“I just don’t know how competitive my resume would be for this position.”
“I don’t think I have the experience they are looking for and I am not sure I am ready.”
“I need to get my doctorate degree first.”
When I meet professionals for the first time, I notice their strengths, their expertise, their uniqueness and the gifts they can share with the world. I see potential and I want to help them blossom into the radiant and successful professionals they were born to be.
That’s what I see, but rarely what they see.
Most ambitious professionals see a gap between what they really want to do with their career and what they think they deserve. It often stems from a little voice telling them they are not good enough to get the job and/or not worthy to receive the rewards.
The "not good enough" voice
People who listen to that little voice will either create all sorts of excuses not to apply for their ideal job or they will apply and self-sabotage in the process (e.g., not doing well at the interview). Feeling not good enough to get the job often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In a fair world, candidates would be selected for jobs based on their qualifications. In reality, choosing a person for a position is not a fair and objective process. Research has shown that confidence is a stronger factor than competence when it comes to being selected for a job.
Let’s think about it for a moment. Competence is not always simple to evaluate in the recruitment process but confidence (or the lack thereof) is easy to see.
Why confidence matters so much
Confidence shows the person’s ability to solve future problems and learn when faced with an unfamiliar situation.
Confident people tend to focus on what they want to see happen rather than what could go wrong. They often take more chances and get more results than those who let fear stop them from being bold.
Just to be clear, I am not saying that confidence is enough. Competence is essential but competence without confidence won’t be recognized.
How confident do you think you are when it comes to getting your ideal job? Could you be getting in your own way?
The answer is not always obvious because lack of confidence is often disguised as rational thinking.
Rational thinking or excuses?
Among the following examples, which ones do you think are people making excuses not to take a chance and apply for their ideal job?
- Person A told me she had to keep her Dean’s position for a minimum of five years before applying for another position to avoid looking disloyal.
- Person B worked as support staff and thought it would be hard to become a manager without supervisory experience so she went back to graduate school to complete a doctorate degree in leadership.
- Person C told me he wouldn’t be able to get a Vice-President’s job because he was a white male. He believed most organizations were focused on increasing diversity and would choose women of color over him.
- Person D felt discouraged, not because she had been unsuccessful in her job search, but because she was passively looking at who was chosen when an interesting position opened up, which made her feel increasingly insecure.
You guessed it! All of the above. Here is the truth they couldn't (or wouldn't) see.
- Person A was afraid of the unknown and wanted to stay where everything was familiar. It felt like settling but she convinced herself that her personal sacrifice was for the greatest good.
- Person B didn’t know how to change her own identity from support staff to manager. She was afraid to ask for opportunities to gain supervisory experience so she delayed her job search by going back to college for several years.
- Person C was focused on things he cannot control instead of what he could do about being the best candidate for his ideal job. He gave his attention to organizations that might not want him instead of the many others that would.
- Person D was continually reinforcing her limiting beliefs and feeling defeated instead of taking responsibility for her career. She wasn’t doing what was necessary to get unstuck and move up to her ideal job.
These examples seem rather extreme but they are common. Every time a person talks to someone else about why they shouldn’t try something or why they can’t have it, they reinforce their beliefs and make them true.
Avoidance briefly takes the pressure off but soon after, regret and frustration creep in. Settling for less than our true desires and having regrets is more painful than taking calculated risks.
I promise, letting denial, avoidance or procrastination enter your life would create more suffering than stepping out of your comfort zone. So do it! Give yourself permission to dream big and go after what you really want in your career.
The only thing standing between you and your dream job is yourself.
Understand that your fears are unfounded. You have a lot to gain and nothing to lose.
Be bold. Take action. You’ll be glad you did.
Contact me if you’d like to speak with me about your career goals and gain clarity on what you need to do to succeed.