Making headway in our careers – no matter how senior we are – is exhilarating. But it can also be exhausting and leave some of us feeling downtrodden or discouraged.

But why is this? There’s no denying that serious professional and personal development work goes into career progression, along with gruelling schedules balancing the day job and ambition.

However, that feeling of being stuck is often a matter of attitude. After all, as a senior leader, you’ll have a track record of achievements. So why is your career progression falling flat?

You may need to inject a little positive thinking into your mindset! A positive attitude can be a real divider when it comes to professional success and can improve confidence, relationships and the speed at which you achieve your goals.

In this Intuitive Masterclass, we explore how career progression can be accelerated by embracing positive thinking.

POSITIVE THINKING STEP 1: CHALLENGED FIXED THINKING

A positive mindset doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

We don’t mean to say that there are many of us spreading doom and gloom in the workplace. In fact, truly negative people are rather rare, thankfully! Instead, we mean that for many of us, our default response to new information or ideas is a “no”:

  • “No, it’s not possible”.
  • “No, now’s not the right time”.
  • “No, they’d never buy into that”.

Being positive in the workplace, especially in relation to our careers, requires a conscious effort to control our responses and perceptions. We need to rewire our brains to not fixate on obstacles as if they are binary, but instead, consider alternative possibilities.

For example, you may feel that you’re too busy to pursue a mentorship with a highly insightful senior colleague, despite knowing that the experience would mature an underdeveloped but critical leadership skill. When given the opportunity, you say “no I can’t, my diary is too full”.

Positive thinkers will interpret the scenario differently. They may think, “although I can’t do multiple sessions a month due to a strategic deadline, I can commit to a single session. I’ll explain this to my potential mentor and understand if we can redefine the scope”.

Or perhaps they’ll think, “this mentorship opportunity is the missing piece in achieving my progression goals and must be a priority. I’ll pause my less urgent workgroup commitments and arrange for a qualified colleague to take my place temporarily”.

Can you spot the differences between these three responses?

It’s easy to see the difference between fixed thinking and more open, positive thinking. Learning how to counter obstacles with positive thinking allows us to find opportunity in everything and as such, power a dynamic upward career trajectory.

Rewiring your brain to harness positive thinking is also helpful for handling bumps in the road as you navigate career progression.

They say that the only thing we can truly control is how we react – and it’s hard to disagree! Make a promise to yourself that you’ll reframe constructive criticism as a personal learning experience. We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.

POSITIVE THINKING STEP 2: RETAIN YOUR VALUE PERCEPTION  

When progressing our careers, it can sometimes feel like we spend more time sizing up others’ successes than celebrating our own.

Comparison, when undertaken through a lens of positivity, curiosity, and learning, can be helpful. Sure, it can help us better understand our place in the world today. But it can also be damaging – distorting our value, discrediting our hard work, and casting doubt on our career trajectories.

However, with a positive mindset in tow, you’ll never be unsure of your worth.

At Intuitive, we love the mantra, “I don’t care who is doing better than me. I am doing better than I was last year. It’s me vs me”. It reminds us to pay attention to how we think about ourselves, and how we measure value – even when faced with LinkedIn feeds, social media posts, and an evolving roster of top positions.

Maintaining a positive attitude by constantly evaluating your (little and big!) wins will build your resiliency to the stressors of a career progression journey, while providing you with a bursting book of success reference points.

In short, believe in yourself and you’ll believe that you deserve to achieve your career goals. In a Transport sector that’s changing so rapidly, it’s easy for leadership candidates to assume they’re missing a skill or characteristic. Confidence, though, will empower you to stand up for your value and make leaps in your best interest – be it developing an authentic personal brand, reverse mentoring or applying to a role without comparable role models.

POSITIVE THINKING STEP 3: EXPANDS YOUR ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

We often encourage clients and candidates to widen their horizons. In our experience, doing so connects under-the-radar, exceptional talent to leadership roles that had not been considered an option.

And this principle of challenging what you know – perhaps what you’re comfortable with – is central to positive thinking. In a nutshell, change is good.

Much like negative thinking can drag us down, positive thinking can propel us into a place of momentum whereby the possibilities are plentiful. In the context of progressing your leadership career, positive thinking can have a real impact on your potential for success.

By expanding our horizons, we simultaneously expand our expectations and thus our room for improvement. Take this recent experience with a candidate. Let’s call them Candidate Positive! Candidate Positive had spotted a leadership career opportunity that presented an operational challenge they’d absolutely relish – and they were more than qualified for. However, when mentioning the role to a colleague, they’d been met with hesitation. Why was this?

Candidate Positive had established their career in a different – but well-aligned – sector. Their colleague worried that without a practised blueprint, Candidate Positive would struggle to succeed.

But our candidate wasn’t fazed. They simply saw the role as an opportunity to stretch their wings further – challenging expectations and exploring progression in a wider arena.

Despite their work ethic, experience and skill, without a positive attitude, Candidate Positive would have overlooked a unique opportunity for professional growth. If you’ve ever found negativity creeping in when scoping your next career move, let us say one thing. Your greatest professional days are still ahead.

Ready to make search consultancy an experience to smile about? View our brochure here to hear from candidates and clients who team up with Intuitive time and time again.

WE would love to get to know you!

Please do give us a call, drop us a message or follow us on Twitter & Linkedin!

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