12 Mindsets And Behaviors That Can Derail Career Success – How to Stay On Track

career success

When do you consider yourself to have achieved career success? Ponder this question for a few seconds before you continue reading.

Career success is something that many of us aspire to achieve. It represents not only professional accomplishment but also personal fulfillment. 

However, maintaining long-term success can be challenging, especially when there are certain factors that can derail our progress. 

In this guide, we will explore the common career derailers that you should be aware of and provide strategies on how to avoid them. By being proactive and making conscious choices, you can navigate your career path with confidence and sustain long-term career success.

Read Also: 5 Basic Steps to Advance Your Career

The importance of long-term career success

Career success goes beyond financial gains; it embodies personal growth, self-actualization, and a sense of accomplishment. It impacts various aspects of our lives, including our relationships, self-esteem, and overall well-being.

This simply means the definition of career success may vary from individual to individual.

Long-term career success goes beyond short-term achievements. It is about building a solid foundation for growth and continuously adapting to the ever-changing professional landscape. 

When you focus on long-term success, you invest in your personal and professional development, ensuring that you are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to stay ahead. 

Moreover, long-term success provides stability and security, allowing you to have a fulfilling and rewarding career journey.

Common career derailers to be aware of

1. Having a fixed mindset

One of the biggest career derailers is having a fixed mindset. This is when you believe that your abilities and intelligence are fixed traits and cannot be improved. In other words, you take feedback with levity and do not embark on a self-developmental journey.

With a fixed mindset, you may resist taking on new challenges or seeking opportunities for growth. 

To avoid this derailer, cultivate a growth mindset instead. Embrace challenges, seek feedback, and view failures as learning opportunities. By adopting a growth mindset, you open yourself up to continuous improvement and long-term success.

Read Also: 5 Effective Ways to Act on Feedback

2. Lack of goal-setting and direction

Without clear goals and direction, it is easy to get lost in your career journey. Lack of goal setting can lead to a lack of focus and motivation, making it difficult to make progress. 

To avoid this derailer, take the time to set clear and achievable goals. Break them down into smaller milestones and create a roadmap to guide your actions. 

For example, think of where and what you see yourself doing in the next 5 years. Considering this, backtrack to today and eke out experiences that you need to have on your road to that future, and let these experiences guide your career choices.

Having a sense of direction will help you stay on track and make informed decisions that align with your long-term success.

3. Lack of Self Awareness

Self-awareness is crucial for career success. Without understanding your strengths, areas of development, values, and passions, it becomes challenging to make the right career choices. 

Take the time to reflect on your skills, interests, and values. Conduct self-assessments or seek feedback from trusted mentors or colleagues. 

By developing self-awareness, you can make informed decisions about your career path and avoid derailing your long-term success.

Read Also: 5 Lessons from my Leadership Journey

4. Poor communication skills

Effective communication is essential in any career. Poor communication skills can hinder your ability to build relationships, collaborate with others, and convey your ideas effectively. 

To avoid this derailer, invest in improving your communication skills. Take courses or workshops, practice active listening, and seek opportunities to communicate in different settings. 

By becoming a better communicator, you will enhance your chances of long-term success.

5. Inability to adapt to change

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving work environment, the ability to adapt to change is crucial. Those who resist change or are unable to adapt may find themselves left behind. 

One needs to cultivate adaptability skills so as not to be caught napping. Embrace new technologies, seek opportunities to learn and grow, and be open to new ways of thinking. 

By being adaptable, you can navigate through uncertain times, thrive in your career and avoid becoming a “dinosaur”.

6. Neglecting personal and professional development

Continuous learning and development are vital for long-term career success. Neglecting personal and professional growth can limit your potential and hinder your progress. 

What is important as far as this derailleur is concerned is to prioritize your development. Seek out training opportunities, take on stretch assignments, attend conferences or webinars, and stay updated with industry trends. 

By investing in your growth, you increase your value and enhance your long-term career prospects.

7. Lack of work-life balance

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for sustaining long-term career success. When you neglect your personal life and focus solely on work, you risk burnout and decreased productivity. 

You may even lose your job if you are not maintaining this balance.

To avoid this derailer, set boundaries and prioritize self-care. Make time for hobbies, family, and relaxation. 

By achieving a balance between work and personal life, you can maintain your well-being and thrive in your career.

8. Failure to build and maintain relationships

It is often said that no man is an island. Building and maintaining relationships is crucial for career success. Networking, collaborating, and forming connections can open doors to new opportunities and provide support along your journey. 

To avoid this derailer, invest in building relationships within and without your current organization. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and connect with colleagues and mentors. 

By nurturing relationships, you create a strong support system that can contribute to your long-term career success.

9. Not taking ownership and responsibility

Taking ownership and responsibility for your actions is essential for career growth. Those who avoid accountability may struggle to learn from their mistakes and grow professionally. 

To avoid this pitfall, acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and take responsibility for your actions. 

By demonstrating accountability, you build trust and credibility, which are essential for long-term success.

10. Not balancing ambition and patience

While ambition is a driving force behind career success, it must be balanced with patience and realistic expectations. 

Many individuals become frustrated when they don’t achieve instant success. Finding this balance involves setting ambitious but achievable goals, celebrating small wins, and recognizing that success often comes with perseverance and time.

Moreover, you can also get equally frustrated if you are not ambitious enough which will lead you to take calculated risks.

11. Lack of emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and manage one’s emotions and the emotions of others, is essential for successful interpersonal relationships in the workplace. 

People with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to handle conflicts, show empathy, and build strong working relationships. 

Developing emotional intelligence involves self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and effective communication.

Read Also: How to Provoke Positive Thinking by Unleashing Negative Emotions

12. Fear of failure

The fear of failure is a common barrier that prevents individuals from taking risks and pursuing new opportunities. It creates a comfort zone that inhibits personal and professional growth. 

To overcome this fear, it is essential to reframe failure as a stepping stone toward success. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity allows us to develop resilience, learn from mistakes, and become more adaptable.

How to avoid career derailers and maintain long-term career success

To avoid career derailers and maintain long-term success, it is crucial to be proactive and intentional in your career journey. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Cultivate a growth mindset and embrace challenges.
  • Set clear goals and create a roadmap for your career.
  • Develop self-awareness and understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Invest in improving your communication skills.
  • Cultivate adaptability and embrace change.
  • Prioritize personal and professional development.
  • Maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Build and maintain relationships.
  • Take ownership and responsibility for your actions.

By incorporating these strategies into your career approach, you can avoid derailers and sustain long-term success.

In conclusion, maintaining long-term success in your career requires conscious effort and proactive choices. By being aware of the common career derailers and implementing strategies to avoid them, you can navigate your career path with confidence. 

Cultivate a growth mindset, set clear goals, develop self-awareness, enhance your communication skills, and prioritize personal and professional development. 

Embrace change, maintain work-life balance, build relationships, and take ownership of your actions. 

By doing so, you will increase your chances of maintaining long-term success and achieving your career goals.

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