If you’re smart and ambitious, you likely have a coach or have experience with one at some point in your career. It’s time to review or renew your coaching relationship.
1. Forget the past: How much are you basing your career decisions on past experiences, either good or bad? Most of us make irrational comparisons between a past bad experience and a current situation. We are notoriously poor predictors of our future emotional states.
Most of what we surmise about our past failures is circumstantial. Look at the past with a different perspective — one that takes into account randomness or luck.
We are never in control of situations as much we think, and blaming or crediting ourselves is often irrational and inappropriate. Sure, we’ve accomplished a lot, and we’ve made mistakes. That was then; this is now.
What counts is stepping up to learn new tasks and skills. An open mind — one that is willing to admit limitations, as well as strengths — means you’re available for new challenges. You’ve conquered your fear of making new, and inevitable, mistakes.
Too much reliance on the past will stifle your courage to “fail upward” and use missteps as learning opportunities for growth.
2. Develop and use your support network: When you pride yourself on being an independent self-starter, it’s difficult to ask for help. You tell yourself you don’t want to bother people unnecessarily.
You may fear feedback because you don’t want to hear your work isn’t up to par. You may even choose to consult a colleague who’s going to tell you what you want to hear.
If so, you’re hurting your chances of stretching and growing.
Instead, challenge yourself to ask respected individuals for regular feedback, even if it’s painful at first.
Having a structured feedback plan makes it easier. Find a mentor who’s familiar with your work, and tell him you’d like to run something by him. Ask these three questions:
- What should I stop doing?
- What should I continue doing?
- What should I start doing?
3. Become approachable in a high-achiever way: Learn to ask questions. Doing so doesn’t imply you’re ignorant, as long as you phrase them correctly. Let people know you’re trying to explore different perspectives and that you’d like to learn their opinions or thoughts.
Share small mistakes with others. When you practice acknowledging uncertainty or confessing to mistakes, you’re showing your human side. This makes you more approachable and trustworthy.
When you open up to others, you send a powerful message. Others will reciprocate with their own stories, and they’ll be more willing to help you out.
Tomorrow: the nex three steps