CLH: Career Limiting Habit – And It’s Not Just Career

failure “One VitalSmarts study of close to 1,000 managers found that 97% of us…have at least one career-limiting habit, a habit that keeps us from greater success or enjoyment in our career. Unfortunately, our research also shows that while most of us have been aware of this deficiency for years, few make much progress in overcoming it.”*

It’s not that we aren’t talented in the ways that we think we are. It’s that no matter how talented we may be there might be something in the way, a CLH holding us back. As the study shows, we may even know what it is, but find it so hard to change that we go on hoping our strengths will compensate. They do, to a point, but only to a point. Dog on a leash. The meat is 2 inches away, but the dog can’t reach it. The dog can see it and smell it but cannot reach it. Ever feel like that? CLH may be why. So, here below are the study’s top 5 Career-Limiting Habits, which you will see can be just as much RLH’s, Relationship-Limiting Habits, too.

  1. Unreliability
  2. “It’s not my job”
  3. Procrastination
  4. Resistance to change
  5. Negative attitude

The study also suggested a number of ways to begin modifying these habits, perhaps with a brave and bold exploration of who, what, and where you will wind up – if you do not change your CLH (or RLH). Other suggestions had to do with the company we keep. If you don’t believe you are who you hang out with, check out some science on this in Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives — How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Another relevant good read is Stumbling on Happiness, in which Daniel Gilbert suggests finding like-minded others who share your values, maybe even exemplify your values and show you how and cheer you on. Mentors are good. So are friends and loved ones to the extent that they are either pointed in the direction you want to go, if not already there with some know-how to share.

Here is what one client is doing to break his self-inflicted limiting habits in love and work. Sam** is a handsome, charming, middle-aged, physician functioning well below the level of satisfaction and success possible for him. He does not have a mutually loving and committed relationship. Nor has he performed professionally consistent with his potential. Sam is working with me to change the habits that are holding him back. All of the above would apply. But good for Sam for coming up with the same idea as the study’s #6. Control Your Workspace. Sam already moved his office and is step by step putting everything in place to change where he lives, intentionally positioning himself for the better company and opportunity he seeks. He has also opened himself to the assistance and suggestions of friends and office personnel. They are helping him to bring better discipline and organization to his life, at work and at home, in a way that makes him feel like a man more deserving of the kind of success and satisfaction he dreams about. If he keeps it up, and I believe he will, step by step, some big, some small, he will have changed his CLHs and RLHs and made his dreams come true.

Back to you. If you are feeling limited in work or love, and you know what’s in the way but think it doesn’t matter, think again. And if you don’t know how your way of being in the world is limiting your satisfaction and success, ask someone. Find someone who is where you want to be, or find others who share your dreams and want to buddy up with you to work on overcoming the habits in the way. Practice, practice, practice, and see what happens.

To work on this or something else, would love to hear from you:

Email:  Madelaine Weiss

*Joseph Grenny. “Almost All Manager Have At Least One Career-Limiting Habit” https://hbr.org/2016/07/almost-all-managers-have-at-least-one-career-limiting-habit

**Examples and illustrations are fictional composites inspired by but not depicting nor referring to any actual specific person in my practice or life experience.

Copyright © 2017. Madelaine Claire Weiss. All rights reserved.

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