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A Trap That Successful People Will Fall Into and Instantly Become Losers

A Trap That Successful People Will Fall Into and Instantly Become Losers

Sometimes people ask me “what the most dangerous trait in leadership” is. I think they often expect answers like “They take to severe risks” or “the inability to adapt” and yes, these are dangerous traits. But they aren’t what I say, instead, to me, the worst traits a leader can have are: severe self doubt or the opposite, hubris.

Essentially, thinking everything that happens to you is down to other people because you are either too confident about yourself (and thus are blind to any problems), or not confident enough (and thus see problems where there are none).

Hubris can make anyone fall victim to the biggest trap on the road to success. It can blind someone to any of their faults, or faults in their company or idea. A person with hubris will believe that any problems they face are only down to others, and never themselves. This lack of awareness can make even the strongest fall empires fall.

The Trap of Hubris

Think about Alexander the Great, considered by many to be one of the greatest commanders in history. Before he reached thirty years of age, he had conquered most of the known world, from Greece to India. He never lost a battle. However his successes made him arrogant, and suspicious of others. He stopped listening to any of his advisers and the demands of his troops.

    At one point, after pushing his men relentlessly for ten years, they demanded that they return home. As he refused to consider the needs of his men, his expanding empire came to a sudden halt somewhere in the desert. His arrogance was so bad that he often refused to delegate responsibilities to others, so when he died, he didn’t name a successor. Because of this, his empire crumbled away.

    Countless people throughout history have aspired to be like Alexander, but I consider his story to be a warning.

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    Signs of Falling Into the Trap

    Hubris isn’t always obvious. After all, hubris, at times when things are going well can be mistaken for sheer self confidence (which unlike hubris can be positive). However, hubris becomes clear when things start to go wrong.

    I have done my best, but they haven’t.

    Imagine that you are the manager of a successful company. One day, a few extremely skilled and high performing employees decide to leave your company. What would you do?

    The hubristic person will convince themselves that the good employees are the ones with the problem, they’d think that the company will be better off without them, and as such will develop an even more arrogant and uncaring attitude. This in turn will mean more and more employees will leave.

      The dangers of hubris isn’t just a problem in business or leadership either. Indeed, imagine you fell out with a friend because of something mean or cruel they said. If they were hubristic, they’d only blame you for the fallout and as a result, they’ll never change.

      There’s nothing I can do to stop this.

      If a business is going downhill, these people will believe that there’s nothing they can do about this. They will try to normalize the issue, saying that it’s a common phenomenon, or it’s something unpredictable and uncontrollable. For example, they might blame it on the fall of an overall market, the severe competitions these days, or the drop of overall living standard.

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        Others are just luckier.

        These people may think that more successful people are intrinsically more “lucky” than they are, and thus they don’t spend time considering what made them so successful in the first place. By doing this, they lose any chance for self improvement, and genuinely decrease the possibility for future success. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy

        Think about Mark Zuckerberg, when Facebook initially became successful, many people thought it was a fluke, a trend that would die down after a couple months. Now, years later, Facebook utterly dominates online social media and has for all intents and purposes revolutionized how we communicate online.

          Others are more talented.

          They may also think others are simply more talented than them. They may point to someone like JK Rowling and say “I wish I could be like that, but I’m simply not good enough” This is self doubt at its worst.

          Though JK Rowling now is arguably the most popular and successful writer in the world, she was once a broke single parent trying to get a book deal. The Harry Potter books were rejected by many publishers. Her success didn’t come from some incredible and unique talent, but because she had a fantastic idea, and persevered with it.

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            I don’t have that much capital to do what I want to do.

            They may also think that they don’t have unlimited money and resources like others do, so it’s difficult to come up with creative solutions, to invest in a potential project, to expand the market or to connect with influential people.

