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How to stop holding yourself back from the career you want?

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

After 10+ years of working with people, I noticed two types of attitudes when it comes to promotion, salary negotiation, recognition: people who go and ask for what they think they deserve, and people who wait to be noticed and recognised.


A few years ago when I started a new role, I had a "Friday-after-work-chat" with a female colleague from a different team. She was not complaining and didn't seem to have a mentality of a victim - no. On the opposite, she seemed very positive, empathetic, humble, and yet unhappy about her current role. She was quietly keeping the results of her work to herself and had no idea about her real value. And she was waiting. Waiting for someone from "above" to notice her attitude and offer her a new role, more money or simply thank her for the job she was doing.

But nothing happened.

After one year, I learnt that she got a burnout.

And I wish I could help her back then but I was pretty much in the same boat with similar thoughts: I'm not good enough yet to ask for more.

So let's be honest - does it sound familiar?

- Okay, I’ll discuss my future once I’ll finish another course on XYZ

- Okay, I’ll probably ask for promotion once I finish a book on leadership

- Okay, I’ll ask for a salary increase - first I need to understand what additional skills I will offer in return

But these are not books, courses or your skills that hold you back. You might have enough of those already.

What holds you back is simply the voice in your head, saying:

- I’m afraid to ask - what if they reject me

- I’m afraid to be found out - what if I’m not good enough

- I’m afraid to be judged - there are so many better people out there

And yes, let's admit it, there are people who are more experienced, more educated, more confident but there's no other unique person like you! And I bet you have more than enough to offer to this world to have a fulfilling job that you love.

So there are three main areas I usually work with people on:

1) Mindset: you own your value and success!

No one owes you anything. Of course, there are great managers who care about their people and plan their future. But they also have other things to do. Or what if they simply don't care. This is your life and it's your birthright to live it the way you want.

Next time you ask yourself "What if I fail?"...

Ask yourself instead "… but what if I succeed?"

Next time your brain tells you "Yeah, but you don't know it!"

Ask yourself: "Okay, how fast can I learn it?"

And so on. It's simpler than it seems to be. And one more tip: imagine you knew that everyone around had the same insecurity, how would it change your outlook?

2) Personal leadership: let’s find out what you will do to change your life

Most likely, you can't change the way you think about yourself overnight. It requires some practice and actions. And yes, there will be some ups and downs. But you will get there.

So from now onwards it's you who leads your life, and not your fears and beliefs.

Let's set goals, create a plan, evaluate risks.

3) Your self-presentation: let your CV or portfolio inspire you!

This seems to be technical. But you will see: once you upgrade your CV or LinkedIn profile - you'll get a different feeling about yourself.

In the end, it's all about the stories you're telling yourself. And it's up to you to choose the one that serves you better for the life you want to have. Choose an inspiring and brave one - you won't regret it! :)

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