7 signs you’re about to fail (and what to do about it)

“Failure is an event, not a person.”

I’m not sure who said that, but it resonates with me. Labelling ourselves a failure is like tying a lead weight to our ankles and then diving off the nearest bridge, and expecting to float.

I believe that very often the biggest stuff that gets in our way is the stuff we throw in our own paths. This is true both personally and professionally.

My work with clients has shown me ways of thinking that can make or break you – you can choose success or you can choose failure. Here are the 7 most common ways of thinking that I’ve come across (and embraced myself)…and what to do about them.

7 ways you’re embracing “failure thinking” at work

 

1. You are not being you.

You may be feeling uncomfortable in your work  role or with some element of it – this could be because you’re not living your true values and compromising your beliefs. You may be trying hard to be someone else, either to fit in with the expected culture or because you’ve met someone who embodies success…the problem is, it’s their definition of success, not yours.

Authenticity is key – this involves understanding yourself and being comfortable with who you are.

Understanding the values of the industry in which you work, and seeing how far they match your own values is a good place to start – if there is a big mis-match, then you may have some re-thinking to do. I wrote about authenticity here .

2. You’re not doing what makes you happy.

How many of us are stuck in jobs that we’ve fallen into and years later we realise that we’ve wasted most of our working lives? Are you ‘putting up’ with a situation because it’s not unbearable but you’re not feeling the ‘love’ either? It’s not enough to be doing something that you’re good at – it needs to make you happy too.

Often, we don’t understand what makes us happy. I’ve written about that here. So it’s time to find out. Write down  a list of everything you do at work – every task. Give yourself a score out of 10 for each task, 1= miserable/hating it and 10= you’d do this for free. How did you get on? If you are lacking much above  8, then maybe it’s time to make another list – this time filled with things you know you really enjoy, and then think about how you can get to do more of them.

3. Not asking for what you want.

It’s surprising how many of us develop the ability to mind read. We don’t ask for new roles and responsibility, promotions, part-time working or flexible hours, new challenges or help…because we already think we know that answer to the questions.

Of course the first step is working out what we do want. And then taking a deep breath, maybe a risk or two and going for it.  Learn to improve your communication skills with the people who matter, be creative and prepared and you’ll stack the cards in your favour.

4. You don’t have a success team.

You’re going it all alone and feeling overwhelmed and out of your depth. You have no-one to bounce ideas off, or help you put things in perspective. Surrounding ourselves with people who will challenge us, support us and motivate us is crucial.

Find yourself someone you can confide in, someone who will push you further than you think you want to go, someone who will champion you and someone who will inspire you.

5. You’re not taking risks.

You are playing it safe and while you may have ambition or a desire to achieve certain goals, playing it small stops you from achieving what you are truly capable of. At some point you need to take a risk –  have a ‘so what’ moment and see what happens.

If you have a success team around you, and you know what you want, this becomes much easier. So what if it doesn’t come off  – you’ve learned something valuable about what you need to do next to succeed. And guess what – it might just pay off!

6. You’re too focused on failure.

Maybe one of the reasons you’re not taking risks is because you can’t get past the times when things haven’t quite gone the way you expected. So  what? You got a different outcome than you wanted, so how are you going to use that to move forward? Or maybe you’re stuck at the ‘what if’s…

Well, what if, this time, you get it right? Plan to fail; embrace it and do it regularly. But see it as a way of learning to succeed – each time you fail you are a step closer to a recipe for success. Failure teaches us what we need to succeed. Get into the habit of asking for feedback and use it to improve.

7. You’re forgetting your successes.

We succeed at a thousand tiny things every day, but we simply dismiss them as inconsequential. The chances are, you are not focussed on your achievements and don’t see them as clearly as other people do.

Write a list of everything you have achieved professionally, and the role you played in those achievements. I’ve written more about success here.

Remember – your success starts with you. Have you ever succumbed to these ways of thinking? What did you do to overcome them?

Susan Ritchie

Susan Ritchie is a leadership coach who specialises in working with new and aspiring female leaders, helping them develop their leadership presence, so they can lead with confidence, create the right impact and excel in their role. She’s the author of Strategies for Being Brilliant: 21 Ways to be Happy, Confident and Successful.
She can be found at www.susanritchie.co.uk where you can download 5 Steps To Developing Your Leadership Presence – and why not come and say hello on twitter @susanjritchie.

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

15 Leadership Quotes to Help You be a Leader, Not a Manager

Sometimes you need a reminder and some inspiration to be a leader, not ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

7 Ways To Build Great Relationships With Your Team

The challenges facing new leaders in a business situation are many and varied. ...

Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…
Leaderly Quote: The tasks you let go of…

“Shoulds” are tasks or obligations we take on, accompanied by an inner monologue that goes,

How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto
How to Write a Simple and Beautiful Manifesto

Traditionally, a manifesto is a written statement where you publicly declare your… – Intentions (what

Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more
Leaderly Quote: Leadership is not about doing more

You probably already had a to-do list longer than a CVS receipt before this global

What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?
What’s on Your Not-To-Do List?

Leadership is not about doing more. It’s about switching from doing to leading. From this

100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?
100 Leadership Qualities: What’s Your Signature Style of Leading?

There’s an entire industry of books and seminars founded on the assumption that if you

20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020
20 Leadership Quotes by Women to Inspire You in 2020

20 of our favorite leadership quotes by women At Be Leaderly, we’re on a mission

Happy Holidays 2019
Happy Holidays 2019

May your Holidays sparkle with moments of love, laughter, and goodwill, and may the year

5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading
5 Ways to Shift From Doing to Leading

To become a leader, there is a series of key shifts in mindset and behavior

You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths
You Do You: Claim Your Leadership Strengths

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…
Leaderly Quote: We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses…

We are often so focused on trying to fix our weaknesses that we neglect to

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2020, Be Leaderly