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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 10, 2020

                  Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

                  Feeling Stuck in Your Career? How to Break Free and Get Ahead

                  Have you ever caught yourself in a daydream where you’ve gone for that upcoming promotion, and you’re now the boss at work? Or how about the one where you’ve summoned up all your courage to quit a job where you’re feeling stuck in your career and live your dream instead? Or when you’ve changed career paths to do what really makes you happy?

                  Then, you snapped back to reality and realized that you’re not the boss, not living your dream, and not even happy in the career path that you’re on.

                  Over the years I’ve worked with hundreds of individuals who’ve told me they feel stuck in their careers, that something had to change for them to break free and be happy, but they lacked the confidence to take that step. My mission is to make sure that nobody feels stuck in their career because of a momentary lapse in bravery that’s dragged on for too long.

                  Read on to find out how you can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work. .

                  Here are my top ten tips for becoming unstuck in your career.

                  1. Make Time for You

                  If you’re feeling stuck, frustrated, or unhappy with how your career is panning out, the first step is to work out why.

                  Maybe you’ve arrived in your current career by accident and haven’t ever made time to deliberately think or plan what you’d love to do and how you’d get there.

                  Prioritizing time to think is the first step you need to take to stop feeling stuck and start getting ahead. Book some time into your day where you can have an uninterrupted meeting with yourself. This is your thinking time.

                  Work out what makes you happy at work, what doesn’t, and where you might want to go. Decide on the steps you want to take to progress your career in the direction that you want it to take.

                  For example, are there training days, evening courses, or online learning that you can do? Have you considered getting a mentor to help you get ahead?

                  By booking in a meeting with yourself, it signals it’s important (to you and your colleagues) and also stops others spotting a gap in your day and filling it with a meeting.

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                  2. Grow Your Network Before You Need It

                  Who you know is more important than what you know for career progression. Don’t wait until you’re feeling stuck in your career to start expanding your networks. Do it now.

                  Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take, says you’re 58% more likely to get a new job through your weak ties than through your strong ones. Your strong ties are those in your immediate circle whom you interact with often. Your weak ties are your friends of friends. They move in different circles to you, they know different people, make different connections, and are more likely to introduce you to new and different opportunities[1].

                  When I was thinking about setting up my current company, Lucidity, I turned up to every networking event. I drank a lot of coffees with a lot of different people to understand what they did, to ask for advice, to unpick what their problems were, and to look for opportunities for collaboration and connections.

                  It paid off because, when I launched my business, I let my network know how I could help them, and soon I had my first clients.

                  Pay attention to building and nurturing your networks and focus on how you can add value to other. That’s where your next career opportunity is most likely to come from.

                  3. Surround Yourself With People Who Inspire You

                  According to Tim Ferriss, “You are the average of the five people you most associate with,” and his associations with different people ebbs and flows depending on what he’s working on and trying to achieve[2].

                  For example, if you are trying to be fitter, it’s easier if you hang around with people who love doing exercise–they help you to up your game.

                  If you want that promotion, a career change, or to set up your own business, seek out people who are excelling at it already. They’ll have valuable things to teach you about breaking free and getting ahead.

                  4. Work on Your Personal Brand

                  Jeff Bezos defines a personal brand as “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” People will talk about you when you are not in the room anyway, so you might as well be deliberate about what you’d like people to say!

                  Your personal brand isn’t about pretending to be something you’re not. That can actually keep you feeling stuck in your career. It’s really about being your best “real you.” It’s about owning your strengths and being purposeful about how you want to be perceived by others.

                  What do you want to be known for? By being more deliberate about how you want to come across and what you’re looking for in your career, you’ll increase your chance of attracting the right opportunities.

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                  Once you’ve given your personal brand some thought, make sure that you show up online. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? And if you don’t have one, get one. Make sure it communicates what you want to be known for and that it’s consistent with your other social media profiles.

                  Try these 5 Steps to Master Networking Skills and Perfect Your Personal Branding.

                  5. Be Accountable

                  Achieve your career goals faster, and grow and learn by making yourself accountable. Tell other people your goals and a timeline. and have them to hold you accountable.

                  For example, you might want to get a promotion by the end of the year, have decided the sector you want to move to by the end of the month, or have got your new business idea before the next pay day. Whatever your ambitions are, you can tell a friend or a colleague, or share this with a mentor or a mastermind group.

                  When we tell other people our goals and intentions, they hold us accountable, and we are more likely to make progress faster.

