5 Mental Roadblocks to Your Dream Career

Last Updated Nov 25, 2009 12:12 PM EST

Obstacles to your dream careerFinding your passion and building your dream career is difficult enough without adding unnecessary hurdles to the process, but that's just what many of us do, argues a recent post on the U.S. News & World Report On Careers blog. You can't control the economy or the mood of the person whose desk your resume happens to land on, but you can control how you think about building your career, writes career coach Curt Rosengren. In his thought-provoking post he runs down five mental roadblocks that make it more difficult to identify and pursue your passion. Are any of these patterns of thought holding you back?
  • Thinking, "I should have all the answers." Few people are willing to admit that they don't know what they really want in their careers. They look around and feel like everyone else has it figured out, so they just grit their teeth and pretend they do too.... Here's a reality check: As confident as people may appear, most of them don't really have it figured out.
  • Taking aim while blindfolded. Imagine standing in the middle of a room, blindfolded. Someone puts a dart in your hand and tells you they have hung a dartboard somewhere in the room. Your task is to throw the dart and hit the bull's-eye. How likely are you to hit the target? It's the same way with people's careers. They want to hit the bull's-eye with a career they love, but when it comes to really understanding what makes them tick, they're flying blind. If you want to take off the blindfold, you need a deep understanding of what energizes you.
  • Using the wrong factors to choose your path. We're not conditioned to look inside for the answers. We look everywhere but inside. We look to parental expectations. Societal definitions of success. Money. Status. Potential for advancement. And none of these things have anything to do with what you might love. Are those external factors important? Some are, some aren't. But even the ones that really are important aren't the whole story. If the only decision factors you use are external, you could theoretically hit that bull's-eye, but you probably won't.
  • Waiting for the right time. One of the best ways to make sure you never have to go through the discomfort of making a career change is to say, "I'll do it when the time is right." The truth is, the time is never right. There are always half a dozen really good, compelling, defensible reasons why you can't make the change right now.
  • Trying to do it yourself. I'm not suggesting that everybody needs to hire a career coach. I'm saying that the more you can externalize your process (both exploration and implementation), the better your chances of making it happen. That could mean working with a career coach, but it could just as likely be with friends, family, or colleagues. Find someone to be your sounding board.
(Roadblock image by Old Sarge, CC 2.0)
  • Jessica Stillman On Twitter»

    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.