When we think of examples of people who have destroyed their careers or businesses, our minds often shift to stories of criminal greed from the Bernie Madoffs of the world or erratic behavior from entertainers like Lindsay Lohan or former Scandal star Columbus Short. But more often than not, people are destroying their professional lives one small decision, behavior or thought at a time.
Are You Destroying Your Career?
How are your day-to-day actions and thoughts affecting your business or career? Ask yourself, “If my career was a house, would I be building it or tearing it down?
Three Ways to Slowly Destroy Your Career
1. Missing deadlines. This is frequently caused by our desire to help or feeling like we can’t say no. At the end of the day, you’re better off negotiating a realistic deadline or saying no than failing to deliver. And then there are times when you’re just being lazy or procrastinating until the clock expires. Stop that. Missing deadlines causes your colleagues and clients to lose faith in you. Once that happens, it’s difficult to regain their trust.
2. Getting comfortable being “good”. When you’re better than others in a particular area – either by way of talent or experience – it’s easy to get comfortable doing just enough to get by. Put in the effort to be the absolute best you can be – even if you feel like it’s not appreciated. You never know who else is watching and what new doors it can open up for you.
3. Failing to take risks. In the quest to move beyond good, don’t allow yourself to become paralyzed by the need to be perfect. Doing so can cause you to become resistant to taking risks because you don’t want to ruin your track record. If you’re not constantly challenging yourself, you’ll slip back into the patterns of #2 – getting comfortable being “good”. However, if others around you are taking risks and raising the bar, your once good performance can slip to being viewed as sub-par. Remember that everything you’re good at now was new to you at some point. And don’t feel like you have to know all the answers – ask for help.
Take Inventory of Your Actions
Take continuous inventory of your actions and thoughts. Move beyond the emotions of the moment (fear, fatigue, frustration, etc.) and think about the long-term impact on your professional life. Proverbs, the book of wisdom, says “A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” Choose to build, not destroy.