It’s the time of year when those observing Daylight Savings Time move their clocks ahead, in essence losing an hour.
Though some might lament the loss of sleep, others see this as a fair trade for acquiring more daylight.
Similarly, in a professional sense, letting go of items preventing your progress in exchange for career gains is an excellent tradeoff.
Here are eight things to lose to move ahead in your career:
A lack of clarity is the kiss of death for your career.
Think about it: if you’re looking for someone to prepare your taxes, would you reach out to the person who says she’s a tax expert and CPA or someone who lists four other seemingly unrelated professions along with his ability to do your taxes?
A wishy-washy positioning is confusing to people—potential clients, partners, and employers. And when you confuse them, you’ll lose them.
Instead, focus on putting your talents to their highest and best use. When you’re clear, everything becomes easier. People understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, how you can help them.
By the way, having a nonlinear career path isn’t an excuse; you need to find a way to weave together your professional experiences to create a narrative that makes it easy for others to understand how it’s an asset, not a liability.
Your environment, which includes your friends, colleagues, location, habits, and lifestyle, impacts you far more—for better or worse—than you realize; it always wins. You’ve likely grown and evolved, and what once worked for you has probably changed. You can’t make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment.
Remember to be mindful of the company you keep and the activities that you engage in, and ask yourself if they support what you want to do, not just what you’ve done. Real growth happens when you align yourself with people and things that support your destiny, not your history.
In a quest to be agreeable and accommodating, you may have inadvertently trapped yourself in a “yes-land,” agreeing to things you wish you hadn’t, that are unnecessary, and that burn through your precious time—big mistake.
Leaders from Buffet to Jobs embraced the power of no to master decision-making and time management, which fueled their success. We must choose, with intention, to what we say yes and to what we say no. It all comes down to simplifying, prioritizing, and focusing our attention on what matters most.
If you want to grow your career, you need to learn to say no now, so you can say yes later.
Are you still clinging to plans you made for yourself a decade ago? Or maybe you feel locked into the expectation someone else—a teacher, a parent, or an old boss—placed on you?
It’s never too late to become who you were always meant to be. Reassess and gain clarity on what you want, drop any outdated notions, and then forge your own path.
You’re not doing yourself any favors by hoarding past career experience that has nothing to do with how you want others to perceive you. If someone views your CV or LinkedIn profile but is confused by how you position yourself, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
When you’re telling your career story, ruthlessly pare down your information, omitting the experience that doesn’t align with your goals.
The jealousy you harbor of your well-to-do peers can make you feel bad about yourself. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment when you try to compare your journey with another’s, particularly when that person is decades ahead of you in their career. As the saying goes, don’t compare your chapter one with someone else’s chapter 20.
Instead, adjust your perspective and lose your envy by reframing it into a learning opportunity. Study your co-workers’ and colleagues’ behaviors and actions to learn what worked and what didn’t, not to replicate their path, but to advise your own.
The stories we tell ourselves are the most important words we speak because they play on repeat in our heads. When you fill your head with negative self-talk like I’m not good enough, I’m not ready, or I’m just a __________ (whatever you are now), not a _________ (whatever you’d like to be), you prevent yourself from learning, growing, and stretching your wings.
Instead, use a little compassion, and treat yourself the way you would a treasured friend. Words have power, especially the ones you say—or don’t say—to yourself. By replacing self-sabotaging talk with self-affirming talk, you’ll abandon limiting beliefs and adopt a growth-focused mindset.
The number one barrier to success isn’t your lack of talent; it’s fear.
Fear is a powerful emotion. It often masquerades as a cloak of protection, keeping us from doing things that may cause us harm. But sometimes, the real damage comes from the inaction that fear enables.
Until you take responsibility for your growth journey, everything will remain the same. To make progress, you need to muster the courage to acknowledge and let go of your fears. By doing so, you’ll get out of your own way and gain traction in your career.
Remember, when you remove what’s cluttering your career, you’ll clear the path for professional progress.
I’m a social media ghostwriter (yep, that’s a thing) who helps leaders craft their stories to communicate and connect better. (Think personal branding and thought