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Personal Marketing | Minimize Self-Inflicted Career Wounds


Start Minimizing and Eradicating Self-Inflicted Career Wounds


  • There are foundational areas of your career that, if not managed, can hurt your progression, reputation and professional well-being.

  • The antidote is seven practices that, when adopted, have an outsized positive impact.

  • The common thread is paying attention and taking informed, timely, and intentional action.

What do I mean by “wounds?”

Like other areas of your life (health, fitness, relationships, wealth), there are areas of working IN and ON your career that require your ongoing attention or end up hurting your progression, reputation and professional well-being. They apply to everyone. Self-inflicted means that you’ve ignored, not noticed, or not acted to avoid or take corrective action.

Below are seven practices that, when adopted, have an outsized positive impact on your career (and life). They require your attention. Let’s dive in.

1. Scan for and mitigate job risks.

Job risk is inevitable: new CEO or direct manager, company merger, financial challenges, highly political colleagues, shifts in priority, and changing industry landscape.

  • See: Scan regularly to note shifting winds and changed circumstances.

  • Assess: Is the change a risk, an opportunity and how probable?

  • Act: What can you do to mitigate or get ahead of this?

2. Avoid and escape the career traps.

Sand traps are a part of golf. The task is to be good at avoiding and knowing how to escape them. There’s a range of career traps, like becoming over-specialized, staying too long, accidental career progression and being your boss’ best-kept secret.

  • Actively working ON your career will help you recognize and avoid the traps

  • And when you’re in one, the trick is to face the problem and either fix it or get help.

3. Shift from passive and reactive to intentional and proactive.

This point relates to all the others listed here. Practicing an ownership mindset is the way you create a successful and fulfilling career. Which means that passivity and reactivity are no longer acceptable. Ownership requires intentionality and proactivity. Adopt these, and you are well on your way.

4. Cut the elapsed time to needed action.

Have you realized you’re not growing in your job, bored, stuck, miserable, or at risk? While arriving in this state is normal, living in one of these states is harmful to your career and your life. The trick is to diagnose, decide, plan and take action.

5. Get out of your way.

Newsflash! We aren’t perfect. Knowing that, be on the watch for your beliefs, behaviours or mindset areas that might be holding you back or getting in your way. Once recognized, determine how you can address, conquer and get stronger.

6. Avoid negative compounding. Leverage positive.

There are two lessons in the power of compounding. The first is that compounding works both ways (+ & -). The second is that time is either your ally or foe. Examples:

  • Smart career move decisions stack, creating a more compelling career story (and the reverse is true).

  • Regular networking and relationship nurturing fosters an engaged circle of connection, support and referrals (ignore this; the reverse is true).

Take action on those things that you know you should be doing.

7. Pay attention to the signals.

Finally, don’t ignore the data around you about your professional journey. Tune into the signals. External signals come from the market, your manager, colleagues, and your employer. And your mind and body signal what feels right, what interests you and fulfills you. Pay attention and investigate.

I realize that these seven ideas can feel like a lot. I could write at least an article on each of them. What they have in common are paying attention and taking informed, timely, and intentional action. I know you can do that. We are here to help.

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