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The damaging lies we tell ourselves

By Nancy Nzalambi | August 16th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Mark Twain said, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Just like fears, lies can deter our journey to career success. Growing up, we were always taught to tell the truth.

Why? Friendships, business deals need to be authentic. For meaningful relations to survive, they need to be founded on truth. The opposite is true. Everything about lies is temporary. Sometimes we deceive ourselves to cover up flaws or to buy ourselves some time. We are guilty of telling lies at some point at work, to ourselves and to others.

If lies can destroy the relationships we have with others, it can also run down our careers. Here are the commonest lies we tell ourselves.

I do not have the right connections

Your head is buzzing with innovative ideas but you think the lack of influential connections is hindering you from succeeding. That feeling of defeat that your idea may remain just that is discouraging. You keep waiting for a chance to meet people at cocktail hour, awkwardly hoping to collect their business cards.

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How to overcome: Having networks helps. It is one of the most effective ways of getting employment or sealing business deals. However, not having connections is not the end of your career goals. There are numerous digital media platforms that can advertise your capabilities. Give life to your ideas by showcasing them through LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube etc. Trademark your innovations and let the right connections follow you.

I’m not qualified for my job

Even the most successful people get critical of themselves. Despite a track record of achievements, you may still find yourself struggling with impostor syndrome. You downplay your achievements, clouding your mind with thoughts that you are a fraud.

Self-doubt is toxic. It makes you feel like you are unworthy of your success. You become too analytical about yourself at the expense of your career growth. You question yourself too much to recognise any progress.

How to overcome: Acknowledge that promotions are meant to elevate your career. You need to feel motivated enough to realise that time and practice will eventually give you the experience you need. Use the opportunity for self-assessment, evaluate your skill gaps, and address them. Having the end goal in mind will prevent your inner critic from paralysing your career mission.

Asking questions makes me look uninformed

Author Paul Sloane says, “Questions are the best way to gain deeper insights and develop more innovative solutions.” The simplest and most effective way of learning customer needs and running our companies is by asking the right questions and seeking solutions to the same.

How to overcome: Do not keep the questions lingering in your mind to yourself. Brainstorming is important in inspiring new ideas. If you are worried that your question may overstep some boundaries, consider the importance of raising your concern. Smarten up your questions by backing them up with research so as not to sound naïve. Facts will help you ask the right questions. You will demonstrate that you are willing to learn and open to welcome changes.

My past mistakes are too gross

We sometimes take our past mistakes to define who we are. The mistakes done when we had no clear grasp of our career goals continue to haunt our decision making way after. Career mistakes can push you to stay at a certain job even after you’ve outgrown it. They haunt you, strain your energy and morale, and hinders creativity.

How to overcome it: Forgive yourself. Some mistakes are easy to forget--like sending an email too soon--while others are understandably harder. Well, you cannot turn back the hands of time. One way of letting go of these mistakes is to detach your self-worth from them. Most of us are defined by our careers. Alisa Leonard reminds us that, “Your career is not a reflection of your worth or value, it’s only a reflection of how much you have dared to do.” Your career path is far from being and a steady uphill climb. In fact, for some of us, it feels like a roller-coaster. Therefore, we should only see mistakes as breakthrough points and teachable moments. We have to develop resilience to handle unpredictable missteps.

Many businesses fail, I won’t even try

Yes. Even with its increasing popularity, entrepreneurship is not cut out for everyone. One has to have a business mindset and tenacity to get through the rough start-up years. You have to be persistent and excellent at taking calculated risks.

How to overcome: If you believe you have what it takes to build and maintain a business, let go of the pessimistic attitude.

To succeed, you have to do your homework. Research, find out what your customer base wants, what gap are you trying to fill? Learn from the successes and failures of others. Get feedback on your products. Be consistent and believe in yourself.

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