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4 Self-Limiting Beliefs That Are Stifling Your Career Growth

Mar 16, 2018

Left unchecked, self-limiting beliefs like these can leave you feeling stuck.

Are you stagnating and unhappy in your current job role?

You’re not alone: Just under half of the workers in the U.S. report being dissatisfied with their jobs. In practical terms, this means millions of workers are unhappy with what they do for the majority of their waking hours. Yet, on the flipside, slightly more than half of those surveyed have found fulfilling careers —and that number is (slowly) growing. So, how can you join their ranks?

There are many possible answers, but here’s a good place to start: Stop telling yourself these common lies about what you can and can’t do to improve your situation.

You think you’ve already learned everything you need to know.

Maybe you’ve been around the block a few times, so to speak. Been there, done that. Professional development? Certifications? School? In your mind, you should be teaching a class, not taking one from someone else. Sorry, but if this is how you think, you’re holding yourself back.

Studies suggest that companies enjoy a 34% higher retention rate among employees who have professional development opportunities compared with those who do not. The reason behind this is simple: People get tired of doing the same thing every day. Variety is one of the major keys to happiness at work, and you may need additional training, or even a new degree, to expand your skillset and take on new and exciting tasks.

You think you’re too old for school.

Ok, so maybe you realize you need to go back to school. That was a much more realistic option before you were married with kids and working a full time job that you can’t exactly walk away from. How can you make it work now?

Full disclosure: WGU is a university that was designed specifically to address these issues, so we’ve definitely got a lot to say on this subject, but we’ll keep it simple. All of our accredited degree programs are available 100% online, and they are competency-based, meaning that you can apply what you already know to move through your course material faster.

Due to the growth of flexible, widely accessible higher ed options like WGU, the number of working adults going back to school is expected to continue growing at a steady rate in coming years as more workers retool for changing demands.

You don't know how to work new technology.

Whether you’re comfortable with technology or not, one thing is beyond dispute: It has thoroughly infiltrated your life.

According to Pew Research Center, 88% of all U.S. adults use the internet, 77% own a smartphone, and 69% are on social media.

Thus, for someone who thinks you’re technologically illiterate, research suggests you use a lot of it. Sure, you may get frustrated with it at times, but odds are, you have already adapted to these new tools and gadgets far more than you realize.

Why does this matter? Because many of the new skills you are likely to need to advance in your career involve technology. The truth is, you’re better at adapting to it than you realize, so why not just embrace it and stop placing artificial limits on what you can do?

You’re too far along to change your career path now.

Your skillset is too specialized to be applicable to any job other than the one you have. It took you a long time to master your current work tasks, why would you hit the reset button now?

If you hold any of these self-limiting beliefs, it’s time to look at your situation from another perspective. No matter how specialized your work has been to this point, the mere fact that you’ve worked in an organization has taught you critical skills— including widely sought-after soft skills—that are often more closely related to success than technical ability.

Don’t get us wrong, technical skills matter—we are a university dedicated to teaching them, after all. But your experience in the workplace, and in life in general, is hugely important too and can open many more career paths than you realize. You just have to adjust your thinking a bit to see them.

So, if you’re feeling stuck in your job, get moving! Most of the obstacles you’re imagining are just that; imagined. There are a lot of possibilities out there and a lot of organizations like WGU that are that are here to help you get where you want to go.

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