              Ultimately, if a person only looks to outside forces for their success or lack of success. Then they stop looking into the root causes of any problems and thus have no chance of getting rid of these problems. If these problems aren’t tackled, they only get worse.

              Getting Out of the Trap

              There is only one person who controls you, and the things that happen to you, and that person is you. Sure, bad things can happen to anyone. But I believe that the effect of these bad things are directly proportional to your reaction to them and your thoughts. If you see setbacks as opportunities, it becomes extremely difficult for you to become overwhelmed.

              Look at What You’ve Got and Make the Most of out It

              Something that today may be a problem, might be a benefit tomorrow, it all depends on perspective. I believe that every problem has a solution, but no solution can ever come if someone gives up by thinking that they are powerless.

              For example, if you have to complete a project or need to do something but realize that the budget you have for it may be too small. You could spend time being frustrated about this, and complain about your luck, or you can spend time trying to work out the most efficient use for this budget.

              It is like the story of David and Goliath. It’s the story how a young King David from the bible defeated the enemy champion warrior Goliath, despite Goliath being far larger, stronger, and better armored.

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              Most people when faced with such a fight would give up. Indeed that’s how the story goes. Nobody in David’s army thought he could possibly win. However he played to his strengths, David knew that he could never defeat Goliath in hand to hand combat, but that didn’t matter, as David was skilled with a ranged weapon, a sling.

                If David was hubristic he might have tried to fight Goliath as physical equal, where he would have been crushed. If David had severe self doubt, he would never have fought in the first place. But instead he thought about it, knew what he could do, and what he couldn’t do and worked accordingly. He was aware of his own limitations, and decided to see them as potential strengths.

                Think about the scenario I mentioned earlier, where some high performing employees leave your company. A wise leader, one who sees the whole picture wouldn’t merely accept their loss as inevitable, or think that that the company was better off without them, but would instead look into what made them leave in the first place.

                  They’d wonder what they could change to make it less likely other employees would leave like that. In doing this, the company would improve, it would stay strong. However failure to investigate what made those employees leave will mean that more employees may leave in the future for the same reasons.

                  Stop Waiting for Things to Happen, Make Things Happen

                  What I mean by this is simple. Know yourself. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to use them both to your advantage. Think of yourself as a person of action, someone that makes things happen, not someone that things happen to.

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                  Leon Ho

                  Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                  Last Updated on July 18, 2019

                  How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                  How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

                  Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

                  However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

                  Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

                  Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

                  There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

                  Better Job Offers

                  Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

                  People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

                  Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

                  You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

                  Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

                  A Shot at Entrepreneurship

                  Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

                  We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

                  13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

                  1. Update Your Resume

                  You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

                  Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

                  While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

                  There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

                  2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

                  Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

                  That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

                  To hone this skill:

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                  Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

                  Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

                  This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

                  How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

                  3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

                  Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

                  Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

                  To hone this skill:

                  Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

                  4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

                  No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

                  Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

                  To hone this skill:

                  Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

                  Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

                  These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

                  The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

                  5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

                  Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

                  How to hone this skill:

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                  Practice being resourceful.

                  Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

                  Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

                  No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

                  If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

                  6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

                  6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

                  Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

                  The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

                  Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

                  How to hone this skill:

                  Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

                  Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

                  17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

                  7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

                  Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

                  What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

                  How to hone this skill:

                  Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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                  Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

                  5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

                  8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

                  Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

                  Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

                  How to hone this skill:

                  Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

                  Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

                  What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

                  9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

                  How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

                  Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

                  How to hone this skill:

                  Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

                  Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

                  The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

                  10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

                  Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

                  How to hone this skill:

                  Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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                  Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

                  What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

                  11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

                  Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

                  You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

                  How to hone this skill:

                  All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

                  How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

                  12. Build Networks and Relationships

                  You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

                  Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

                  How to hone this skill:

                  Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

                  To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

                  How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

                  Final Thoughts

                  Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

                  You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

                  Happy career switching!

                  More Resources About Career Advancement

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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