Do you have control over your life career?
Indicate yes or no:
- I didn't get the position because I didn't prepare for the interview.
- When I trust my judgment I make wrong decisions.
- I can solve most of my problems.
- I'm often a victim of circumstance.
- I can get any job I want if it's congruent with my personal qualities and I persist in pursuing it.
- I'm too old to go back to school.
- I can learn new skills if I try.
- I try to avoid challenging projects.
- If I studied hard at school, I got good grades.
- I don't perform well under stress.
Scoring: One for each yes to odd numbered statements, and each no to even numbered ones. The higher your score the more you believe you have control over your destiny. You assume responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
Take charge of your life career
Pay attention to the words you use to express your thoughts. They influence how you feel about yourself as well as goals and outcomes you attain.
Review the speech patterns below that express independence and self control, or dependence and helplessness. Choose those that demonstrate choice and responsibility.
- Differentiate between knowing and imagining.
You haven't given your supervisor a report that was due three days ago. You say to yourself, "He stressed how important it was to submit it on time. He'll be furious." How does your internal dialogue continue?
a. "I wonder how I can slip it on his desk without seeing him?"
b. "I don't really know he'll be furious. ... I'm imagining this. What really happens may be different."
c. "I'll take my lumps. I’m late."
If you chose b you distinguished between knowing with imagining. We can make educated guesses about peoples' future behaviors based on past experience. But we can also scare or anger ourselves by imagining a negative scenario and convincing ourselves it will occur. Don't live in a world of untested assumptions. Look for and expect positive outcomes.
- Differentiate between can't (inability) and won't (emotional choice).
As you're finishing work, a colleague invites you to discuss a new job opportunity. You say, "I'd like to but I have to participate at the meeting. Thanks anyway." When he leaves, you talk to yourself.
a. "I don't have to go to that meeting. I'm choosing to go even though I'd rather find out about that job."
b. "Rats, another stupid session when there's no time to get anything accomplished."
b. "I have so many clerical tasks to complete that I never have time to look after my career growth."
In selecting a, you're choosing to affirm that you have a choice, even when you select the same option. We often choose to do things because of the negative consequences of not doing them (getting fired if we don't choose to work). However, this is a choice.
When you say, "I choose to," new options may become apparent. For example, instead of staying in a job you dislike, you can choose to look for another job in the same or different organization, return to school or establish your own business.
- Restructure negative beliefs. Write down all negative thoughts you had within the past day. Rephrase these to make them more positive and to illustrate personal control. For example, if you said, "I'll never find a job because I'm too old." Restructure this, "I have the experience, skills, maturity, confidence creativity and persistence to find the position I want."
Don't be a prisoner of false beliefs. Choose thoughts, words and speech patterns that express images of confidence, independence, responsibility and control. Empower yourself by using words that illustrate personal control.