to entirely eliminate distractions, but you can drown them out with a little music in your headphones. If you have a chatty desk mate, who wants to grab your attention every two seconds to tell you about her awesome weekend away at a music festival or a new app on her iPhone, you may need to rein in your situation by communicating your need for space and silence while you work. While you’re at it, avoid energy vampires at all costs.
· On the tasks at hand
· Conserving energy reserves for work that needs to be completed
· Preserving a sense of wellbeing rather than over committing to too many tasks, projects, watercooler chit chat and other trivial matters that eat into your work quality and delivery.
Have a look at this video on how to identify and implement effective time management skills!
3. Entertaining too many thoughts and opinions
Ever heard of the saying, too many cooks spoil the broth? Well there comes a time when entertaining too many voices and opinions also have the power to negatively affect your life. If you find yourself running from pillar to post asking for professional advice, thoughts and opinions before you consider your own voice, stop for a second. Ask yourself if there are key time saving and valuable techniques that you could be missing in your own capacity.
Use your eyes- Observe, listen and see if there is anything you can learn simply by being watchful instead of asking over and over again. The number of opinions you take into account can be drastically reduced if you remember one very important thing… Listen to your own voice!
4. Not listening enough
Yes, there is a time and a place when you need to state what’s on your mind, but have you ever thought that the reverse is also true? Everybody appreciates someone who is secure and able to hold their own in any corporate setting, but nobody wants to deal with an overbearing ‘know it all’ who loves the sound of their own voice.
Note, one way of seeing if you have lost your audience is if you see people beginning to yawn, their eyes glazing over, or if they are literally waving you down trying to get a word in edgewise.
Think of scenarios where you felt unheard, not listened to or validated. Remember this whenever you feel the need to let your ‘gift of the office gab’ take over.
By listening you can easily pick up valuable cues from your environment you wouldn’t ordinarily do if you continued to motor mouth your way through meetings and monopolize conversations.
BENEFITS OF LISTENING IN A WORK PLACE
You are able to see more by
· Observing behavior patterns
· Reading body language and social cues
· People listen with more integrity when you do eventually speak. You begin to command a type of respect.
5. Not saying enough
The opposite side of the coin may also exist, in that you could equally not be saying enough in a work space. You may be attending all the boardroom meetings, nodding your head vigorously and laughing at all your boss’s jokes. But is this really communication? Do people at the workplace know who you are and what you stand for?
Whilst it is always good to be polite and diplomatic in any environment, the opposite is also true. By not saying enough, you are missing the opportunity to be heard, to be understood, but most of all you are not doing yourself or anybody a service by hiding your light under a bushel. Nobody says you need to become the ‘belle of the ball’ or dominate every single conversation, but you do need to be heard.
6. All work and no play
A key part of being human and further to that, being a normal, healthy and balanced individual means you need to be able to have a bit of fun every once in a while. The work and career sphere of the times in which our parents worked has become vastly altered. No longer is working just the clear and distinct nine to five job before we go home to our loved ones. The lines have become a bit more blurred and you are required to be a bit more socially savvy and dynamic after hours as work and social lives become increasingly intertwined. While the jury may still be out there on whether the changes are for the better or not, an important part of growth is acknowledging that a part of being dynamic is being able to adapt to the times.
But hey it doesn’t all have to be one raucous party or bar hopping session after the other. Maybe your brand of fun and relaxation is a quiet holiday away with friends, chilling out along a campfire at the beach or finding a quiet nook on Sunday morning to enjoy breakfast and a kick–ass whodunit murder mystery.
It is all well and good to be a steadfast worker but you don’t have to be imprisoned, ball and chain style to the desk in order to show your commitment. Try to strike a happy medium between being a slave to your desk at the office and being a social bunny tagged in a post-weekend drunken haze Facebook album by some of your friends.
7. Letting emotion take over
Relationship drama, family strife, bringing your money and social woes to the office, only spells a recipe for disaster. Equally, always assuming that decisions made in your office space are personal or designed to make you fail is a sure fire way in which you create your own specific hell. Let’s face it, while everybody at the office space is human and you may even connect and make friends with some, nobody really truly wants to be dealing with anybody that is a ‘hot mess’.
Remember to be calm, think before you speak or articulate any emotionally charged e-mails and memos to colleagues. You will be a more calm and balanced individual for it.
8. Having no plan
Another excuse many call upon is ‘being stressed’, which might just code for ‘having no plan’. It is well and good to land a job that pays the bills. But ask yourself… what is the bigger picture? Working and being in a career space isn’t merely about the work, it is also an expression of the enjoyment your life and your well being on a bigger level.
Are you planning to be relaxed, content, doing work that you love and that fulfills your life’s purpose? Do you realize that you will have to factor it in to your life? Consider this soul searching question; can you really truly aspire to greatness, whether in your personal and professional life, if you really cannot see beyond the next five minutes of your life?
9. Being jealous of others’ achievements
We’ve all had those moments where we fixate upon someone that we greatly admire and aspire to be like. Whether it is for their accolades, experience, personality and presence, or simply how all of those elements come together. On one side of the coin we are lucky enough to experience great joy and admiration of that person. On the other, sneakier side of things, a green-eyed monster creeps in and we find ourselves being a bit jealous of what the other person has in their lives.
While admiration, fueled with a little jealousy, can provide an interesting boost of motivation, we need to take care that we don’t tip over into the edge of fully-fledged envy and insecurity.
A part of being human and understanding our place in this world is that we will compare our lives to that of others. It’s normal, it’s human and acceptable. But where, exactly, do you draw the line?
If we placed as much energy in cultivating our own skills and abilities, as we did deconstructing how we come up short that would be a great place to begin.
Take the time to assess your own set of skills and what it is you can bring to the table. In the workspace set up appointments with mentors and people with whom you can have an effective skills exchange. In fact the people in your workspace aren’t the only ones who can help you grow as a professional. Look outwardly to collaborate with friends, family and acquaintances for feedback, networking or skills exchange that is essential to your growth.
You are filled with your own set of skills, talents and abilities, a full and unique set nobody else possesses in the world. Why would you try to ape and replace your own achievements with that of another?
10. Believing that you are not ready
Most people, when asked what it is that they would ideally like to do for a living will light up with excitement. When the question is posed, the answers that emerge are lyrical and poetic. We often speak with such rapture and joy in our faces about the establishments we would like to own, the products we would love to design, the places we would like to go to and the people we would like to collaborate with.
When asked for a timeline on when to expect the deliverables on our dreams, is the precise moment we falter. Why then is it so difficult for us to set the steps in motion in order for us to do so?
Excuse number 10; we believe that we are simply not ready for greatness!
Reality check! There really will never be the perfect time to do anything in life. Often all you can do is search for the most suitable moment, be as prepared, educated and well-researched as you can be and then go right ahead and do it. When it comes to your career path, ask yourself some really piercing questions.
· Are you languishing in a comfort zone, afraid to take the next step?
· What are the thoughts, feelings and emotions holding you back from readiness for greater things?
· What are the beliefs you need to evolve and change?
If you must, sit down with pen and paper and make a point of journaling exactly what it is that is holding you back and then apply yourself to asking exactly what tangible steps need to get taken in order for you to reach that point in your life.
Take your wings and soar!