5 Psychological Barriers holding your Career and Job Search back, and how you can Change Right Now

By Jack J. Kelly

Have you ever sat down and really thought deeply about why you are where you are?  It’s not a pleasant mental exercise or conversation to have with yourself.  Nobody likes to brutally assess themselves, and honestly think about their failures, mistakes, faults, and inability to achieve the goals you thought you would have accomplished by this time in your life and career.  It is too easy not to think about these things, as they are uncomfortable and painful.

In this society, we are not fans of inner pain and reality.  We enjoy mind numbing television, watching sports, checking out our smart phone apps, engaging in fantasy football leagues, scrolling through funny cat videos, and laughing about something stupid a celebrity or politician said, or did.  This is much easier than confronting your own situation in life.

Here are some common, (yes, believe it or not, it’s not just you, most people have this), issues that are holding you back from success.

  1. We are our own worst enemy and harshest critic.

For most of us, the negative thoughts playing in our head are so bad, that if a friend or family member said it, we would immediately drop and disown them.

Most people succumb to the negative voices in their head, that have been drummed into them since childhood.  These voices, played on endless loops, beat you up with negativity, anxiety, fear of failure and the unknown, and it becomes easier to do nothing, than to act.  We all feel insecurity, anxiety, nervousness, worry, and fear.  Some more so than others, and it may change on the spectrum, depending upon the situation, but we all have to deal with this.  In my experience, the only people who go through life without worry or fear are people too stupid to know what is happening around them, psychopaths and liars.

To be successful, it is crucial to develop and cultivate the mindset and desire to be great, or at the very least, wish to improve their current situation.  Without this mindset there would be no motivation or cause for action.  Simply waiting and hoping for a change to miraculously happen on it’s own is not a sound plan.  Wanting, waiting and wishing will not produce results. What is needed is a deep burning desire to achieve a goal, coupled with assertive actions that will bring results.

  1. The inability to keep the past in the past.

A precious few may have waltzed through childhood and their teenage years without emotional scarring and pain.  We have all experienced what at the time seemed traumatic, but in hindsight, just kind-of crappy experiences and treatment.  I’m not a psychiatrist, but this hurtful stuff is hard to leave in the past.  You can be a twenty-five or fifty-five year old person, and still see your life through the lens of the kid who was picked on in school.

However, you have to deal with it and move on.  Incessantly dwelling on bad events in the past inhibits you from living in the present and preparing you for a bold new future.  The negativity could consume your energy and hold you back from achieving great things.  It is a negative thought process that perpetuates your inaction and ability to thrive.

To move forward with you career and achieve success, you must let go of the past.  Stop reliving bad memories.  Quit being the victim.  You can’t undo the past, but you can make a new future.  Forgive yourself and anyone else, so that you can move on.  Clear your mind to focus on the moment, and your goals for the future.

  1. Inertia is a big burden.

It’s like a boulder on your shoulders.  You think “I’ll do it later.  It’s not the right time now for a job search.  I will start after the summer, after the holidays, after New Year’s.”.  Stop saying it, and just do something.  Anything.  Take some action to move forward.  An object in motion stays in motion.  If you don’t move forward, you are falling behind.  It is too easy to become complacent.  It gets harder and harder to change.

Embark upon a program to achieve your goals.  Write them down to keep yourself honest. Make sure you take action every day.  Push forward, even though you are tired and don’t want to.  By developing habits, you will become used to the new muscles of change.  You will become stronger and more confident.  You find yourself unhappy when you are complacent. You will seek to constantly and consistently challenge yourself.

  1. Current problems are also an excuse.

“How can I move forward when I am dealing with x, y or z?”  It is so easy to kid yourself that you would do something important, but for some supposed problem that is holding you back. Sure, there are some serious issues that people and families have to endure.  For the vast majority of us, however, they are not insurmountable, just an annoying pain in the neck.  They can be overcome, but the truth is that it is easier to complain and bemoan your fate, than to work hard.

Try compartmentalizing your problems.  Acknowledge that you have a difficult matter to deal with, but put it in a self–contained mental box.  Don’t open it and let it spill out over everything else.  Then take assertive, active steps to deal with the problem, and aggressively move toward your goals.

  1. Although in America we teach kids that they can be anything they want; when we become adults, we believe that certain successful achievements are not for us, but for someone else.

We think, ‘Why me?’.  Not in the complaining sense, but “why should I succeed?”.  It’s okay for someone else to build a company and make a fortune, but not you.  It’s a weird thing. People think that success is reserved for others, and not themselves.  It’s not.  I have met with many extremely successful people and meh, not so impressed.  I have started a business out of nothing, have been wildly successful, and I’m pretty much a moron.  Really, I’m not very talented, good looking or smart.  However, I know how to focus, and work harder and longer than everyone else.  To me, that is the ultimate key.  You must find the positive elements that you possess, and build upon them to succeed.

I have more to add, but I have learned that you can only tackle so many issues at a time, to get things done.  Stay tuned …

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