The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 5, 2014

Clarify what advancement means, why you want it

Question: I want to advance my career, but keep avoiding opportunities to step into the spotlight. I feel like I’m holding myself back. What can I do to stop this behavior?

Answer: Build positive momentum to let yourself shine.


This is a long-term process; growth opportunities will come along throughout your career, so let go of any sense that you’ve missed your last chances. Take some time to relax, breathe and move into an openness to new possibilities. Notice any negative thoughts about your abilities and future that may arise. Don’t resist them - just let them pass but be attuned to the patterns you may observe.

What are your goals? When you say you want to advance your career, what do you want? A move into management? A shift within your industry? Clarify what advancement means. Then, even more important, think about why you want that. It could be a matter of greater challenge or influence, it could relate to status or income, or be a combination. Try doing some mind mapping to help clarify, driving deeper until you get to your underlying motivation.

Then align the steps you’d need to take to get there against your goals. You may be avoiding opportunities because they are not appealing. Perhaps, for example, you have a chance to lead a project that you think is quite tactical and you want to be in a more strategic role. It may provide the opportunity for you to work with people who can help advance your career but you wouldn’t enjoy it. Think about if you would be successful with the project and whether the net impact is worth it.

On the other hand, some opportunities, such as being the spokesperson for a project or in a meeting, require more courage than time. If this is the type of avoidance you’re showing, consider the reasons you’re holding back. What is the worst thing that could happen? Fear of failure may be limiting you, but so may fear of success. Keep in mind that you’re entitled to perform up to the level of your ability - what does that feel like?

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