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Ten Pitfalls Keeping You From Your Career Goals
by Terrie O'Connell

There is a Tibetan saying "If you want to know your future, look at what you are doing in this moment." In a traditional job search of the past, it was simple, you could move from job to job on autopilot. Advances may have happened for you without much effort or thought. However, now, this new economy has offered many people the time and opportunity to deeply evaluate their future. What wonderful, new experience will I get to have? How will I have moved closer to being my true self? Conversely, will I be forced to take on a job that is boring, unpleasant or fear-provoking?

How will you get to your ultimate future? What are you doing daily to ensure that your job search leads you to a position that will reward you financially, intellectually, and emotionally? Many people obsess over how to find a bright new job but often block their own change to make it happen. Here's some common pitfalls you may be suffering under, keeping you from reaching your perfect new job:

1. Not Having a Sense of Purpose
Itís not enough to set goals for yourself. You need to know why youíre doing what youíre doing. Knowing the purpose answers the ďwhy.Ē It gives your life order and meaning. When you know your purpose, you can stop reacting to circumstances and you start creating your opportunities.

2. Not Knowing Your Values
Are you applying to just any job you see? Are you acting out of need versus desire? What is really important to you? What do you believe is the right way to live your life? Having clear values helps you make the tough decisions in your life. A value-led life is one of integrity and high self-esteem. You impress others with your internal integrity and regard for your career.

3. Not Telling Yourself the Truth
How are you not supporting your job search goals? If you're not achieving the results you want or expect, be honest with yourself about it. Acknowledge what you want instead of telling yourself you canít have it, it isnít realistic, or pretending you donít really want it. When you identify a personal fear or weakness, acknowledge it. Donít try to hide it, minimize it or exaggerate it. When you make a mistake, take responsibility for it. Tell yourself the facts, without judging the facts. Then do something different to correct the issue.

4. Letting External Conditions Rule You
A common side effect of this economic downturn is to let external conditions rule your thoughts and behavior. These naturally negative emotions, spurned by fellow job seekers and the media, can trap you into a feeling of victimization, leaving you with a sense of hopelessness. Realize for yourself that there are times when you need to Add On; to learn new skills, take on new responsibilities, stretch yourself. There are times when you need to Hold On; to what you know, whatís working for you, your values and beliefs in the face of differing opinions. And there are times when you need to Let Go; of beliefs that no longer serve you, of familiar ways of doing things, of your negative expectations. When you let go of the "collective consciousness" and drive your own conditions you will again see a new reality full of possibilities.

5. Not Paying Attention
Opportunity does not knock, it whispers! The ability to focus your mind and concentrate on what you want is developed by paying attention. Listen, look, and step into those moments offering opportunity. When youíre in charge of your attention, new doors will open all around you that you would never have noticed before.

6. Can't Balance Action and Reflection
Reflection without action is impotent. Action without reflection leads to purposeless activity. Do your job search activities balance time for reflection and meaningful action towards your goals? Allow yourself the freedom to cross-check your actions against their expected outcomes. Are you spending your time wisely?

7. Won't Choose Life-Enhancing Beliefs
The quality and content of your life is determined to a large degree by your beliefs. If you believe youíll never get anywhere, you wonít. If you believe you donít have a purpose, you wonít find it. If you believe you canít live your purpose, you wonít. The people who have a life they desire are people who believe such a life is possible for them. Look carefully at what you believe.

8. Doesn't Practice a Discipline
A discipline is something you do every day, without expecting a result in return. You do it for the sake of the discipline. It can be anything. Exercise, meditation, writing. Select something and do it each day. The learning and growth comes when you are able to maintain your discipline whether or not you feel like it. To practice a discipline leads to being disciplined.

9. Don't Know What To Do Next
Job searching involves working on real problems, focusing on learning and actually implementing solutions. The experience of not knowing 'what to do next', means going through your own set of job search strategies and still coming up empty. In the face our "do it yourself" culture, open yourself up to allowing and receiving the support and assistance you so richly deserve. Enroll in a support program that is both supportive and at the same time challenging, deeply caring yet questioning. By reaching out to others, you'll find a new way of life where being responsible for your own results is a continuing process of working with others.

10. Haven't Acted Out the Role
Setting goals, networking, interviewing, negotiation, all job search activities take practice. Just like any competitive sport, you wouldn't practice out in the real world where it most matters! Rather, you would find a safe environment or 'practice field' where you can stretch and practice, play and learn. Join a team of like minded people who also need the practice, get their feedback and encouragement. Then, when you feel you've fine tuned your job search skills, go out and test those skills in the real world and win!

An effective leader in today's workplace will be able to work alone and as part of a team. People schooled solely as team players may never learn to take personal responsibility, and can find themselves unable to act, only to advise. But likewise, the lone wolf schooled to think and act alone will find him or herself increasingly alienated in organizations calling, rightly, for shared vision. Our Group Coaching Program recognizes this need to develop self-direction and self-reliance. At the same time, our program encourages participants to discuss, share, pool their ambitions and experiences, and therefore create something else, a gestalt, where the group yields a better result than individuals could.

If you would like to explore how Virtual Group Coaching can work for you, call (720) 298-6614 today for a free 1/2 hour consultation to discuss how we can help you reach your career goals!

Terrie OConnell may be contacted at Terrie O'Connell is a renowned career consultant with her own successful entrepreneurial career spanning over 16 years. Terrie's passion is to help others realize their dreams - through strategically co-creating one's career, business and personal goals. Her comprehensive Career Center ( offers outstanding resources for those looking for career growth or job search strategy. For answers to your career questions, contact Terrie toll-free at 1-866-4LIVEADVICE and enter #16219.


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