We talk a lot about career values. We talk a lot about career drivers. Today, I want to make a mention of an area less written about – but arguably far more important. Career Beliefs. Beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves to explain our (view of the) world. They’re feelings of certainty, at any given moment, about the meaning of something.
And when we’re looking at our career, whether under the heading of performance improvement, career acceleration, career shift or something else, it can be hugely useful to reflect on what we’re choosing to believe about career.
(And it’s specifically what I choose to believe about career, because it’s a choice. It’s within my power to change. Unlike our values, our beliefs we get to choose. To (re-)write the story.)
Beliefs: Our Driving Force
Beliefs are fundamental. Because it’s those beliefs / stories / feelings of certainty that we have emotional reactions to. (Not the thing itself.)
And it’s those beliefs / stories / feelings of certainty – and the accompanying emotional reactions – that drive my behaviours. I act in accordance with my beliefs.
Here’s what I (choose to) believe about “career” …
- My career is my agenda. Not someone else’s.
- My career should excite and fulfil me. And it’s mine to design, accordingly.
- My career should facilitate my life design. And it’s mine to design, accordingly.
- My career is 100% my responsibility. And I love that!
And these beliefs I don’t hold just for myself. I believe these truths (let that word go – I’ll come to “truth” in a moment!) for you, us and everyone. Which, rather unsurprisingly, is a big part of why I do what I do.
Now, these statements may or may not be the “truth” (whatever that is!). But they’re truths for me. And that’s enough. Because I’m not going to go around preaching these as truths for us all. But I am going to make use of them privately to fuel my career.
(Funny how we call other people’s beliefs “opinion” and our own beliefs “the truth”. But that’s a whole other post.)
I know (believe?) these beliefs have had, and continue to have, a very positive effect on my various careers, to date. Just as I know (believe?) that believing something else would have had a quite different effect!
Different choices. Different decisions. Different actions. Different results. Different everything.
- If we were working on a new business: we’d start with what we believe.
- If we were working on a new movement: we’d start with what we believe.
- If we’re working on your career: let’s start with what you believe.
Choosing to Believe
So, what are you choosing to believe about “career”?
Make a list now. Take a piece of paper and write at the top: “Regarding “career”, I believe … ”
And with your list, notice:
- Which of my beliefs are limiting my career potential?
- Which of my beliefs are keeping me stuck?
- Which of my beliefs are not supporting my career goals?
- Which of my beliefs do I need to rewrite to drive my career?
(Having trouble distinguishing thoughts as fact or belief? Try this: give your belief to someone else. A friend. A colleague. Whomever. Imagine them saying it. And in that context: what would you call it? Fact? Or opinion? The latter is a belief.)
Take the time now to reflect on what you’re choosing to believe about your career. And to consider your highest possible career potential, if you were to wholeheartedly upgrade those beliefs.