4 Ways You’re Falling Short of Your Career Potential


Don’t let these factors derail your career success | iStock.com

Most of us have goals that we set for our careers. Either we want to make a certain amount of money, or reach a certain level and earn a specific title. Others have dreams like saving thousands of patients, or leaving their mark through publication or making changes in Washington. If you haven’t set any goals yet, then it’s time to do that. However, even if you have set goals, you may be falling short of your career potential. Dreams don’t just happen; you have to work for them.

On the other hand, if you’re having a tough time finding a job at all, check your resume; you might be missing one especially important skill. Once you do have a job that you enjoy (or at least, a job that is sufficient for now), try to assess how well you are meeting your potential. You may be falling short; here’s a few reasons to consider.

1.Your goals are nonexistent or out-of-date

As mentioned previously, in order to meet your goals you have to make them. If you don’t have any goals yet, sit down and write them. You should consider short-term and long-term goals, and determine what you need to do to achieve these goals. You also may be falling short of your potential if you are satisfied with old goals. If you set a goal five years ago to become a manager, and you achieved that two years ago, then you need to update your goals. A 2014 survey conducted on behalf of Rasmussen College found that the career goals deemed most important change with age, so you should be evaluating your goals regularly.

2. You lack confidence

folded hands

Confidence is necessary for success | Vladimir Rys/Getty Images

If you’re not confident in your ability to do your job, or your future prospects, then your boss won’t be either. Confidence is a very important aspect of career advancement and success. If you lack confidence, you may decide not to apply for a promotion, so you might get stuck in the same position for a long time. You also might miss out on raises that you have actually earned (if your boss or company doesn’t regularly hand out raises, and only people who ask receive them).

According to Inc., there are many ways you can build your confidence at work: Tell people your intentions when it comes to projects, accept feedback and learn from it, increase your knowledge, and speak your mind. Once you become more confident, you will have a better chance of convincing other people that your work is worthy, and that you can handle more responsibilities.

3. You’re too complacent

lazy employee

Lazy employee | iStock.com

Complacent sometimes means lazy: If you’re willing to settle for the least amount of work in order to get the job done, then you are simply skating by without truly doing your best work. Perhaps you don’t mind your job, but you also would prefer not to get to know your co-workers, take on extra work, or even hurry or work as quickly as you can. Depending on your boss, and your job field, being too content where you are can really prevent you from reaching your career potential. If you refuse to do what it takes to move forward (whether that means being social, finishing projects more quickly, or learning new skills or taking classes), then you won’t go as far as you could if you chose to do your very best.

Sometimes people get busy and then they become complacent. Most of us have periods of life where we just need to get through work, and that is understandable. Just don’t allow complacency to become routine.

4. You don’t want to ask for help

businessman asking for help

Help wanted | iStock.com

Showing independence at work is important. You want your boss and co-workers to see that you are a self-motivated individual who knows your field, and knows what is needed to get the work done. You certainly don’t want to be someone who constantly asks other people questions, or can’t seem to finish any project without help. At the same time, sometimes asking for help is necessary. If you don’t understand something, then you need to ask for help; otherwise, you may continue to do something incorrectly. Also, refusing to ask for help (or accept it) when you clearly need it makes you look proud, and some people might find you hard to work with. Asking for help when it’s truly necessary will help you to learn (which will help you advance), and it will show that you truly care about your job and respect people who can teach you new things. Both of these qualities will help you reach your full potential.

According to Fox Business, if you’re worried about looking bad at work when you ask for help, know when to ask (for example, if you already tried to fix the problem yourself). Also, determine why you need help, ask the right person, and be prepared.

Advancing at work and reaching your full career potential takes more than just job skills. If you lack confidence, you refuse to ask for help, you’re too comfortable where you are, or you lack proper goals, you’re sure to fall short of your potential.

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