4 Things That Can Get in the Way of Your Professional Success

“It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.”

~ Eric Hoffer

4 Things That Can Get in the Way of Your Professional Success

By Andrea Novakowski

Do you ever feel like something is keeping you from moving ahead in your business, but you can’t pinpoint exactly what it is? As I look back at conversations I’ve had with clients over the years, I see four common obstacles that tend to hold people back. Do any of these ring true for you?

  1. You don’t move from theory to action. It may feel like you have to know it all before you can make your plans happen. I’m a mentor coach, someone who helps people start coaching businesses of their own. I’ve noticed that the people who make it in this business are the ones who jump right in while they’re still in the middle of their coursework. They don’t wait until they’re experts. They recognize that in order to become an expert, they need to start working. That way they can bring their experiences back to the classroom for feedback. You, too, will gain insight as you go along – so don’t put it off.
  2. You do everything at the last minute. Sam was the kind of leader who created the agenda in his head as he walked into the meeting. As president of his company, he had a full plate and many business goals, and he’d surrounded himself with smart, competent people whom he liked to bring together for frequent discussions. But his crack team was constantly frustrated because Sam would call meetings on the spur of the moment without giving anyone time to prepare. As Sam’s coach, I helped show him how his team could be an even better resource to him if he gave them an agenda.
  3. You react instead of responding. Carl is a night owl who likes to stay late in the office after everyone goes home – he does his best work during the quiet hours. But lately, Carl’s manager, Sally, has started poking her head into Carl’s office before she heads home. Then she sits down and starts talking, sometimes about work, sometimes not. She might stay for 10 minutes. She might stay for an hour. Arrgh! Needless to say, Carl is starting to get upset. What used to be his time isn’t any longer. I helped Carl by pointing out that he had options when Sally showed up for her nightly conversations. Instead of feeling like a hostage, he started using the talks as opportunities for one-on-one time with his manager. He became privy to information he didn’t have access to previously.
  4. You blame everyone else. Lee’s projects kept getting delayed through no fault of her own. Meanwhile, at home, her kids were acting up and making her crazy. It seemed as though no one was pulling their weight but her. Lee had reached the point where she couldn’t see any way out of her situation except to quit her job and start all over again. Luckily, before that happened, I was able to sit down with her and examine what part she might have been playing in the project delays. We discussed ways for her to start building relationships and to overcome the feeling the deck was stacked against her. As things improved at her job, life at home got easier, too. Her family had been responding to the negative attitude she was bringing home. (Don’t you love how your kids pick up so easily on your feelings?)

We all spend a lot of time in our heads, analyzing our situations, traveling the same paths over and over. We make our stories so powerful that we can’t see the situation any other way.

If you’re feeling stuck, consider having a conversation with a coach, mentor, or trusted advisor. She may be able to offer new insights, expand your awareness, and help you overcome obstacles getting in the way of your success.

Coaching Call To Action

Where are you not making progress on your goals?  Take some time this week to share what’s happening with a trusted person.  Ask for their perspective on the situation (that is different than yours) and suggestions for moving forward.