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Top 10 Limiting Beliefs & Myths Around Career Pathing, Debunked

Rachel Serwetz
Rachel Serwetz
December 21, 2021
Top 10 Limiting Beliefs & Myths Around Career Pathing, Debunked

Your mindset may subconsciously or consciously be affecting your actions, decisions, and outcomes.

Let’s be sure that some of the typical limiting beliefs aren’t getting in the way of your career progress.

  1. You may operate out of a place of stress. Instead, apply structure. When you feel anxious, pause, and don’t just immediately resort to the job boards. Instead, take a step back, and try to ask yourself, “what’s my goal?” Is it to clarify your direction, to land a new job, to level up your skills, to improve your personal branding, or something else? Depending on your goal, ask yourself what steps you should ideally take to get there, what level of support you need, and revisit that gameplan when you’re in a more level-headed state of mind. In moments of stress, you can either find a self care activity that calms and centers you, or turn that stress into action, but make sure its the right action. If we simply resort to the job boards, you may be re-entering a cycle of job hopping where you may really need to be clarifying your direction, or approaching your goals in another way entirely. Coaches can help!
  2. You may be aiming for a path that will be“secure.” Instead, realize that the most secure path is the one you’re aligned with. If you choose a path solely for its financial security, you’ll be ignoring whether you’ll be great at it and whether you’ll enjoy it. And if you’re not great at it or you don’t enjoy it or both, you risk being let go or hating it so much you’ll want to quit, and sacrificing how you know that will affect your mindset, your relationships, your wellbeing, and your overall personal life. Consider various factors when deciding on a career path: working style that is suitable for you (role), nature of the work that is important to you (industry), and an environment you’ll thrive in. Know that you can take weeks if you need to in order to learn, reflect, and clarify your ideal pathway before you apply anywhere.
  3. You may be telling yourself “I can’t” achieve something. Instead, learn more before deciding whether you can or can’t. We often have assumptions and stereotypes about jobs, as well as about our own capabilities. Be sure that any decision you make, even and especially if you’re taking yourself out of the running of pursuing a certain path, that that decision is informed and based on facts, rather than based on fears.
  4. You may be limiting yourself based on our past experience. Instead, come up with an authentic direction and your compelling story will override your past experience. Interviewers want to hear that you understand what the job entails, an authentic realization of why your strengths are a natural fit for what the role requires, that you have somehow proven similar impact in the past, and that you care about the work. These are questions you need to answer for yourself before you can answer for someone else, but never limit yourself based on your major or prior roles when determining your potential and future direction.
  5. You may be trying to decide on a long term career path. Instead, try to figure out what role you’d be so excited to do now. You do want to understand where your next step can lead, but there’s so many things that can and will change in the future — the industry, as well as yourself. So instead of picking a goal that’s so far out, know that inherently you’ll always be striving for growth, but if you can focus on what role, industry, and environment you’d thrive in at this next juncture, it may very well open you up to new, better, exciting opportunities that you couldn’t have predicted otherwise.
  6. You may be saying “I’m open to anything.” Instead, be picky about which role and industry you’re striving for. If you’re “open to anything” it means that you don’t know enough about what you want, and if you are not sure which role is the best fit for you, why would the interview be compelled by your story? Take time to learn, explore, reflect, and clarify your best fit role and industry. Realize that you can find 25 opportunities for role type A, rather than 5 opportunities per roles A, B, C, and D. Figure out your best fit direction and then double down.
  7. You may be trying to “interview well.” Instead, try to figure out who you want to converse with, and about what. The candidate who gets hired is the one who truly knows why they’re there. If you’re showing up to interviews checking the box, sharing generic answers that you think they want to hear, and not getting hired — here’s your hint. Interviews (and networking/informational meetings) are a mirror into the job. Figure out who you want to talk to, about what (ie what problems you want to solve, and how) as a clue to figure out where you want to apply, what role you want to play, and why.
  8. You may be focusing solely on applying to jobs online. Instead, focus on exploring and learning. Learning is a key part of the job search that we often forget. If you can dive deeper through research, events, informational meetings, and any format of digesting up to date information, you will have a stronger sense of what roles and industries are the best fit for you, thereby further narrowing, targeting, and tailoring your search. This enables you to be more efficient and effective in identifying the opportunities that are a fit for you.
  9. You may be looking at what everyone else is doing. Instead, keep your eye on your own paper. You can leverage others around you if they are influential in a positive way, but to the extent others are giving you added stress or pressure — leave them behind! Remember you are the only one living and breathing your job everyday, whether you’re thriving or feeling like there is more for you out there — you want to put in place whatever steps and support you need to serve yourself, and no one else matters. If you’re supporting a family, of course that is important, but know that they will want the best for you, and to be living to your fullest potential. Remember to revisit rule #3 — Don’t rule yourself out of a potential pivot due to fear of whether it’s possible, before you know whether it is.
  10. You may be feeling a sense of fear. Instead, replace fear with learning. Turn your hesitations into questions, and questions into answers. What are you unsure about? Is it figuring out who you are, what you want, what your options are for roles/industries, or something else? No matter what questions you’re facing, there is a way to get to an answer — whether its finding confidence in your own decisions, or digesting information about different career pathways. Coaches can help with this!
Top 10 Limiting Beliefs & Myths Around Career Pathing, Debunked

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Rachel Serwetz’ early professional experience was at Goldman Sachs in Operations and at Bridgewater Associates in HR. From there, she was trained as a coach at NYU and became a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. After this, she worked in HR Research at Aon Hewitt and attained her Technology MBA at NYU Stern. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of professionals with career exploration and for the past 4.5+ years she has been building her company, WOKEN, which is an online career exploration platform to coach professionals through the process of clarifying their ideal job and career path. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Binghamton University and has served as a Career Coach through the Flatiron School, Columbia University, WeWork, and Project Activate.

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