With every goal comes a challenge. The way to success is filled with obstacles, and your career path is no exception. You can overcome these hurdles once you’ve identified them, even if they involve external factors or unforeseen circumstances. But it’s always a bigger mystery—and a bit harder to manage—when your greatest enemy is yourself.
The adage rings true: Sometimes, you are your own worst enemy. And it’s impossible to beat this enemy if you can’t even acknowledge what damage he can do. Start with an honest look in the mirror and reflect on what you could be doing wrong. If you realize that the following habits are holding you back, it may be time to evaluate your actions and get yourself back on track.
Busy doesn’t necessarily mean productive. At the end of every workday, check what you’ve accomplished from the minute you clocked in. If you don’t feel like you made significant progress that day, ask yourself: Did you procrastinate? Did you pre-crastinate? Did you slack off without realizing it? Did you let a bunch of easy tasks get in the way of your main responsibilities?
Whichever you’re guilty of, straighten yourself out by writing and organizing a daily list of tasks. Art Markman, a psychology professor at the University of Texas, claims that making lists helps your brain organize information and boosts productivity. Lists can also help you handle the smaller distractions without veering away from your workflow.
Playing the lone wolf
Even if it isn’t always comfortable, working with others is key to productivity. When you go off on your own, you end up burning yourself out on tasks that should be accomplished with the help of a team. Learn to let go of these tasks and to entrust them to others.
This is easier if you can open up socially as well. Pinoy office culture puts a premium on personal relationships and networks, so cultivating them is important.
Responding to criticism violently
No one likes harsh criticism. And while feedback never has to be too harsh, criticism is sometimes necessary for improvement. Some critics punch low and personal attacks do happen in the workplace.
Be the better man. The best (and most productive) thing to do is to take what you can from the criticism you’ve received, resolve to improve, and soldier on. Responding negatively will leave a bad impression and make you lose sight of your objectives.
Playing the blame game
A lot of office gossip and politicking stems from playing the blame game and most of the time, this gets in the way of progress. Not only does it sow discord—it also prevents individuals from self-evaluating and asking themselves what they could have done to prevent that failure. Instead of pointing fingers, always ask yourself: How could I have contributed more?
Refusing to take credit
In broken systems, people who take a disproportionately large share of the credit for accomplishments unfairly get ahead, while those who prefer to work in the background, unnoticed, are left behind.
It’s important to strike a balance between humility and personal justice. You certainly don’t want to be a scene-stealer, but you need to be duly recognized for the things you do. Your pride shouldn’t keep you from asserting yourself and from getting what you deserve.
Shying away from opportunities
You might not get anywhere if you don’t take even the smallest risks. Opportunities often come with risks; you need to learn to take a leap every now and then.
Instead of declining everything beyond your comfort zone, weigh the pros and cons judiciously and then decide. If you’re really determined to move up, you‘ll have to take some chances to get there.
Resisting inevitable change
We live in a time where change happens every possible minute. Technology, trends, attention spans, ideologies, and information are flowing and fluctuating at an incredible pace. Just about every industry and occupation is affected by these changes.
Stagnation is not an option. Accept challenges, adjust accordingly, and learn new things as you go. Change, after all, is the only constant—be prepared and roll with the punches.
Follow Axe on Facebook.