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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Archive: Limiting factors – December 9, 2005

Archive: Limiting factors – December 9, 2005

January 22nd, 2009

Don’t limit yourself or your career

(This podcast is pulled “from the archives” and presented here as a service to more recent listeners — Douglas)

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There are many factors that can limit the success of your high-tech career. You can lack basic skills or opportunities to use the skills you have. You can live in an economically depressed area. You might even have personal health issues. Even these issues, though, are nothing compared to the 3 most insidious limits we place upon our own careers. As with many parts of our lives, our biggest obstacles are often those we create for ourselves.

Lack of Faith

The single most important factor in career success is a natural faith in our own abilities. I am not talking about blatant arrogance or a refusal to recognize your own limitations, but something much more basic. If you do not have a basic belief that you can overcome the day-to-day challenges of your career, you put a tremendous limit on your chance for success.

You need to believe that you can learn new skills. You need to believe that you can support yourself. You must believe that you can continue to grow in both your career and your life regardless of what obstacles might be placed in your path.

How do you develop this confidence in yourself, now and in the future? First, you seek out opportunities to find those small, daily successes that sustain us as we build a life. You need to recognize these successes and celebrate them. Each new success gives us the confidence to stretch ourselves a little bit farther, to try new things, to take a bit more risk. This then leads to more successes, and a few failures, but still building your confidence step by step.
If you take a different tack, constantly berating yourself for small failures, limiting your risks and ignoring your small successes you are virtually guaranteeing that you will find success elusive, if not impossible..

Lack of thought

You can also limit your career through a lack of thought. If you find yourself only following orders, performing tasks by rote or doing only what needs to be done, you are limiting yourself to a minor role in your company and your career. If you aren’t thinking every single day about something, job-related or not, you need to start. If your job isn’t challenging, then you need to challenge yourself. Look for new ideas, new methods, new books to aid and expand your thinking. You will also want to find a new job. You will never do your best work or explore all your capabilities if you are not engaged by your work. You will remain stuck in the same rut from one day to the next.

Set aside some time each day to simply think. Think about your work, your goals, your life. Think about new careers, new ideas, new people, new businesses, new worlds. It matters very little what you think about. What matters more is the fact that you take the time to think at all.

Lack of Action

Finally, it is almost impossible to achieve great success in your career if you don’t assume a “bias for action” at every possible opportunity. Taking action forces us to take risks and encounter new hardware, new software, and new ideas. Within reason, your first response when presented with a new opportunity should always be “Yes!” You may decide, on further investigation that the opportunity is not suited to your desires or needs, but you should never simply dismiss them without some thought. You need to be as open as possible to every opportunity that presents itself.

What 3 projects have been brought to your attention in the last 3 months? Did you immediately dive in and investigate each opportunity as it arrived or did you simply tell yourself that you weren’t qualified/interested/able? Think about the missed opportunities you have recently experienced. How could you better take action in the future?

Don’t limit your career or your life by ignoring these 3 important, limiting factors. Have faith in yourself, take the time to think about every aspect of your life and career and take immediate, direct action whenever possible to make your goals reality. While this might not guarantee you a great career, it will certainly improve the odds of achieving a better high-tech career.

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