Could Your Thoughts Ruin Your Career?

The day Shannon* fell apart started like any other. Being a perfectionist, she arrived at work a few minutes early, took care of a few administrative tasks, then prepared to receive customers. As the morning unfolded, she noticed a co-worker, Marge, frowning from the back of the store with her arms crossed. Marge never seemed to like anything Shannon did, and today was no different. In fact, as it turned out, Marge complained to her boss, Oscar, who then called Shannon into a meeting to talk about her poor performance with customers–in front of Marge, who proceeded to verbally attack Shannon.

Shannon was so rattled, she couldn’t imagine how to defend herself. She immediately went home and started looking for another job. Within a few weeks, she had transferred to another branch of the organization. While this provided temporary relief, it also meant that she did not take time to deal with her real problems. A few months later, another co-worker said something bad about her, and Shannon quit the organization altogether, halting a career that had been five years in the making.

Could your thoughts ruin your career as did Shannon’s? If you’re not careful, you could let your self-talk sabotage all that you’ve accomplished so far in your workplace. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, we all need to learn to view our feelings objectively and separate fact from fiction. Bradberry explains that there are 6 toxic beliefs that can harm us. One of the toxic beliefs that ruined Shannon’s day was, I Succeed When Others Approve of Me.

Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain — you’re never as good or bad as they say you are. It’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, but you can take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what people think about you, your self-worth comes only from within.

Another toxic belief Shannon held was that Perfection is Equal to Success. This, says Bradberry, will always leave you with a nagging sense of failure, fretting over what you didn’t get done instead of basking in the glow of what you actually have achieved.

Here are the other 4 toxic beliefs Bradberry warns us to avoid to increase our emotional intelligence:

  • My Destiny Is Predetermined–Don’t blame multiple failures or successes on forces beyond your control.
  • I “Always” or “Never” Do That–Don’t give in to self-pity and think you have no control over your behavior.
  • My Past Equals My Future–Don’t let past failures keep you from rising up to face the next challenge.
  • My Emotions Equal Reality–Don’t let your emotions skew your sense of reality.

Could your thoughts ruin your career? Don’t let them! Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you tell yourself afterward that determines whether you throw up your hands like Shannon and withdraw from the race, or you get up and try again.

Are you happy in your current job? Here’s how to find a career you’ll love.

 Employers, do you know how to screen for emotional intelligence? Read more.

*names and details have been changed to protect anonymity

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