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10/10/10 #5: Belief: The Backbone to Your Career Ambitions

10/10/10 #5: Belief: The Backbone to Your Career Ambitions

Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential – Sheryl Sandberg.

Belief is critical to achieving career goals. The first condition that must be in place to getting the next promotion or making that career adjustment is believing that it’s going to happen. On the flip side, one of the greatest obstacles to fulfilling career targets is a lack of self-belief. In relation to the latter, one tweak in how you assess your own ability can help immeasurably with any ‘belief barrier’ you experience.

Assessing your ability as if it were someone else’s:

It can often feel easier to speak positively of someone else’s ability rather than your own. If you, like me, find yourself doing this, ask yourself the following question the next time you experience a lack of belief around achieving a career goal: If you saw someone else, with your equivalent experience and credentials, trying to pursue the same career goal as you, would you believe that they are going to make it happen?. More often than not, people respond ‘yes’ to this question. Once realising this about someone else, you can go about transferring that belief to your own scenario.

Those who have moved from having to work hard to generate self-belief to becoming naturally inclined to believe in their own ability share a common trait – they employ a ‘growth mindset’.

Fixed versus Growth Mindset:

“Knowing what is and knowing what can be are not the same thing.” – Ellen Langer

The focus on the ‘fixed versus growth mindset’ debate has increased in the field of Performance Psychology in recent years. A ‘fixed mindset’ has a rigid and finite view on one’s own core qualities. Whereas a ‘growth mindset’ sees the potential to develop one’s own skills to achieve a given goal. It is this ‘growth mindset’ that underpins belief and career achievement.

Irish golfer Padraig Harrington is a great example of a ‘growth mindset’ in action. In comparison to his peers, Harrington started his golf career relatively late. However, he fostered a self-belief in his ability to grow into a leading golfer. Time and time again this belief has allowed him to thrive (his approach to the 17th green en route to claiming his second British Open in 2008 perfectly personifies this belief). Despite this late start to his career, Harrington is now the second most successful Irish golfer ever in terms of ‘Major’ tournament wins.

How do you develop a growth mindset? 

Regularly set yourself ‘grow goals’ (try for one a week). These can relate to work or personal life. For example, you can volunteer to speak at a team event in work for the first time. Or you can try cooking a meal with a recipe you’ve never used before. The key is to frequently show yourself that you can grow and extend yourself to achieve a goal.

By accomplishing these ‘grow goals’, you sow the seeds for employing a ‘growth mindset’ approach to setting and achieving ambitious career goals.

You can contact me directly at john@inspo.ie for further information on Inspo.