Have there been times in your work career when you felt like you were “in the zone”? At work, you are excelling in your responsibilities, garnering praise for your accomplishments, and being praised for your potential. Congratulations! Your boss is encouraging teamwork, and your coworkers are willing to pitch in. It looks like you’ll be able to achieve all of your professional objectives soon.
However, after a few months have passed, you find that you have reached a point where you are unable to complete everything that you did in the past. You are feeling angry, helpless, and perplexed. Sadly, this kind of situation happens all too frequently.
People Who Consistently Perform Well Can Also Demonstrate Brief Periods of Poor Performance
One study that analyzed nearly 40,000 360-degree surveys and more than 9,000 self-assessments of leaders from all over the world found that 26% of leaders who have been regarded by their bosses as possessing significant potential were also recognized by their bosses as posing a significant risk of career derailment.
As a result of this research, we have recognized three destructive patterns of behavior that are typically rooted in much more fundamental routines. We have also discovered that it is possible to unlearn these behavior patterns with just a little bit of hard work.
- Acting as a victim is the first bad habit.
- Why does my boss treat me like such a jerk?
- I was very careful with everything. I don’t understand why this keeps happening to me.
- It makes no difference what I decide to do. Why don’t my colleagues like me?
If you find that you are using these phrases frequently, then you may have developed the habit of acting like the victim or finding excuses for your mistakes. People tend to do this when they agree to take accountability for something (like a project, a team, or a task), but then they refuse to acknowledge responsibility for any adverse outcomes that are delivered as a result of that obligation.
The problem is that you can’t anticipate receiving credit for your accomplishments while simultaneously refusing to take responsibility for your mistakes. When you take the role of the victim, you alienate other people, which reduces the amount of influence you have and, as a result, the power you possess. When things don’t go as planned, no one prefers to work with or for an individual who tries to pass the buck or point the finger elsewhere. This is not a quality that should be looked for in a leader or a coworker.
The most substantial threat associated with adopting this frame of mind is that you might ultimately come to believe that the odds are against you regardless of how hard you try to change them. As a consequence of this, you have a lower chance of continuing your education and a higher chance of developing a fixed mindset, both of which are counterproductive to personal development.
The Best Way to Stop Making Excuses
Observe the behaviors you exhibit and the answers you provide when you are faced with a challenge to unlearn this pattern of behavior. When you find that you are focusing on things that are beyond your control, take a moment to pause, recognize the negative thinking that is running through your head, and then work on detaching yourself from them. Asking yourself, “What am I dedicated to here?” is the first step toward moving from complaints to meaningful action.
Behind each grievance, there is a notion, faith, or principle that the complainer is dedicated to. For example, someone who is constantly complaining about how others talk about them behind their back may place a high value on the significance of open and truthful communication. Someone who is always complaining that other people aren’t doing their work might place a high value on taking the lead and being recognized.
By changing your point of view, you will be able to move beyond complaining and into an understanding of what you can regulate and what you cannot control. Instead, focus on how you will put the principles that guide your actions and reactions into practice in a way that is beneficial to the team you’re on.
The Second Habit is an Obsession With the Concept of “Busyness”
Do you frequently find yourself saying things like, “My schedule is crammed,” “I can’t take a day off,” or “I don’t have enough time to eat,” among other similar phrases? Do you suffer from chronic anxiety regarding your job, but are also preoccupied with the idea that you have a great deal on your plate? If that’s the case, then you probably haven’t got the time. What you may not recognize is that there is a cost associated with this decision that you have made. If you are always in the mode of operation, you run the risk of exhausting yourself. You aren’t devoting enough time to thinking critically, planning, and strategizing about how to advance or grow.
You Must Kick This Habit in the Early Stages of Your Professional Life
It’s possible that you don’t know what the best way to move forward is, but if you set aside some time to think about what your potential future holds, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about how to spend your work time. Which abilities are you required to hone to reach the destination you have set for yourself? Which initiatives will help you advance in your career? The busier you are, the more likely it is that you are acting in a reactionary rather than proactive manner, concentrating on the tasks at hand rather than the bigger picture.
In addition, being busy reduces the amount of time you have to invest in relationships with other people who are important to your development. You won’t have the impact and social power you need to excel, both within your current company and beyond it, if you don’t have any mentors, sponsors, allies, or a robust network of colleagues who can promote your work and connect you with stakeholders. This is true both internally and externally.
How to Make Room in Your Schedule for the Things That Matter
Be more purposeful. Start by planning time blocks on your schedule dedicated solely to reflection, interaction, and gaining experience that you think will assist you in accomplishing your objectives. Utilize the time allotted for self-reflection to think about your goals, particularly if you are unsure of what they are. It has been shown through research that taking time out to reflect increases productivity. This is because our best thinking occurs when we enable our minds to wander. Consider the following question: “One year from now, where do I want to be?” Which aspects of my work do I enjoy the most? What kinds of work do I despise? Which skills am I most interested in acquiring? If you discover that you are unable to meet these time commitments due to circumstances beyond your control, perhaps you should make this the primary focus of your introspection.
Make Contact With One New Person Every Week to Expand Your Professional Network
Try to communicate with leaders both inside and outside your company who have the authority and influence to boost your exposure and promote you behind doors, as well as colleagues whose job you admire or whose abilities, upbringings, or points of view may expand you. These connections will, over time, have a substantial influence on your life and will help push you forward in your career.
Learn to Say “No” More Frequently
This is a necessary step in the process of learning how to set priorities and concentrate your limited amount of time on what is essential, rather than merely what is pressing. In the long run, it will protect you from exhaustion caused by overwork.