Unlike Mr. Goldwyn, so many people simply don’t know how to prioritize themselves or honor what their own needs are. In order to avoid being viewed as self-centered or narrow minded, they prioritize others first and concern themselves with everyone but themselves.
When you consistently focus on the priorities of others, finding the ideal career that matches who you are and your own natural gifts and talents becomes even harder to achieve. Often, I work with clients who have spent most of their life focusing on satisfying the needs and desires of others over what they really want rather than “looking out for #1.”
Each and every time you put your own goals on the back burner for the priorities of others, it becomes easier to put off making the decisions that will truly make you happy. When I meet with clients during an individual career counseling session, I point out the Top 10 Obstacles to Honoring Yourself:
- Not being clear. Not being clear about what you actually want, your intentions, desires, decisions, etc., because you fear if you are too clear, you might be wrong, get rejected, or be judged. So for the sake of getting along, you find it easier not to be clear and not to honor your needs.
- Not being committed. Prioritizing yourself over others involves being committed to yourself even if you meet resistance from friends, family, and other loved ones. In short, honor yourself first no matter what.
- Not confident of what you really want. Often, people who don’t honor themselves lack confidence in what they want and who they are. They question decisions and continue to look uncertain. It makes it easy for others to see that they lack confidence and so they take over and become the Alpha (the top dog) in the group or interaction.
- Not taking a stand (allowing outside circumstances to dictate your circumstances). Not being strong in what you believe or taking a stand is the perfect recipe for allowing other people’s circumstances to dictate your course in life. When you fear that any unpopular decision could be wrong or put you in a situation where others will judge you or question why you did what you did, it becomes convenient to allow circumstances to dictate, instead of yourself.
- Becoming wishy washy. By definition, wishy-washiness involves being non-committal or stuck between two different viewpoints. In other words, it seems safer to be wishy washy versus being clear, direct, and forward with your stance or priorities.
- Putting yourself second. Quite simply, playing second fiddle will always result in placing others’ needs or priorities above your own.
- Fear of getting rejected or being wrong. Consult obstacle #4 for more information.
- Fear of the unknown. The fear of unknown or unexplored territory that could cause change, challenges, or anything to lead you away from the certainty you feel right now.
- Not able to make a decision. Choosing not to make a decision to accomplish your career priorities makes it even harder to know what you want or desire. Most people who can’t honor themselves also aren’t good at making decisions. They have too much doubt and question themselves too much, which causes indecisiveness.
- Being a perfectionist. Perfectionists fear being wrong or being rejected by someone else for being wrong. This causes them to decide not to make a decision due to the fear of making a wrong decision or one with negative consequences. I have even noticed that many of my clients choose to have others make decisions for them to absolve themselves of the responsibility for making a decision that could be the wrong one.
During my individual career counseling session, I teach my client the best way to clear each of these hurdles which is to put any energy you’re spending on worrying about any particular career roadblock into overcoming it in a positive way. Remember, these obstacles exist because of the energy you’re putting into them. Redirect that misplaced energy back to a positive place (i.e., your career goals and priorities) and you’ll conqueror that hurdle.
Or as George Lucas, another world famous movie mogul, once said, “You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles, and break through the brick walls that are always going to be put in front of you. If you don’t have that kind of feeling for what it is you’re doing, you’ll stop at the first giant hurdle.”