                  6. Make Sure Your Values Are Aligned With Your Company’s

                  All the professional development, goal setting, and networks in the world won’t make you happy if you’re working for a company that ultimately has opposing values to yours.

                  Figure out what’s important to you in a job. For example, does your company’s product help people live a better life? Do you feel strongly about your company’s ethics and social responsibility? Does the company culture allows employees to be themselves and shine? Or maybe flexible working and more holidays for employees with families is where your heart is?

                  Some companies put their employees well-being at the core of their business; others put profits first. If you feel that your values don’t match the core values of your employer, it could be a reason why you’re feeling stuck in your career and unhappy.

                  It’s important to work through this and identify whether it’s the job that is not right for you, or if it’s a great job but the organization or sector is wrong for you.

                  7. Get out of Your Comfort Zone

                  Your comfort zone is your safe place. For any change to happen, you have to step out of your comfort zone.

                  It’s actually much easier not to change anything and to keep grumbling on about how you’re stuck and unhappy in your career than to step outside of your comfort zone to address the fearful unknowns associated with change. It’s part of human nature that we’d put up with the devil we know rather than risk the devil we don’t.

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                  This is true even if the devil we know is a boring, unfulfilling job because we’re wired to think that making a change to find a better option might actually leave us worse off.

                  If you feel stuck, it might be that your confidence has got the better of you.

                  To get ahead at work, start taking small steps outside of your comfort zone. Consider what you’re scared of that is stopping you from making a change. Then, tackle that in small steps.

                  For example, if you know that to move into the job you want, you’ll have to do more public speaking, but public speaking terrifies you so much it’s stopping you from going for the job, then start small to build your confidence. You can speak up more in team meetings, then slowly build from there.

                  You might also choose to set up or be part of a specific group. One of my clients, who found that confidence was holding her team back in achieving work goals, set up a “get out of your comfort zone club,” where they challenge and support each other to build their confidence by regularly leaving their comfort zones.

                  8. Learn to Embrace Failure

                  Failure is part of life. A New York University study found that children learning to walk averaged 2,368 steps and fell 17 times an hour[3]. Failure is simply the natural path to success.

                  The truth is that we don’t get everything right the first time. We fail, we learn, we pick ourselves up, and we try again.

                  In my experience, it’s common that whilst the theory of learning from failure is supported, the reality of being open about failures to enable personal learning is much harder to achieve.

                  We don’t like to admit that we’ve failed. We have a fight or flight response to failure. It’s a normal gut reaction to ask ourselves: “Will I get away with it if I don’t tell anyone?” We are fearful of criticism, of losing face in front of others, or even being fired for failure.

                  However, if you’re going to stop feeling stuck in your career, you must be open to learning from failure.

                  Reframe failure by viewing everything as an experiment because you can’t have a failed experiment—you just learn whether something works or not. Think of Edison inventing the lightbulb, when he said:

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                  “I’ve not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

                  9. Build Your Resilience

                  Resilience is the ability to tackle difficulties and setbacks, to bounce back, regroup, and to keep going.

                  Getting unstuck in your career, taking a different path, and achieving the results you want will take resilience. Having resilience is also the capacity to choose how you respond to the unexpected things that life throws your way and adapt and thrive in times of complex change.

                  Given that the world we live in is in constant flux, and the only thing that is certain is uncertainty, the ability to adapt and bounce back is an important life skill, as well as a career skill.

                  In her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth’s research shows that when measuring success, the ability to persevere beats talent every time.

                  Learn more about how to build resilience in this guide: What Is Resilience and How to Always Be Resilient (Step-By-Step Guide)

                  10. Ask for Help

                  It can be hard to ask for help, as it can make us feel vulnerable.

                  No one person can be expected to have all the answers. That’s why we need a group of people that we can go to for help, people who can pick us up when we have setbacks and also help us to celebrate success.

                  My advice is to be deliberate about creating your group. You can do that with a tool called a “Me Map”:

                  1. Write down all the things that you might need support with, like help with career progression, interview practice, making new connections, talking through business plans, learning from failure, etc.
                  2. Next to each thing, write the names of the people you go to when you need that particular thing.
                  3. Make sure you get in touch and regularly connect with them.

                  Final Thoughts

                  You can stop feeling stuck in your career, break free, and get ahead at work by applying the tips in this article. Start small by incorporating three new things in your first week, and then adding more as your comfort zone and capacity expands.

                  Remember, no matter how stuck you feel, it’s never too late to make a change and land the career that you truly want.

                  More Tips to Stop Feeling Stuck in Your Career

                  Featured photo credit: NEW DATA SERVICES via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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