If you’re considering changing job or career then before dusting off your CV, you should be updating your thinking. Because the biggest barrier to a fulfilling career is always the stories that you’re telling yourself in your head.
One of the most transformational parts of the career coaching we do is helping people see these stories for the first time and allowing them to decide whether they’re true and whether they serve them.
Here we run down the six mindsets we most regularly see holding people back from making a success of a job or career change.
1. You shouldn’t be motivated by money
This one is powerful, pervasive and comes in many guises. It shows up as a belief that wanting lots of money is crass, brash or tacky, that you can either do good or earn lots of money but never both, that money is corrupting, that motivation should come from anywhere but money and many other versions.
We hear it all the time when we’re coaching, either voiced explicitly or more often in the limitations that people put on their financial ambitions for new careers.
But as beliefs go it’s both incredibly limiting and fundamentally untrue.
Yes money alone will not make you happy. Yes being motivated purely and exclusively by money will cause you to take decisions that won’t serve you or others well. And yes there are plenty of rich people who are not very nice.
But none of that means that money is intrinsically negative.
Because whilst money won’t make you happy, having it will enable you to do an incredible amount of good in the world.
Whether by contributing to important causes in a meaningful way, employing people on great terms in your home or business, or supporting businesses that you value, having money will enable you to have an impact on many other people in ways that are selfless and positive.
And it can enable you to do things for yourself, family and friends that bring pleasure – that’s having someone do work that frees up your time to spend with family, being able to support people through difficult times or to do things that transform their lives, or taking amazing holidays or getting greats seats for shows you love.
So before you start looking for a job, and telling yourself that money doesn’t matter or that it’s ok to accept less than you’re worth, get rid of the belief that you should turn a blind eye to money.
The work that you do will create real value and you shouldn’t be shy about wanting to be paid great money to do it. Both because you are worth that great money and because of all of the good you can do with it.
2. How likeable you are is down to you
There is nothing like a job search to trigger all your insecurities about how likeable you are. You will, after all, be asking people to like and value you enough to want to work with you.
So thoughts about whether people are going to like what they see, whether you’ll be right for them, whether you’ll impress them are entirely natural.
And they can make you play it safe, going for jobs where you don't feel exposed or out of your comfort zone, and in doing so undershoot your potential.
Yet these feelings are based on a thought that is fundamentally wrong.
And that thought is that how likeable you are has anything to do with you.
In fact, with 7.5billion people on the planet there are always going to be some people that adore you, some that will loathe you and a whole lot of others who will be pretty indifferent.
And NONE of that is down to you.
Because how much someone likes you is within them, not you.
Take a pineapple.
Some people love pineapple, some people hate it. But that’s down to that individual's taste in fruit and not the pineapple. Love it or hate, it’s a pineapple and it is always has the capacity to be liked. It isn’t any less a pineapple if you don’t love it and importantly it isn’t any more of a pineapple if you do.
And you’re just the same. Some people are going to love you, some people aren’t. That’s down to them and their taste in people.
So stop worrying about what people are going to think and certainly stop trying to change yourself to make yourself more likeable. You are always 100% likeable and always have been.
Forget the people that don't like you and go find people that do. More importantly, like yourself and decide you're going to do what you're going to do regardless of who likes your brand of pineapple.
3. We can't all be successful
Most of us, without realising it, believe that not everyone can be successful and that only some special kind of unicorn gets to be successful, achieve huge things, do great work, be the very best possible version of themselves.
The rest of us just have to put up with doing as well as we can and muddling along with some kind of mediocrity.
So we lower our sights and settle for ok.
Except that belief that success is a finite resource just isn't true.
Because there is no limit on success.
Success is not a pie, which runs out once the first people in the line have their slice.
You being successful doesn’t stop me being successful.
In fact, the more successful you are, the more you get to inspire other people – your kids, your friends, your colleagues, the young woman who knows she can because she saw that you did. The more successful you are, the more you raise other people up.
No one benefits from you playing small and holding back.
Success is as much yours for the taking as anyone’s.
4. Not everyone can do a job they love
It’s so obvious as to be almost unquestionable – not everyone can do work they love because someone’s got to do the boring, mundane, hard jobs.
But boring, mundane and hard is totally subjective. And one woman’s drudge is another’s sweet-spot.
In the same way that some people love that pineapple whilst others prefer cake, some people love manual work, some love to be outside in all weathers, some love spreadsheets, some love public speaking.
There is someone out there who loves doing the thing you hate.
For each and every job out there, there is a person who would love to do it.
So there is no need to do a job that doesn’t light you up when there’s something out there that will.
And moreover, it’s serves no one for you to sit tolerating a job that someone else would love to do. So stop squatting and let that person do it whilst you find your dream.
5. I should stay humble
This one’s a biggie.
It’s a belief that humility is part of being a good person. That we shouldn’t get too big for our boots, that we should keep it real, not get ahead of ourselves.
It’s drummed into us as kids.
It leads us to think that there’s something egotistical, narcissistic, conceited and self-centred about wanting to do great things and being proud of who you are and what you’ve achieved in your life and career.
It’s powerful and it’s toxic.
Because beneath that seemingly positive attribute of humility is a voice that tells us to hold back, to know our place, to let others get the opportunity and glory. That we’re not good enough, that others are better than us.
Toxic and hugely limiting in what we shoot for professionally.
Of course, you don't want to be brash, self-obsessed or forever bragging about yourself.
But that’s emphatically not the same as being really comfortable in saying not only that you have real accomplishment, but that you can do incredible things.
And ultimately recognising that you have a duty and obligation to really make the biggest positive impact you possibly can on the world.
6. Failure is bad
It can be easy going into a job hunt or career change to be averse to failure.
To hope that you strike it lucky first time.
To look at any rejection as a failure.
When in fact, the opposite is true.
Because if you are going to have the biggest impact you posisbly can professionally, if you are going to achieve your fullest potential then you are going to have to shoot for the stars.
And that means that you're going to miss a lot.
If you're averse to failure that's going to feel really tough.
But the reality is that every one of the rejections you get is simply a step closer to success.
Every time you get a no, you are closer to the yes that’s coming.
And avoiding the noes means never getting to the yes.
So don’t try to avoid the noes. Collect them.
Reach out to people you’d love to work with, pitch for the dream jobs, ask for connections and introductions.
For each no you get, you’re closer to the yes that’s going to change your life.
So there you have it, six mindsets to leave behind. Together these mindsets do more damage to people's chances of achieving their potential and finding meaningful work than anything else. So if you're thinking about a change of job or career, start with changing how you're thinking.
To Sum Up…
1. Get comfortable with the idea that money can do a huge amount of good and alongside fulfilment, great money is a laudable goal to have for your next role.
2. Make peace with the fact that some people won't hire you because they don't like pineapple. Their loss. Love yourself and work somewhere where they love you too.
3. Know that your success is there for the taking, and the more you have, the more good you can do in the world.
4. Accept that we can all do work that we love, and settle for nothing less.
5. Be proud of who you are, what you have achieved and all that you will do in this world. And let no one tell you that should be hiding your brilliance.
6. Collect the noes on the way to the yes that's going to change your life.