Friday, May 29, 2009

How to Overcome Obstacles in Your Career

Yesterday I guest posted on GL Hoffman's "What Would Dad Say" blog about learning to be more resourceful. I'd like to expand on that and talk about overcoming obstacles at work.

Today, the workplace is a hotbed of stress. There are lots of people worried about their job, and lots of people who feel overworked. The result is often a roadblock: Workers paralyzed when there is a bump in the road.

So, let's look at what you can do to develop some skills that will help you overcome these moments:

* Outline the worst case scenario. By writing down the potential pitfalls or at least verbalizing them, you face your fears. Fear often immobilizes you, so once you face it you can be better equipped to overcome it.

* Be willing to fight. Don't just accept what happens. Ask yourself what else you can do to overcome the problem. Keep thinking of ways to rephrase the questions, come up with new information or bring in other resources. Don't give up the first time the going gets hard. Keep telling yourself that just like lifting weights, you're developing your "resilience" muscle.

* Envision success. Keep your eye on the prize, whether it's nabbing a big contract or winning over a difficult customer. Always make sure it's clear in your mind what the payoff will be once you get past the obstacle.

* Shake it off.
The boss is often watching closely when you're confronted with a problem. This is when you show your determination. By handling it with humor, grace and focus, you can score some real points just by not caving in to defeat.

* Be realistic. While the boss wants to see you keep trying, it's not going to pay off to let him see you be foolish in your strategies. You may need to back off for a bit and reconsider what you're doing. Perhaps you do need more training to get that promotion.

* Get input. You don't always have to take the advice of someone else, but it often helps you clarify your problem if you can get ideas from other people. This doesn't always have to be someone you work with. A lot of successful people rely on friends and family to get another perspective.

* Invest in confidence. Read inspirational books about how others facing adversity overcame it, or attend events that foster well-being and confidence. Spend time with others who have succeeded and ask them to share their stories of how they dealt with the problems.

What other strategies can you use to overcome obstacles?


Anonymous said...

Thanks again, Anita, for taking the time to do the guest post. What a great addition to my blog. Some time back I wrote a short blog post called "The Class Everyone Thought You Took But Didn't"--directed to new grads and job seeking. Your post reminded me of that. BTW, the way, the first line is "listen the hell up." Quick question for you,Anita: Do you think this is too strong of advice for today?
GL HOFFMAN best new job search engine around,

Anita said...

I spend a lot of time interviewing employers, and you wouldn't believe how many job seekers make the most basic mistakes. They show up late. They are rude to the receptionist. The first thing they ask is about vacation time. And these goofs aren't confined to only college grads. So, to answer your question, is your advice to strong? For some people,it's probably not strong enough. Have you considered a whack over the nose with a rolled-up newspaper? :)

David Benjamin said...

Another excellent post.

I think being honest with yourself is one of the most important traits to have in today's troubling economy.

Are your skills outdated or no longer in demand? Times are changing and we all have to keep up with the latest trends.

I've been suggesting to many that they should consider taking on side projects that may not pay in $ but in experience.

Anita said...

Great suggestion. It's often hard to see clearly what's going on when you're in the midst of a crisis or confusion. Taking on something unknown while hanging onto the familiar could make it much easier.

Dave said...

Great advice and please add GL Hoffman's advice, "Work Your Ass Off" to your list.

Anonymous said...

All really great advice. Thanks for your post!